Fintech makes the world go around


May 16, 2019  2:24 PM

Brits want their banks to offer the latest fintech services but are not ready to use them

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

If I had a pound every time somebody mentioned to me that London is one of the world’s capitals of fintech, I would probably be a bank.

And I don’t doubt it. I currently have a file full of recordings of fintech interviews that I have not yet had time to write up. Most of these companies are London based.

But it seems that much of the work being done in fintech is being wasted on Brits. According to the research team at ING bank Brits just aren’t that into the latest tech for banking.

The Dutch bank surveyed 14,824 people in 15 countries and found that the British are still pretty wary of using fintech innovations.

In fact 63% have never used fingerprint or voice recognition to log in to their bank’s app. Hard to believe, I use mine so much there is an actual in-print of my fingerprint in the home button.

But if you think that is shocking 70% of Brits still go into a branch for services.

But Brits although Brits are reluctant to use some of the latest tech they do want it to be there so when they are ready they can use it. The survey revealed that 69% think banks should deliver the latest technologies to their customers.

Jessica Exton, behavioural scientist in ING’s consumer economic team and the report’s author said: “Over time and if new digital approaches are shown to be reliable, useful and socially accepted, it is possible that the uptake of services such as automatically generated advice for budgeting and even investing could be rapid. That was the experience with the uptake of mobile banking. Consumers indicate that they want banks and other financial institutions to stay in the lead by developing new ways to help them manage their money despite any reluctance to accept them immediately.”

Here is a link to the full report.

 

May 15, 2019  9:07 AM

Nationwide invests in behavioural AI startup

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

Nationwide Building Society is continuing to put money into tech start-ups to not only offer its customers access to latest tech, but also as an investment strategy.

Nationwide is bringing a Canadian start-up Scaled Insights to the UK through an investment that will see the behavioural artificial intelligence company move its headquarter to Leeds.

Scaled Insights, which is currently headquartered in Canada, uses AI to analyse peoples’ speech which informs the system how it should respond to a person.

It is all very well automating customer services but and one size fits all doesn’t work. If the exchanges between the customer and computer are ineffective or even annoying for customers this can do more harm than good. The Scaled Insight software aims to tailor automated conversations to individials.

According to Nationwide: “The AI system [can] generate an impression of each persons’ personality traits, much like when you listen to a new person speak and create an impression of what they’re like in your mind. The make-up of people’s linguistic personalities is unique as a fingerprint, so understanding what motivates them means organisations can use this insight to offer a more tailored and personalised service.”

The investment is part of a £50m fund, known as The FinTech fund, which the building society launched in June to support startups that can deliver technology that the mutual 15 million members could use.

Although the building society is looking for innovation in banking as a platform, the fund is not only about fintech. Nationwide said it wanted to back tech startups in areas such as delivering technology to support finances in the home, apps to bring communities together and personal data and identity services. The FinTech fund, as it is known, will be part of the building society’s technology strategy. As well as money startups, the programme will have a senior member of Nationwide staff with relevant experience to provide support and expertise.

Tony Prestedge, deputy CEO at Nationwide Building Society, said: “In future, this technology could help us understand and better serve our members, which will allow us to talk to them in language that is appropriate to them all while maintaining the human service that our members expect from us for more complex discussions.”

Stuart Sherman, CEO at Scaled Insights, said: “We believe that the next steps in one to one communications will rely on computer systems understanding humans as individuals, and tailoring messaging and offers towards each person’s unique needs.”Nationwide is continuing to invest heavily in the latest tech, with an additional £1.3bn being channeled into its already ambitions IT spend.

The fund supports Nationwide’s ambitious digital plans. A total of £4.1bn will to be spent over the next four years which will see the creation of 1,000 jobs, a fintech fund, huge and the opening of a new tech hub in the UK, amongst other things.


May 10, 2019  1:59 PM

Striving to be a good bank at Tandem Bank: Fintech Interview 21

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

The biggest surprise for Tandem Bank when it moved customers it gained through acquisition, to its systems, was that not having the title Dame in its database could be an issue.

The digital bank was incorporated in 2013 took on its first employee, unsurprisingly a chief technology officer in 2015, and got its banking license in 2018. It has already amassed 500,000 customers for its services that include credit card, mortgages, savings, personal loans.

