By Daniel Lanyon on Thursday 19 November 2020
The UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority says that digital banking challenger Lanistar is unregulated but marketing financial services and has therefore decided to warn consumers.
A new digital bank launch is not that rare in the fast-moving world of fintech. But one that is directly rebuked by the regulator before it gets started is unprecedented.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulator, has done just that. Yesterday it posted a message warning consumers that one such example Lanistar, which raised £15m from friends and family earlier this year, was operating outside of authorised financial activities.
“Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised by us. However, some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run investment scams. This firm 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 FCA said in a warning published on its site yesterday afternoon.
Lanistar ‘launched’ in March 2020 with its CEO and founder Gurhan Kiziloz, saying at the time: "For too long the established banking providers have treated their customers like numbers a spreadsheet, letting them down when they need it most and ignoring their concerns.”
"We're investing heavily in a product that will transform the market, giving consumers a personalised, exciting experience which will fit easily into their daily lives.”
Kiziloz added that it was his ambition to create a “£1bn fintech company”.
It has so far made little in the way of the launch of any products, although that was tipped for "Winter 2020" but has secured a vote of confidence from payment giant Mastercard who announced a partnership with the firm in June. This allowed it to prepare to launch a debit card product to customers in the UK, under Transact Payments Ltd.
Lanistar made headlines earlier this week with an influencer-led marketing campaign that saw endorsements from celebrities and sportsmen alike.