Gavin Williamson Joins Lanistar Advisory Board

Published 7 months ago

Former UK Education Minister Gavin Williamson has been approved to join the advisory board of the financial technology company Lanistar. The approval was granted by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), which has stipulated conditions to prevent the misuse of his former government connections.

Conditions of Appointment

Acoba has expressly warned Williamson against leveraging his past government connections to benefit Lanistar. Williamson has acknowledged the conditions, stating his role would involve providing guidance, connections with financial institutions, and leadership without engaging with the government. The committee highlighted the importance of adhering to the rules, which include a two-year lobbying ban for former ministers.

Lanistar’s Advisory Board and Operations

While the advisory board is not currently operational, it is expected to convene monthly with Lanistar’s executive committee and will include members from within and outside the industry. Lanistar, a company that has faced scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has yet to launch in the UK, but it is active in Brazil. The firm’s initial product pitch included an innovative debit card solution, and it plans to introduce a new payment card product aimed at enhancing financial management for customers.

Regulatory Challenges and the Future

In 2020, the FCA warned potential investors that Lanistar was offering services without the necessary authorisation. The company had previously indicated its intent to obtain a full banking license and later operated as an Electronic Money Directive (EMD) agent under Modulr. However, Lanistar has severed its EMD agent relationship with Modulr, citing shortcomings in the services provided.

Despite not being launched in the UK and ending its association with Modulr, Lanistar maintains its intention to expand into the UK market as well as the European Union, Argentina, and Colombia. Meanwhile, Modulr has been subject to customer onboarding restrictions by the FCA, indicating the heightened regulatory focus on fintech operations.

Lanistar’s commitment to launching in new markets and its high-profile advisory board appointment reflect the dynamic nature of the fintech industry, even as it navigates complex regulatory landscapes.