Controversial fintech Lanistar scores FCA approval

Lanistar, the much-hyped fintech that found itself in hot water with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority last year, says it has now secured the regulator’s approval to operate as an Electronic Money Directive (EMD) agent of payments firm Modulr.As an EMD agent, Lanistar can distribute and redeem electronic money on behalf of Modulr, meaning the firm can offer its customers digital accounts to send and receive payments.

Lanistar had originally been talking to the FCA about securing a full banking licence for its product, a debit card that links to up to eight bank cards to help customers better manage their finances via “polymorphic” technology and open banking.

In November, the FCA issued a warning to would-be investors in the startup, stating that the firm was providing services or products without authorisation.

Said an FCA statement: “This firm [Lanistar] is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK. Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorisation.”

The watchdog removed the warning a couple of days later after Lanistar committed to add disclaimers to its marketing materials.

Having initially promised to launch its product this past winter, the company now says it will arrive at some point this year.

It has brought in former BP, KPMG and Open Banking executive Bill Suglani as CFO, as well as GE Capital and Aldermore Bank veteran Jeremy Baber as director of banking and financial services.

Despite its recent setbacks, the company is still promoting its vision to become a “£10bn+ fintech”, touting its social media metrics and plans to expand to the EU and Brazil.

Gurhan Kiziloz, CEO, Lanistar, says: “We are extremely grateful and excited by the official confirmation that we are approved as an EMD agent and one step closer towards achieving greatness.”


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