The fintech industry is an evolving one in Mauritius. Those wishing to set up such a business in the country or to operate financial activities must be aware of the forms of legal entity and regulations involved.
Potential forms of charter
There are three types of companies that can be established in Mauritius. They are
- Domestic companies: these may operate in Mauritius subject to any licence that may be required for licenced activities.
- Firms holding a Global Business Licence of Category 1. These are tax-resident companies but can conduct only certain activities in the country.
- Authorised companies- a new category of company whose business activities and Place of Effective Management are outside of Mauritius.
There are key differences in form regarding these institutions. Domestic companies are liable to income tax at the rate of 15%. Those with a Global Business Licence of Category 1 can benefit from the Double Taxation Agreement that Mauritius has signed with various countries. On the other hand, authorised companies do not have access to the Double Tax Avoidance Agreements network of Mauritius.
The Bank of Mauritius generally offers and oversees services related to banking institutions and the Financial Services Commission is responsible for non-banking activities. Currently, there are very few fintech companies in the country and to date, regulators have not been conducting examination of these firms. However, if this industry expands and becomes fully functional with several operators, it is expected that regulators will conduct regular examinations. Along the same lines, no laws or regulations have been issued with regards to capital and liquidity requirements, affiliate transaction limitations or other regulatory requirements for fintech companies but considering developments, this might soon happen.
Non-regulatory legal infrastructure
Fintech companies in Mauritius will have to access real-time gross settlement systems through regulated financial institutions. There are no special insolvency regimes that apply differently to fintech companies as compared to regulated financial institutions.
Foreign companies wishing to operate a business in Mauritius are concerned with the The Electronic Transactions Act. This stipulate that signatures will not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability because it is in electronic form.
An “electronic signature” is an electronic sound, symbol or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic record. It is executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the electronic record. The Electronic Transactions Act ensures the safety of the process. An e-signature will be verified as a secure one if, at the time it was made, it was
- Unique to the person using it,
- Capable of identifying the said person,
- Created using a means that in solely under the control of the person using it and
- Linked to the related electronic record in such a way that it will not be invalidated in case the record has been changed.