This week London played host to the International Fintech Conference, convened by HM Treasury, a highlight in the fintech calendar.
We were delighted to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s launch today of the UK’s keenly awaited fintech strategy which underlines just how important fintech is within our economy.
Fintech already contributes £6bn to the economy and provides 60,000 jobs and it’s only getting bigger. Investment in UK fintech was at record levels in 2017, with $1.8bn invested in 224 companies. This emerging sector will be central to our Tech Nation strategy through which we will work to empower ambitious tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through knowledge and connections; building a UK economy fit for the next generation.
Philip Hammond today announced a raft of measures that will help to maintain the UK as the dominant fintech force in the world for now.
Some of these initiatives arise from a close collaboration between Tech City UK’s Fintech Delivery Panel – which represents incumbents and startups – and the Treasury.
In particular we welcome the Treasury’s emphasis on:
- Skills – the Fintech Delivery Panel is working with Barclays’ Connect with Work programme that sets out to find and recruit people over 16 with the right aptitude and attitude to work in fintech, but who face barriers to doing so. We want to encourage apprenticeships in fintech, look at how we can upskill workers in the UK and attract skilled foreign talent.
- Standards – the Fintech Delivery Panel is working closely with the British Standards Institution to develop a set of standards targeted at fintech companies and other industry related startups, that allow fintech companies to be better prepared when getting ready to partner with incumbent banks. This work is being sponsored by the five banks on the Panel – Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, HSBC and Barclays – and will be the first time anywhere in the world that standards for banks and fintechs to work together have been created. We are at the early stages of the project but by the end of 2018 we aim to produce a set of onboarding guidelines that fintech companies can use to assess their readiness to partner with a major financial institution. Our aim is to help banks and fintechs achieve partnerships faster, ultimately driving value to the consumers.
- Connecting and supporting ambitious entrepreneurs – as part of our new wider remit from April, we will be launching our first sector-focused Fintech Programme. For its first year, the programme will last six months and will focus exclusively on early-stage B2B fintech companies. We expect that the most ambitious fintech startups from across the country will join. Like our flagship Future Fifty and Upscale initiatives, the programme will provide a mix of insight sessions with subject matter experts as well as dinners with established fintech entrepreneurs, prominent advisers and investors. It will also feature a trip to the US to showcase these companies.
- Delivering the benefits of fintech across the UK – we firmly believe that fintech can benefit the whole UK and not just the existing financial centres. In April, as Tech Nation we will be working to connect tech sectors across the country, so that they can share knowledge, expertise and best practice. We expect to work closely with the fintech regional envoys announced by the Chancellor today, as well as other stakeholders and partners including local councils, City mayors and Learning Enterprise Partnerships.
Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech City UK & Fintech Delivery Panel and HM Treasury Special Envoy for Fintech, said:
“The government’s fintech sector strategy published today will help underscore and solidify the UK’s global leadership in the sector — as well as help to meet consumer and broad industry demand for continued innovation and higher quality services from the financial services sector.
Close collaboration between existing financial services institutions and SMEs or startup companies shows that fintech is quickly becoming integral to the UK economy. The UK is already a global leader in this field and we welcome the Chancellor’s prioritisation of the sector at this time of great change and opportunity.”
Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK, soon to be Tech Nation, said:
“Fintech is one of the UK technology sector’s biggest successes and there is so much more to play for as fintech companies start to break into new sectors, bringing new ideas, competition for consumers and innovation to our financial system. The Chancellor has recognised that fintech has particular needs if it is to continue to thrive. From the Fintech Delivery Panel we have also seen some terrific collaboration between incumbent banks and fintech startups. This spirit of partnership and co-operation is fintech leadership at its best and will give us the edge in what is a global industry.”
Gregoire Michel, Fintech Lead at Tech City UK, soon to be Tech Nation, said:
“In addition to carrying on supporting the groundbreaking achievements of the Fintech Delivery Panel, Tech City UK is now in the process of building a nationwide fintech-specific programme. This programme, the first of its kind in the world, is aimed at early stage B2B fintech companies headquartered across the UK in order to support and showcase exceptional entrepreneurs in their mission to revolutionise financial services both in the UK and in the rest of the world.”