Briefing

Wealthsimple pushing into banking and cryptocurrency with new business licences

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The Toronto-based fintech recently incorporated three subsidiaries: Wealthsimple Digital Assets, Wealthsimple Payments and Wealthsimple Cash. The Digital Assets and Payments moves were first reported by the newsletter OPM Wars. (The Globe and Mail, OPM Wars)

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Talking point: Wealthsimple CEO Michael Katchen said he wants to offer chequing accounts to customers, and the company’s new subsidiaries also come with licences for money transfers, foreign exchanges and dealing in cryptocurrencies. The new ventures follow similar moves from Wealthsimple’s rivals. Last month, Questrade applied for a banking licence. In November 2019, The Logic broke the news that RBC was exploring building a cryptocurrency trading platform. These licences will potentially create greater overlap between Wealthsimple and Koho, both of which are heavily backed by insurance firm Power Corporation. Koho already offers bank accounts. U.K.-based fintechs Revolut and TransferWise, both of which are trying to expand in Canada, also have licences for electronic money transfers and foreign exchange.