Dublin fintech player Assure Hedge selected for regulatory testing in UK

20 Jun 2017

Assure Hedge CEO Barry McCarthy. Image: Grace Coakley/NDRC

Dublin firm follows Cork company Blink as the second Irish fintech player to be selected for UK regulatory testing.

Automated foreign exchange (FX) hedging technology player Assure Hedge has been selected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK to be regulated in the 2017 sandbox.

This is a key stepping stone, with the potential for full regulation in the UK.

Last week, the FCA selected 24 firms to join the sandbox.

‘Dublin has many attractions for new fintechs’

Assure Hedge is the second Irish company to be selected, after Cork-based fintech player Blink was chosen last year.

“Assure Hedge can immediately start live trading in the UK, on a limited basis, and with the authorisation of the UK regulator, FCA,” explained Assure Hedge CEO and founder Barry McCarthy.

“It allows us to validate product-market fit with real customers. This will help us pursue full regulatory authorisations and drive sales in the UK and across Europe.”

Window to the fintech world

McCarthy explained that the UK sandbox has a reciprocal arrangement with the financial regulators of Singapore, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong.

“This means Assure Hedge can automatically get six-month testing windows in these countries so it enables us to test our product in new markets with little financial risk. It is a significant step forward for the company.”

Assure Hedge operates a web-based platform that provides FX options to assist SMEs and individuals to protect against losses incurred due to currency fluctuations. All of Assure Hedge’s R&D and management is run from the head office in Dublin.

“We are currently establishing business development offices in London and Belfast to aggressively drive our sales growth in the UK,” said McCarthy.

He added that Dublin is emerging as a vital fintech hub and this could play into the city’s hands as the reality of Brexit dawns.

“Assure Hedge has found Dublin to be a fantastic place to develop a new fintech business, especially with the support offered by the NDRC and Enterprise Ireland.

“The wider tech and start-up community is vibrant, with an estimated 45,000 software developers giving breadth and depth to the industry.

“Ireland, as you know, benefits from a low corporate rate of 12.5pc and there is a plentiful supply of VC capital so Dublin has many attractions for new fintechs,” McCarthy said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years