This content is from: Local Insights

Late implementation of the Payment Services Directive

The Payment Services Directive (PSD) should be implemented in each EEA member state's local legislation on November 1 2009, at the latest. Sweden will not meet this deadline and the official date for the new Swedish legislation is April 1 2010. Some even, looking at the implementation process, consider this date unrealistic and estimate that the legislation may be in place by May or June 2010 at the earliest.

The PSD introduces a new player in the financial markets, the payment institution. The PSD provides for an EU passport regime, similar to the ones applicable to banks and securities companies, under which payment institutions will be able to provide payment services in a foreign member state under its local licence granted in the home member state. Sweden's late implementation effectively prohibits this.

Swedish institutions will not be able to get a Swedish licence by November 1 2009 in the same way as their foreign peers. Thus they cannot passport any business and hence not provide any payment services outside Sweden, as such services require a passported licence under the PSD. Swedish institutions also cannot apply, for example, a French licence as Swedish institutions may only be granted a Swedish licence. In summary, Swedish institutions are very likely to only be able to provide payment services in Sweden after November 1 2009, which is a big competitive disadvantage.

At the same time, it appears that foreign payment institutions will be able to passport their licences into Sweden and provide payment services in Sweden after November 1 2009. This follows from the Swedish FSA being required to allow foreign payment institutions that passport their local licence into Sweden to provide payment services in Sweden. The FSA is considering how to practically handle this issue, but it is very likely that they must accept such passport notifications.

So Sweden's late implementation of the PSD means that foreign payment institutions will be able to provide cross-border payment services in Sweden as of November 1 2009 under the new EU passport, while Swedish institutions won't be able to provide any services outside Sweden. This is very unfortunate and clearly contradicts one of the main purposes of the PSD, to strengthen the fair competition for payment services on the European financial market.

Lina Williamsson

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