DeSantis Announces Initiatives to Encourage Financial Technology Companies

Ron DeSantis in Jacksonville

October 4, 2019

(Courtesy: Sunshine State News)

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on September 17  a number of initiatives that encourage financial technology (FinTech) companies to start, relocate and expand in Florida.

The governor was joined in Jacksonville by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis, Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Executive Director Ken Lawson, Mayor Lenny Curry and business and community leaders from throughout Duval County.

“From day one, we’ve made it a priority to create a regulatory environment that provides opportunities for businesses in the financial technology and banking sectors to thrive without being impeded by high taxes and burdensome regulation,” said DeSantis. “The initiatives announced today demonstrate we are committed to making Florida the top destination for FinTech companies to grow and succeed.”

Said Patronis, “I’m proud to partner with Governor DeSantis as we are focused on fostering an environment to support growth and innovation here in Florida through FinTech. We must ensure common-sense regulations are put in place to guarantee a stable market that protects consumers. To the global financial system, the Sunshine State is open for business.”

DeSantis announced the following initiatives:

Florida Job Growth Grant Fund

DeSantis is directing DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) to expedite the review of Florida Job Growth Grant Fund proposals that provide workforce training programs in the financial services industry, with a focus on FinTech skills training. Proposals from state colleges or state technical centers should focus on how their program will identify industry skill set needs and match them with private sector partners that will provide employment opportunities for those who complete the program.

“Governor DeSantis is focused on utilizing innovative solutions to prepare Florida’s workforce for the demands of the future,” said DEO’s Lawson. “Investing in the emerging FinTech industry today is smart and strategic — we will work with state colleges, technical schools and financial technology companies to strengthen and diversify Florida’s workforce.”

“Enterprise Florida looks forward to working with Governor DeSantis to continue to grow our state’s talent pipeline and develop a skilled workforce,” said EFI President and CEO Jamal Sowell. “This investment will support Florida’s financial services industry, making Florida the destination for FinTech and a place where these companies can succeed.”

To learn more about the grant fund or to download an application, click HERE.

Regulatory Sandbox for FinTech Companies

DeSantis and Patronis announced they will pursue legislation to create a regulatory sandbox for FinTech companies in Florida. A “regulatory sandbox” creates an environment where companies that disrupt the status quo are provided regulatory flexibility to operate and provide new types of products and services. The legislation will allow the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) to provide statutory authority to waive certain licensure requirements for FinTech companies to offer innovative services in Florida within certain parameters, providing more opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in Florida, while ensuring OFR has sufficient authority to protect consumers.

American Consumer Financial Innovation Network

The governor and chief financial officer also announced that OFR is a signatory of the American Consumer Financial Innovation Network (ACFIN). Led by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the purpose of this coalition is to facilitate consumer-driven innovation in markets for financial products and services through increased coordination among federal and state officials. Florida joins Arizona, Utah, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana in sharing information and coordinating in the development of innovative policies governing financial technology products.

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