Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Fintech in Spain


Recent initiatives include the adoption of a digital finance package by the European Commission on 24 September 2020, which includes a strategy for digital finance as well as legislative proposals on cryptoassets and digital resilience. During the next few years, the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will be required to provide technical advice on various matters.1

It is possible to get information on fintech from many electronic sources. For example, the Spanish Fintech and Insurtech Association has its own website and the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) has created a section on its website to provide an informal communication space with fintech companies and a Q&A on activities and services within CNMV's remit.1

Generally, Spain offers the following tax incentives for investing in tech or fintech businesses: (1) the Spanish patent box regime and the research, development and innovation tax credit that potentially applies to Spanish-resident companies engaged in tech and fintech activities (generally only where the technology qualifies for it; for example, as a patent or as advance registered software); (2) the corporate income tax (CIT) benefits for start-ups and small enterprises (e.g., a 15 per cent rate applicable to stand-alone start-ups during the first two fiscal years in which the company has a positive taxable base, instead of the statutory 25 per cent rate or qualified depreciation regime for tangible assets and property investments) and Spanish-resident venture-capital entities; and (3) tax credits for 'business angels' in specific start-ups (under specific conditions). Spanish tax leakage applicable to investments in tech and fintech companies must be mitigated by proper structuring for investors.1

A draft Start-Up Law was adopted by the Spanish government in December 2021 to position Spain in a pole position for attracting investment and innovation. The draft includes important tax incentives, including an increase in the period for which the reduced CIT rate applies (the first four years when the company has a positive taxable base, rather than the first two years), as well as interest- and deposit-free tax deferrals. In 2022, the Start-up Law is anticipated to be approved.1

In general, and until further regulations are passed, Spain should be considered a fintech-friendly jurisdiction, as evidenced by the approval of a regulatory sandbox. The number of fintech companies in Spain in 2013 was estimated to be 50; in March 2021, this number had risen to 463.1

Spain has not imposed a specific framework concerning the regulation of fintechs. These firms are exempt from licensing or promotion rules due to their offering of various financial services. Third-party providers, however, are in compliance with regulations under Directive (EU) 2015/2366 on payment services in the internal market (PSD II). Similarly, crowdfunding and crowd-lending platforms are subject to Law 5/2015 of 27 April 2015 on the promotion of business financing. Companies whose main focus is developing IT solutions for assisting financial institutions are not subjected to any financial regulatory regime.1

The provision of information about financial products is not subject to authorisation if it does not involve the provision of any other regulated service (such as investment advice).1

Generally, the main legal and regulatory issues for fintech in Spain are the obstacles they face when providing financial services that trigger licensing requirements. As mentioned earlier, EU law does not provide a streamlined approach for businesses that only offer a limited range of services, such as many fintech companies. Therefore, those who wish to provide regulated services like payments or investments must currently undergo complex and laborious processes either in Spain or their own nation in order to access customers.1

Crowdfunding in Spain

Fintech in other countries

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Spanish Fintech Lawyers

Viacheslav Losev

Viacheslav Losev

Legal support for FinTech and Blockchain projects

Silvia Calls

Silvia Calls

We work for international SMEs, startups and Telco's

Kristina Berkes

Kristina Berkes

Participation as a lawyer at investment venture funds, leading venture M&A deals in IT, supporting iGaming and business assets

  1. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/spain
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