It plans to launch a current account soon.

Tandem is using artificial intelligence and open banking technologies to make banking easier and helping customers better manage their money.

It was founded by Ricky Knox, Matt Cooper and Michael Kent (Azimo CEO) in 2013.

I have already written about Tandem Bank a couple of times. Although it is a startup, much has happened. It has already acquired another bank and had a major cloud migration of its own.

In January last year, it acquired Harrods Bank, which at the time doubled its customer base to 21,000. The company’s growth has been steep with over half a million customers today. In fact so steep that the bank has already had a major migration of customer accounts when it moved from managed service provider systems to the Amazon Web  Services cloud. While its acquisition and customer migration might be in common with more established bank, the way it migrated, over one night was not.

I recently caught up with CEO and co-founder Knox to get a broader picture of the challenger. Knox told me he “is definitely not a banker.” After meeting him I unequivocally agree.

After studying economics he was involved in the first internet bubble in the early 2000s as a venture capitalist. “Most people thought it was a load of [rubbish] but we thought this internet thing was going to be big.”  Seems an understatement today, but although hard to believe there were many doubters.

“I went out to Silicon Valley to see what they were doing and came back to the UK and went to business school,” said Knox.  Since then he has set up six businesses, including one in telecoms and a software business.

Tandem was not Knox’s first fintech either. He was also co-founder of money transfer company Azimo, which I already featured in this interview series.

But Tandem is where he sits as CEO and where his time is mostly spent.

He said his and his co-founders’ vision was to build a good bank. “Money is difficult to deal with and most people mess it up and banks make it more difficult.”

“We make tools that actually allow people to make all these complex decisions and help them do what they want to do without any of the gobbledygook that the banks spout.”

He gave me an example of how banks are not designed for customers, which is a major failing when there is so much choice today. “Think about it, why do you have a current account and a savings account? Obviously this is because banks don’t want to pay interest on a current account. Why not? If they did you wouldn’t need a savings account.”

“People should get interest on everything they have got,” he said.

The bank uses Finserv as a system of record but it is the clever stuff at the front that does 90% of the work. Using the Tandem data platform, the bank offers customers information about their spending and helps them manage their money and get better deals.

“We analyses our customers’ various bank accounts and using AI spot opportunities for them to save money.” It is only when relevant the bank will offer customers advice on how to save money. This might include booking train tickets direct or switching utility supplier. It can then link to third party apps to help customers do this.

“But we do not push apps on people with a marketplace or anything like that,” said Knox.

“It is good to have pots and mechaniisms to help people save but the actual functionality of a bank should be to help people understand their finances,” he added.

For example, he said, in a world of contactless people don’t know where they are and can waste money. This is why, for example, real-time information about spending is useful.

To this end tech rather than bank was the place to start. “The first thing we built was the open banking piece and we did it initially using screen scraping to allow people to shadow control their accounts. We built all the tools to help people manage their cash over the top of accounts,” Knox explained.

“Our focus initially was gathering all the data and we didn’t need to do our own banking products to do this because of open banking.”

This is what Tandem offered its initial 10,000 co-founder customers as they are known. Knox explained: “We did a scheme that if you were an early customer you could help build the bank and the first 10,000 customers are known as co-owners.”

Tandem did not need a banking licence for this and was still in the process of getting one.

The clever stuff at the front end is the company’s differentiator. It has about 80 people working on thiis in product, design, tech and engineering. About 60 are in London with the other 20 in Krakow, Poland

And with half a million customers won over in about a year Tandem’s offering is certainly compelling.

The median age of a typical customer of Tandem, who uses a range of products, is 38 years, which according to Knox  “is a little but older than some of our competitors.” Knox said, like with most challenger banks Tandem is a second bank for many of its customers. “Spend card behavior is the main way challenger banks are being used.”

Some of its older clientele come from its first acquisition. At the beginning of 2018 it acquired Harrods Bank, which offered mortgages and savings. Although it was widely reported that this was done to give Tandem a banking licence, this was not the case. Knox said at that time the company already had a banking license and acquired Harrods Bank for the capital that had been invested into it. “This was in a way our first fund raise. We kind of did the deal for the capital and got the bank for free.”

