Estonian-founded and London-headquartered fintech company TransferWise has applied for a financial licence and opened a new office in Brussels. In case of a no-deal Brexit, a payment institution licence — something similar to an e-money licence — received in Belgium would ensure that TransferWise would be able to continue operating in the European Union thanks to what's known as “passporting” of financial services.
Brussels will become the tenth location TransferWise has opened an office in. The company plans to hire a small team locally to run the office.
“Brussels is at the source of all EU affairs, so an office in the city is a logical step for us,” said Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise says. “The National Bank of Belgium has made a very good impression on us with their knowledge of the payment and e-money sector and their openness to innovation, and at the same time, it is a very strong and reliable supervisor. We would like to build up an equally productive relationship with the NBB, just as we have today with the British FCA.”
Currently, TransferWise employs 1,400 people across its offices, including 200 employees in the London headquarters. It claims to have 4 million customers across the world who transfer €3 billion per month between 49 currencies.
In the photo (left to right): TransferWise co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann
This story was updated on February 13, 2019, to reflect that TransferWise has applied for a payment institutions licence, not a banking licence.