In recent years, Canada has become one of the most alluring jurisdictions for fintech companies working with cryptocurrencies and providing innovative financial services. This is due to more lenient regulation in the industry compared to other developed countries.
One of Canada's key advantages is the simplicity of obtaining an MSB (Money Services Business) license. MSB is a type of license in Canada that allows companies to offer financial services, including money transfers, currency exchange, issuance and sale of payment instruments, cryptocurrency exchange, and other operations. This license in Canada is regulated by FINTRAC. It is primarily responsible for monitoring and supervising reporting entities, analyzing reports from financial organizations, issuing permits and licenses, and combating money laundering in Canada.
There are two types of MSB licenses in Canada:
- MSB with a registered branch in Canada.
- FMSB (Foreign MSB) without a registered branch for non-resident companies.
An MSB/FMSB license in Canada allows for the following activities:
- Foreign exchange dealing
- Remitting or transmitting funds
- Issuing or redeeming money orders or similar negotiable instruments
- Dealing with virtual currency
The steps to obtain the license are as follows:
1) Company registration:
If you wish to register a local company, we recommend accomplishing it in British Columbia, as this jurisdiction does not require the presence of a local director.
Registration typically takes 2-3 weeks.
2) Document preparation and AML/CFT policy:
You must provide a business model with a detailed business description. The details should include typical customers and services, how the company offers services, the list of countries and currencies the company works with, and its website.
This process takes 3-4 weeks, depending on the required work.
3) Business registration with FINTRAC:
You have legal obligations under the Canadian PCMLTFA as an MSB in Canada. These obligations include registering your business with FINTRAC, reporting certain financial transactions to FINTRAC, record-keeping, customer identification (KYC), and compliance procedures. Registration with FINTRAC is mandatory.
An MSB license provides the opportunity to operate globally, offering services to customers worldwide, except in countries with mandatory local licensing requirements. This makes a Canadian MSB an ideal option for startups looking to quickly and cost-effectively enter the financial services market.