Harrods brought about 7000 customers and £400m deposits £50m in mortgages.

Tandem experienced some obscure problems when migrating Harrods customers to its systems. “One of the problems is we did not have the title Dame in our database and 12 of our new customers had this title.” (My opening paragraph now makes sense).

About half of the savings customers from Harrods are still Tandem customers as well as a few hundred mortgage customers.

Following the Harrods Bank acquisition Tandem quickly launched its aggregation app, credit card and savings account. It later launched a personal loans business and revamped its mortgages business.

Read the previous fintech interviews

Part 20 Tink, Part 19 Goldex,  Part 18 AzimoPart 17 YoyoPart 16 BudPart 15 PrevisePart 14 FinastraPart 13 InstaReMPart 12 EucapsPart 11 AimBrainPart 10 MenigaPart 9 TrueLayerPart 8 InvestCloudPart 7 ClauseMatchPart 6 Rebuilding Society, Part 5 HonchoPart 4 AkoniPart 3 WriskPart 2 CreditLadderPart 1 Taina Technology


May 9, 2019  9:54 AM

Fintech Tink gets UK expansion rolling with NatWest deal

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

Swedish fintech Tink has signed up its first UK bank to its open banking services, in its drive to expand significantly in the UK

NatWest is going to use Tink’s platform which offers open banking capabilities.

I recently interviewed Fredrik Hedberg, co-founder and CTO at Tink. He told me the UK was a new market for the company, which it wants to build significantly. It recently opened a London Office.

It appears to have got the ball rolling with a significant win. NatWest is integrating Tink’s technology. Tink is an interesting company because although it has been around since 2012 it has since changed its business model from offering consumers a financial management product to offering banks a platform to use to build their own open banking services.

In fact Tink was doing open banking even before legislation was introduced, in the form of PSDII, to mandate banks to offer it to customers. It is now building Amazon Web Services for financial services companies, Hedberg told me.

Tink’s initial app, aimed at consumers, could be downloaded and connected to any bank. “We could collect a person’s complete financial profile through a single app,” said Hedberg.  After picking up half a million users with a B2C model it decide to target banks with a platform that they could use to build their own open banking services on top of.

The banks wanted a fast way to get the capabilities to connect to any bank in Europe and the ability to move money around regardless of which account or bank it was in. They also wanted to give data driven financial advice. Tink had this technology so decided to sell it on to banks.

Across Europe Tink already boasts a range of tier one banks as customers. These include BNP Paribas Belgium, ABN Amro, as well as well as fintechs ranging from large companies like Klarna to startups

Now for the first time a UK bank will incorporate the technology, with NatWest the first UK customer of this type for Tink.

NatWest recently launched an open banking feature to its mobile banking app that allows customers to see their account information at other banks. The Accounts with Other Banks option, as it is known, means customers that have accounts at 15 other UK banks can view all their activity through the NatWest mobile app.


May 8, 2019  10:02 AM

Open banking take-up in the Netherlands less than expected because government promoted GDPR so well

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

It seems that the Dutch government made such a good job at promoting GDPR that people have become incredibly wary of allowing their banks to share some of their data.

I was talking to a contact who had attended a the European Payment Summit in the Hague recently.

He said the Dutch government heavily promoted GDPR and later open banking (PSDII) with a major advertising campaign including TV adverts. “There was much more promotion of open banking/PSDII than in the UK but take up was still very low.”

I would expect the Dutch to be more willing to try out open banking than most nationalities.

But then the reason for the low take up became clearer. Part of the conference included a survey about open banking take-up.

People were asked why they had not taken up open banking services in the survey. It seems that many are cautious because only a few months earlier people were being told, in great depth, the importance of GDPR to protect their personal information. Then they were being told of the benefits of letting banks give third party companies access to data.

One fintech I spoke to about this said it was quite unfortunate that GDPR and open banking regulation arrived around the same time.

This highlights the challenges for governments and fintechs when introducing new regulation and technology.

I think if anyone was bombarded with information from the government about protecting personal details and then suddenly asked to give permission for their bank to share information about themselves, they would be cautious to say the least.


May 7, 2019  10:56 AM

Azimo safeguards its EU passporting rights with Dutch licence

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

I am a bit late to this story as it was announced a month ago, but Azimo’s accreditation from the Dutch Central Bank is interesting in these uncertain times.

