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Innovation Hub

Responding to an increasingly dynamic financial services market, we’ve launched a new service that helps businesses with innovative and exciting propositions set up and move into regulated markets.

Thistle’s Innovation Hub has a clearly defined mission. That is to help you understand and navigate today’s complex legal and regulatory landscape – and support you through the early stages of establishing your business.

Innovation Hub can help you with:

  • Business model and processes
  • Business and legal documentation
  • Funding and outsourcing

Business model and processes

The Innovation Hub process begins with an in-depth face-to-face consultation, so we can be sure of fully understanding your business goals and targets. We’ll then work with you to move your business forward. We’ll apply our expert regulatory knowledge and experience to help you establish a business that’s fully compliant – without compromising your commercial goals. We can help you set up effective governance controls – and ensure your internal systems are both compliant and proportionate to scope of your intended business.

Business and legal documentation

Our Innovation Hub team can work with you to build a sustainable and robust business plan that provides a firm foundation for your future success. To support this, we’ll create a suite of policies and procedures to ensure seamless compliance with all relevant regulations. This might include policies on anti money laundering, training and competence, IT security, complaints handling, and data protection. We can call on our specialist legal partners to draw up terms and conditions documents, privacy policies and any anything else you need to ensure you start out with a full suite of legally robust documentation. They can also offer ad hoc assistance and legal opinions as required.

Funding and outsourcing

Setting up a business can involve considerable initial costs. We understand how important it can be having access to capital early on. That’s why Innovation Hub has partnered with selected venture capitalists and private equity firms to help you access funding. Subject to meeting funders’ requirements, we can broker the relationships you need to get your business fully operational. Funding partners we’ve worked with include Craven Street Capital and Medici Advisors.

We know too that developing a new financial services business – and the technology around it – can be a complex process requiring access to a wide range of specialist experience and resource. Many newer firms opt to use third parties to support their business operations and meet regulatory requirements. So, Innovation Hub has teamed up with selected third-parties who can give you the help you need. One such third party is electronic money institution, MangoPay. Using e-money to transfer payments between two parties can prove an attractive alternative to holding client money, which can be difficult to arrange and monitor.

Next steps

Beyond Innovation Hub, there are many other ways we can help, including:

FCA authorisation

Our consultancy arm can support you through the process of completing a direct authorisation application to the FCA. Whether it’s an application for payment services, e-money or FSMA, our experienced specialist team can help. Based on the models and documentation built up during your time with Innovation Hub, they’ll develop a robust and complaint application for you. This ensures a seamless end-to-end process – from drawing up your business plan through to FCA approvals – with consistent expert compliance support at every stage. Following authorisation, we can continue supporting your business as compliance consultants, ensuring you stay fully up to speed with an ever-changing regulatory landscape.

Becoming an appointed representative

If the appointed representative (AR) model suits your business – either in the short or longer term – our regulated sister company Resolution Compliance Limited (FCA number: 574048) offers significant benefits. Once on-boarded by Resolution Compliance, and then approved by the FCA, you’ll get dedicated compliance support from an experienced compliance and supervision manager. That way you can develop your business steadily while acquiring the knowledge and experience you’ll need if you want to apply for direct authorisation later. Becoming an AR temporarily can also be a way to get your business up and running more quickly, while you apply to the FCA for direct authorisation.

Taking the unregulated path

It could be that, at the end of the Innovation Hub journey, you conclude that your business model need not involve FCA authorisation. But, given that the FCA is taking a growing interest in aspects of the fintech sector beyond what it currently regulates, it makes good sense to develop and establish robust processes as an unregulated entity. Here again, Thistle can help. We can offer valuable support and advice to firms on the edge of the FCA’s radar. An example would be helping cryptocurrency firms, providing guidance on systems, controls and internal structures.

Innovation Hub


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