Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna was in California from 19 to 21 June 2017 on a mission devoted to fintech. He was accompanied, among others by Nicolas Mackel, CEO of Luxembourg for Finance (LFF), and Nasir Zubairi, CEO of Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT).

The purpose of the mission was to take stock of the latest progress and evolution in the field of fintech, and to promote the Grand Duchy as a European benchmark hub in this particular field. The Minister also took advantage of the journey to meet the decision-makers of several fund managers, in order to discuss the consequences of Brexit and investment opportunities in the Grand Duchy.

During these three days, Pierre Gramegna met a number of payment service providers, to discuss the potential for developing the corresponding technologies and the companies’ plans with regard to the European market. In this context, he namely met with senior managers of PingPong. Further to the Minister’s meeting in October 2016 with the group’s management in China, PingPong set up its European hub in the Grand Duchy at the beginning of the year. This latest meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of the company’s development in Europe and its future plans. Pierre Gramegna also had talks with the management of Ripple, a global leader in the field of virtual money and international electronic payments. The company is already present in the Grand Duchy, and these talks made it possible to discuss implementation of its European strategy as well as its plans in terms of research and development.

Pierre Gramegna also visited several risk capital fund managers, including 500Startups, to talk about market trends, their investment strategy, and the role the Grand Duchy could play in this context. The Minister visited a number of incubators in Silicon Valley, including BNP Paribas’ ‘L’Atelier’ and the Plug and Play Tech Center. These visits allowed the Minister to measure the progress that has been made in the field of fintech since his previous mission to California, in April 2016.

Lastly, on 20th of June, the Minister attended a reception organised by the Grand Duchy’s Consulate in San Francisco to mark Luxembourg’s official national holiday.

Pierre Gramegna said, “The discussions I have been able to have with key stakeholders in Silicon Valley have confirmed my belief that the digital revolution will have a profound effect on the world of finance. In order to stay competitive in the medium and long term, professionals in the sector must adapt to it. I am pleased to see that the Grand Duchy is recognised by start-ups in Silicon Valley as a leading financial centre and a European hub for fintech. This mission has provided an opportunity to create and deepen relations with a whole range of innovative companies, some of which already have a presence in the Grand Duchy, while others are considering the possibility. There is substantial interest in LHoFT, and this mission has made it possible to establish contacts with a number of potential partners.”

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