It is yet another example of UK base companies setting up operations in other EU countries, the ones that don’t want to leave, to ensure they can operate right across the EU when the UK leaves the trading block.

The cross border payments money transfer fintech has guaranteed itself the right to operate across Europe whatever happens with Brexit. This is a good move given that nobody seems to have an idea.

I wrote up an interview with Azimo CEO and co-founder Michael Kent in March.

At the time he told me what a bad idea he thinks Brexit is and how things have got worse as the process of trying to leave has unfolded.

He also said the company’s operation in Krakow, where its development and compliance teams sit would be operationalised if need be.

The company has now taken a further step with the Dutch licence and office in Amsterdam.

This is yet more evidence that London might be the best place for fintechs to thrive, but it is not the only place. And Brexit could make places like Amsterdam even more attractive.

Kent said the company looked at many jurisdictions but decided the best place to expand its European operations was the Netherlands.

“Outside the UK, it’s the best place to grow a fintech company in Europe.  It offers a welcoming culture open to innovation, access to talent, a thriving banking sector and a strong regulator.”

The authorities in the Netherlands are certainly welcoming.  Jeroen Nijland, commissioner for the Netherlands foreign investment agency, (NFIA), said the country’s growing ecosystem of fintechs serves consumers and businesses across the European continent and beyond. “Azimo will be in good company amongst global players like Bloomberg and MarketAxess, and homegrown successes such as Adyen and ‪Booking.com‪.”

I am interested to hear from any UK fintechs that are setting up in EU countries to ensure they can operate as usual post Brexit.


May 2, 2019  10:14 AM

Banks changing APIs at short notice highlights a failing of open banking standard

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

Banks are able to change their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with just two weeks’ notice in what challenger finance firms see as a weakness in the open banking standard.

Ricky Knox, CEO and co-founder of Tandem Bank, told me the digital challenger in the UK initially tried to keep up with changes to APIs being introduced by banks through in-house resources, but had to employ the services of a third party such was the level of resource required.

Tandem is using the services of Token.io to deal with this, because of the resource challenge it was causing.

“We tried doing that ourselves but we thought it would be different to the screen scraping so once you built it there would not be much maintenance. But that was not the case because the banks can give just two weeks’ notice and change anything they want in their APIs,” said Knox.

We had to have our own team working on that constantly readjusting and rebuilding our adaptors

He said banks have to comply with the basic structure but every two weeks they go and mess with their APIs. “To be fair not all the banks mess around quite as much but one of the failings of the open banking standard is allowing them to make changes with just two weeks’ notice.”

The EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) as well as the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) rules for open banking force banks to be capable of providing third-party financial services suppliers access to customer data, if the customer agrees, APIs.

Tandem Bank is a major challenger to traditional financial services firms. It currently offers a credit card, mortgages, savings, personal loans and is building a current account. It has over half a million customers. I recently met Knox and I will be publishing a more detailed article about Tandem soon

Knox is not alone in his view. Several fintechs I spoke to at the recent Innovate Finance Global Summit in London had similar issues.

Why are changes made so regularly. Are the banks trying to make life difficult?

One senior professional in the UK banking sector said he doubts the banks are doing this to thwart open banking, but rather it is the nature of the beast. “There are constantly changes being made at big banks, with a continuous flow of fixes. “They have thousands of changes every day, including bug fixes and performance improvements and. I am sure APIs are part of that.

If you have issues with this please tell us about it in the comments section, or email me direct on kflinders@techtarget.com


May 1, 2019  1:25 PM

NatWest owned fintech reaches £50m mark for SME lending

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

NatWest owned SME lending platform Esme Loans has lent more than £50m to UK SMEs over two years.

Esme cuts the time it takes to apply for a loan to 10 minutes for SMEs, offering SMEs loans of up to £150,000. Application is made easy through the use of the latest technology, including application programming interfaces (APIs).

Esme is an example of a traditional bank setting up a standalone digital business to take on the increasing numbers of fintech competitors. It was created by an internal innovation team at NatWest Bank, led by traditional banker, come fintech leader, Richard Kerton. Definetly a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Kerton said: “We have achieved great momentum since launch just over two years ago, and we are now lending over three times more than we were this time last year. Our customers tell us they love the speed and ease of our platform, and we are continuing to invest in our technology to ensure that we’re offering a seamless, intuitive experience that provides customers with the funding they need.”  The company recently signed a deal with Microsoft to support Esme’s automated decision making with a cloud based data warehouse.

So Esme Loans is owned by a bank but is not part of a bank. There is a logic to this with an appetite for borrowing from non-bank lenders. According to a survey of 2000 directors at UK SMEs, carried out by peer to peer lender Growth Street 49% of UK SMEs would seek financing from non-bank lenders as they begin to better understand the business models of companies in this space, including fintechs.

This is probably £50m in lending business that the RBS Group, which includes NatWest and owns Esme, wouldn’t have won without the Esme platform.

I recently interviewed Kerton at Esme Loans for my Fintech Interview series, which I will write up soon, with more detail about Esme Loans.

 


May 1, 2019  8:52 AM

Chancellor Hammond regrets uncertainty of the elephant in the room in speech to the fintechs

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

It took until the final session I attended at the Innovate Finance Summit 2019 to have a speaker address Brexit. And it was as a joke by none other than the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

I am sure Brexit was addressed thoroughly at the event, but just not in the presentations I attended. It was certainly discussed on the sidelines. When I speak to fintechs about Brexit it is universally seen as a stupid idea. But they all just seem to want some clarity.

The two day summit at the Guildhall in London was packed out. In the past the second day of the event has seemed much quieter. While it wasn’t as busy as the first day, seats were hard to find when Hammond spoke.

It really has grown quickly as an event and hopefully it will continue to do so DESPITE BREXIT. Sorry I had to do that.

Hammond did go into Brexit and said he understood the damage uncertainty was doing to business. He also jokingly lamented the lack of a Brexit algorithm to get us out of the impasse.

Read Philip Hammond’s speech in full here:

“It’s great to be here, and let me congratulate you and Innovate Finance on this fantastic Global Summit.

I want to apologise for my “no show” yesterday. It’s perhaps fitting, as I was required in Brexit talks with the opposition that I had to negotiate a short extension with Charlotte and her team.

Unfortunately that’s something we in government have had plenty of experience with recently.

And I’m grateful that Innovate Finance, at least, had kept a backstop speaking slot today.

It might seem a little strange to be talking about the fintech revolution in such an ancient building.

But I think it’s an appropriate reminder that this city, and this industry, have never stood still.

The competitive engine of the City of London – governed for centuries from this very hall – has always driven innovation and change.

From the first ever banknote, issued by the Bank of England in 1695…

…to the world’s first ATMs in 1967… …and the arrival of online banking in the 1980s…

…Britain has long been at the forefront of the linked worlds of technology and finance.

I want to say a few words this afternoon about why that remains the case today…

…and how we are committed to ensuring it remains so in future;

About why the UK is the perfect location for fintech to thrive, even as we leave the European Union;

About the unique environment that we offer to both start-up and scale-up entrepreneurs and investors;

And about how we can go even further in reinforcing the UK’s position as the global home of the fintech revolution.

Let me start by reflecting on how far we’ve come since I first spoke to you about fintech three years ago.

The UK is now a fintech powerhouse.

Last year, fundraising for UK fintech reached a record £15 billion – representing one in every six pounds invested in fintech around the world.

The UK remains the top destination in Europe for venture capital investment, with almost double the funding of Germany, the next-largest destination.

Only the US and China have invested more – and they both have a few more people than we do!

The sector in the UK now employs over 76,000 people in the UK;

Is worth nearly £7bn to the UK economy;

And provides financial services to nearly 50% of the population, compared to a global average of just 33%.

Now that’s not an accident – it’s because of the ingenuity, hard work and imagination of the brilliant entrepreneurs, engineers and investors who have driven the industry.

But while there is much to be proud of…

…there is no room for complacency.

International competition is growing.

In Shanghai and San Francisco, gifted engineers and entrepreneurs are determined to preserve their city’s rankings… …in Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Berlin and Paris, talented innovators are building significant challengers.

So the question for us is: how to maintain our advantage in fintech, in an increasingly competitive and globalised world?

Of course, I recognise that the immediate key to doing so is to ensure that we ratify the Brexit deal with the European Union – and do it soon!

I know that, nearly three years on from the referendum, the ongoing uncertainty is bad for business…

…and that every one of you in this room would have wanted us to have resolved this issue many months ago.

But democracy is a messy business – as Churchill noted, the worst form of government, except for every other form that has even been tried.

And no one yet seems to have invented the perfect Brexit algorithm yet!

But we are making progress.

The Withdrawal Agreement with the EU is finalised. Some changes may be negotiable to the Political Declaration about the future relationship…

…but essentially it is time for Parliament to make up its mind.

We are reaching out across the House to try and build the majority we need.

Which is the right way – indeed the only way – to proceed in a Parliamentary democracy.

I’m confident of the good faith of both sides in those discussions…

…and that we will, one way or another, reach a resolution, that will enable the deal to get through Parliament…

…so we can stop talking about Brexit…

…and get on with the business of business.

And when we do, all the pieces are in place for the fintech sector to thrive in the UK.

We have the time zone, the language, the legal system, and the talent.

Our world-class universities have pioneered many of history’s breakthrough inventions and discoveries…

…and with just 4% of the world’s researchers, we manage 15% of the world’s most-cited articles…

…and more Nobel Prizes than any country apart from the US.

And they are still doing so – driving today’s digital revolution.

That “critical mass” of financial services and technology is a crucial advantage. As Charlotte said yesterday, it increasingly doesn’t make sense to talk about fintech and financial services as separate ideas;

In just a few short years’ time, the innovative approaches of today’s fintech disruptors will simply be the way the financial services industry operates:

Either traditional financial services businesses will have adopted them wholesale…

…or they will have been displaced by the fintech disruptors.

And here again the UK’s combined ecosystem gives us a distinct advantage:

Our economic geography means that our tech and financial centres are both clustered around the same places, creating a “critical mass” of financial services and technology businesses in the same place.

No wonder that London is predicted to overtake San Francisco as the city housing the most fintech unicorns as early as this year.

So my message to you today is simple: Britain already has some deep and enduring advantages in the global fintech competition.

And we are committed to building on those strengths as we develop our future offer to attract fintech entrepreneurs from around the world…

…to launch their ideas, grow their businesses, and make their futures here in the UK. I just want to set out some of the ways we’re doing that.

First, I know that one of the biggest issues for many of you in this room is access to skills and talent – and many, understandably, question what will happen as we leave the European Union.

So let me reassure you:

Even as free movement ends, Britain will remain open to talent from around the world.

From this Autumn we will completely exempt PhD-level roles from visa caps, alongside the new Startup and Innovator Visas we launched earlier this year. The Government has set out a framework for a future immigration system in the Immigration White Paper…

…focussed on attracting those with the skills we need in the UK economy – no matter where they come from.

So we will still draw talent from across the EU – but from beyond it as well. Making London and the UK a global magnet for tech skills.

Crucially, and very unusually, we have committed to consulting with business over an unheard-of 12-month period.

We’ve done that because we want to ensure that the regime we put in place works for business…

…supporting the recruitment of skilled and talented people, and ensure that it happens without excessive bureaucracy.

And I urge you to use that consultation period to let us know clearly, exactly what business needs.

Migrants have played a crucial role in the development of this industry. But we also have a fantastic pipeline of home-grown talent. And we are investing in strengthening it for the future.

I’d like to commend the brilliant work of Innovate Finance in supporting our domestic talent pool… …including the recently launched “fintech for Schools” programme, and the fantastic new fintech Jobs Board.

Global leadership on fintech

The second pillar of our approach is to make London a truly global hub for fintech.

We’ve already established fintech Bridges with Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and China… …committing governments and regulators to collaborate in supporting growth and investment in fintech across markets.

And we’re already seeing the benefits as fintech firms use the UK as a base to access markets around the world.

In February, we held the first UK-India fintech dialogue, and the Prime Minister has announced the first ever UK-Africa fintech partnership.

That partnership includes a dedicated challenge fund to support Nigerian innovators to turn their ideas into reality – and I’m delighted to welcome the six winners here to this conference.

A regulatory environment fit for the fintech companies of the future

Thirdly, we are committed to building the most pro-growth and pro-innovation regulatory environment in the financial services world.

After all, there’s no point innovators pushing the cutting edge if regulators can’t keep up – there’s no point us having the digital equivalent of requiring a man with a red flag to walk in front of a new-fangled horseless carriage.

Our Regulatory Sandbox led the way – and has been copied in dozens of other jurisdictions; Our Open Banking initiative is already dramatically changing the way consumers and small businesses engage with banking…

…we’ve set up a Regulators’ Pioneer Fund to innovate in other areas of regulation… …and the fintech strategy that I launched last year set out actions to make the UK the best place to start and grow a fintech business, including ensuring access to long-term capital for scale-ups.

I’m pleased to say that one year on, all the actions in that strategy have now been implemented.

And it is already leading to results – take the example of OakNorth, who raised $440m of new capital at the beginning of this year…

…or UK challenger bank Starling, who raised £75m to invest in new products and will launch in Europe later this year.

But as well as a regulatory environment that’s open to innovation…

…we boast one of the most cyber-secure jurisdictions in the world.

We are determined to make a competitive advantage out of being one of the safest places to do digital business on the planet.

So we are leveraging the unique capabilities of the state and our world-class signals intelligence communities…

…through resources like the National Cyber Security Centre…

…harnessing the techniques of GCHQ…

…to keep businesses safe in Britain’s cyber space.

But all these individual steps need joining up…

…and we need to make sure that new businesses know where to go to tap into the enormous potential of the UK’s ecosystem.

So I’m delighted to welcome the launch today of the new fintech Alliance – bringing together the UK’s fintech network in one easily accessible “digital marketplace”, which will provide access to people, firms and information, including connections to investors, policy and regulatory updates, and the ability to attract and hire candidates.

When I first spoke at a fintech Conference three years ago, I set out our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for fintech.
Last year, we launched a comprehensive strategy to put rocket-boosters behind that ambition – and we are delivering.

Today, I look around this ancient hall and see not the past, but the future: an industry that is buzzing with ideas, energy and optimism.

All of us – government, investors and entrepreneurs – should feel proud of what we have achieved.

But we cannot rest on our laurels.

The task ahead of us now is to show, through the success of the fintech sector, that we truly are a Global Britain.

That the unique advantages we have here in the UK position us perfectly to drive the next stage of the fintech revolution.

And that we are committed to supplementing our own strengths with the energy and vibrancy of our partners around the world.

And as we do so, there are no limits…

To the new products we can design…

The businesses we can build…

The jobs we create.

Quite literally, the sky is the limit.

And I look forward to working with all of you to ensure we reach it.

Thank you.”


April 29, 2019  6:46 AM

Bank of England governor speaks as maiden UK Fintech Week begins

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

The UK’s first Fintech Week will this week promote innovation, openness and collaboration to the fintech industry.

The week will kick off with a keynote from Bank of England governor Mark Carney at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) in London, with speakers from all corners of the industry.

IFGS will be held at the Guildhall, London, today (Monday 29 April) until tomorrow. As well as Carney speakers will include: Anne Boden, CEO at Starling Bank; Jaidev Janardana, CEO at Zopa; Kaushalya Somasundaram, head of fintech partnerships & Strategy, at HSBC; and Kosta Peric, deputy director, financial services for the poor, at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But there is also a long list of events planned for the entire week, which organisers hope will help the UK cement its position as a leading global fintech hub. See this link for all the events.

The UK attracted £3.3bn in fintech investment last year. But it is not just about attracting investment. In fact the week will have the theme; “fintech’s value and purpose to society.” Participants will be united in striving to make sure the UK remains an investment friendly environment for fintech, that it continues to attract and retain a diverse and global pool of talent, and that it is the home of progressive regulation

Chancellor Philip Hammond will also speak during the week.

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO at Innovate Finance, said fintech is now a key driver of economic growth and social betterment for countries across the world. “The UK has long been held as a global hub of fintech and we will continue to work with ecosystems across the world, connecting international and national organisations

Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin said fintech is already a major asset for London and the UK, employing over 75,000 people across the country. “I expect this figure expected to surge to well beyond 100,000 by 2030.”

“I look forward to welcoming firms, investors, and young people starting out their careers in fintech to the City of London to explore how we can realise the sector’s full potential in the years to come.”

 


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