iRemit eyes offices in Europe, North America and AsiaBusiness World, Tuesday, April 26, 2011
By Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio
FILIPINO-OWNED nonbank remittance firm I-Remit, Inc. (iRemit) plans to set up more branches in Europe after its subsidiary was green-lighted by regulators to conduct business across the European Economic Area (EEA).
“iRemit plans to put up branches in Europe, particularly in Italy, Austria and Ireland, as we have gained the approval of the Financial Services Authority after having met the regulatory body’s capital and regulatory requirements,” said Fitzgerald S. Duba, iRemit vice president, head of corporate affairs and information division and compliance officer, in a phone interview yesterday.
“We also plan to open branches within Asia and North America to serve more migrant Filipinos,” he added.
iRemit, however, is still studying how many branches it will open in the three continents.
iRemit shares closed at P3.08 apiece yesterday, two centavos lower from the previous day.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange yesterday, iRemit said the Financial Services Authority -- the UK’s financial services regulator -- has granted its subsidiary, IRemit Global Remittance Ltd., status as authorized payment institution effective April 15.
This means, Mr. Duba said, that iRemit can put up branches within the 29-member countries of the EEA.
This is because as an authorized payment institution, iRemit Global can exercise “passporting rights,” which allow firms to conduct business across the EEA. iRemit Global can either establish branches or provide cross-border services, iRemit said.
The European Union has passed the Payment Services Directive, a law that harmonizes rules on payment services, including remittance services, across the EEA. In the UK, the Payment Services Directive is implemented through the Payment Services Regulations 2009.
In the disclosure, iRemit said it “intends to utilize the passporting rights of IRemit Global Remittance Ltd. to reorganize its current remittance outlets in Europe” which include subsidiaries in Austria and branches in Italy and tie-up with other financial institutions in Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Greece.
iRemit has a total of 22 branches worldwide: two in Australia; one in Austria; seven in Canada; four in Hong Kong; two in Italy; one in New Zealand; one in Singapore; two in Taiwan and two in United Kingdom.
Established in 2001, iRemit is engaged in servicing the remittance needs of overseas Filipino workers. Its fund transfer and remittance services range from electronic, telegraphic, wire and other modes. It also has courier or freight forwarding services.
iRemit posted a 9.97% increase in remittance volume to $1.213 billion in 2010 from $1.103 billion in the previous year. -- Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio