Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from emerchantpay is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Group CFOStephen Dickson
A global provider based in
the heart of London
Since its formation in 2002, emerchantpay has grown to
become a global payments services provider. Operating in
three business lines, it works with PSP or ISO contracting
with a number of card acquirers and alternative payment
solutions globally, a card-acquiring business and an ewallet and
prepaid card issuer. Below, Group Chief Financial Officer Stephen
Dickson explains how the company operates in more detail.
Our vision is to become the payments partner of choice for merchants and partners
alike. We hope to achieve this by providing a wide range of international payments
solutions with an extensive network of settlement routes to a diverse corpus of
industries while ensuring the provision of flexibility and a high level of service.
We have just made some bold statements and claims so how are these justified and
how have we got to where we are?
The main founder of our group has maintained a heavy involvement as CEO
and chairman and brings a consistency in drive and direction. We are entirely
self-funded and have never had external investment in the group, nor have we
borrowed money. This has allowed us to consistently fund our own development,
which in turn has ensured that we are able to be specific in our aims and consistent
in our delivery. To achieve this, we have had to be agile and able to change and
develop our product as we see markets changing. All the share capital is controlled
by the management of the group.
»Group CFO:Stephen Dickson
»Established in 2002
»Based in London
»Services: Online payment
service provider covering
card payments, eWallet,
prepaid cards and alternative
»Staff: 300
Highlighting best practice
Key stages, two
Our development can be characterised
into two key stages. The first was
becoming a UK FCA regulated
payments institution in April 2011,
the second upgrading this to become
an electronic money institution. Both
permissions were passported across
the EEA in June 2017. The former
allowed us to receive and settle client
funds and also to become principal
members of Visa and Mastercard,
thus ensuring we were able to build
our card acquiring business. The latter
enabled us to develop and launch
our ewallet and prepaid card issuing,
substantially enhancing our payment
services capability.
We have been careful in how we have
built our team. We determined that
a model which utilised a centralised
operation was the best way to deliver
quality and efficiency, and as such we
have our operational hub with small
regional teams providing regulatory
and in time zone localised support.
We offer our staff a good work
environment and have been able to
retain staff. Attrition is not an issue
for us, however; when it is clear that a
relationship is not successful for either
party, we have not shied away from
terminating it. Our senior management
team has mainly been with the group
for five or more years.
It’s a risky business
From the beginning of our operation,
in order to develop strong relationships
with card acquirers, we have always
accepted the credit loss risk for our
merchants, upon the proviso that the
acquiring partner follows our reserving,
settlement and blocking requirements.
This has meant that no card acquirer
has lost money through our business.
In order for this model to succeed, we
have also focused on understanding
and managing risk. This risk has
related to our merchants’ market
sectors, their geography of operation
and how they source business and
process transactions, among other
contributing factors. We have all seen
what has been inherently considered a
low-risk business sector, travel, suffer
over recent years with a number of
operators going out of business. These
have also significantly impacted card
acquirers through chargebacks due
to the long delivery time between
booking and delivery.
Our staff are essential to
our success
Our vision is
to become the
partner of
choice for
and partners
Throughout our tenure we have
maintained a flexible organisation and
a pragmatic approach. We identify a
market or sector we want to target,
recruit the knowledge we need to
develop the necessary product, test and
revise our product and then launch.
This has enabled us to successfully
support multiple business lines in
multiple geographies and maintain a
high level of customerservice.
Interesting times
In recent years we have all seen the
international regulatory environment
become stricter and more complex.
As a consequence of this, the banking
environment has become more
complex, and the simple task of
settling processing funds to merchants
has become significantly more subject
to scrutiny by the correspondent
banking networks. The direct impacts
on our business have been the need to
establish a legal and compliance team
to keep track of, interpret and help
implement changes as well as develop
a wide network of banks for the
settlement of funds to merchants.
Covid-19 has been and continues to
be a large impact on all spheres of life.
We were just implementing a number
of strategies when the pandemic
struck, most of which have thankfully
been successful. That said our staff are
essential to our success. To help ensure
their safety we enabled all employees to
work from home and have implemented
a strict hygiene program in all our
offices, rotating staff attending our
offices to ensure social distancing.
Regrettably, we have to touch on the
impacts of Brexit. While respecting
the wishes of the British public, the
effect on our business has been
substantial. The uncertainty of the
end shape of whatever deal that will
be reached has meant that we have
had to apply for equivalent financial
regulation in Europe, which has
brought with it the need to have to
build a local infrastructure there. In
addition, there is the cost of having
to split our portfolio, regulatory
reporting to multiple regulators,
additional audit requirements and
duplicated operations. There is an
impact on the UK in that, like many
other organisations affected by Brexit,
a substantial proportion of our profit
stream has had to be relocated with
taxes being paid to othergovernments.
We identify a
market or sector
we want to
target, recruit
the knowledge
we need to
develop the
product, test
and revise our
product and
then launch
Delivering a more
profitable payments


This article was sponsored by emerchantpay. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy