Open Banking Turns Six

Open banking, an initiative launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to bring more competition to the UK’s banking industry, celebrated its sixth anniversary in January.

To mark the occasion, the CMA announced that the six largest banking providers in the UK, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander, have now implemented all the requirements of the Open Banking Roadmap, and that the Roadmap is nearly complete.

There are now 6.5 million regular users of open banking technology, a significant increase from the reported 4.5 million regular users in 2021. Further, there were 1 billion API calls a month and 7.5 million open banking payments, as of December 2022.

In December alone, 7.5 million payments were made in the UK using open banking, up 230 per cent year-on-year. There are over 200 providers of open banking in the UK and over 600,000 small and medium size enterprises are using the technology to improve their businesses.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “It is fantastic to see how many consumers have benefited from open banking since the CMA’s Order was issued in 2017 – which has transformed the way millions of people manage their money.”

 

Exploring more ambitious and creative solutions

Open banking was launched in 2017 as part of a package of improvements following the CMA’s market investigation into retail banking. It ordered the UK’s nine largest retail banking providers to open up customer data using secure data protocols.

The initiative has helped drive competition in a market which was previously dominated by major banks, reducing costs for businesses and improving financial decision-making for consumers.

But, in order to unlock its vastly untapped potential, banks, fintechs and businesses need to continue to explore ambitious and creative solutions that open banking fosters and facilitates to benefit the UK public and business community.

In City AM, Andrew Griffith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, wrote, “My task now is not just to lock in this progress – but to build on it to ensure the benefits of open banking technology and broader innovation are felt by as many people and businesses in the UK as possible.”

OneID®, a London-based identity technology firm, is the prime example of open banking innovation. It showcases a truly innovative use of this existing ecosystem that benefits banks, businesses and UK citizens. It enables 40m UK consumers to consent to share their bank-verified identity data with a 3rd party service provider to easily onboard and authenticate themselves. This has huge potential to tackle big societal issues such as age verification, fraud and online abuse.

 

Still a way to go

With momentum rapidly growing pace, open banking is taking centre stage in the financial services industry. But it isn’t without its critics.

Back in December, a group of UK fintechs, including Monzo, Plum and Wise, signed a joint letter to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) calling for greater clarity on how open banking will be regulated from 2023 onwards.

The letter then describes dissatisfaction with the lack of clear direction from the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee (JROC), a regulatory body established last March by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Further, not all banks have implemented all the requirements of the open banking Roadmap. Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and Danske are lagging behind the other six major banks. The CMA said the Open Banking Implementation Entity would consider enforcement action.

Despite these issues, the open banking story to date has largely been a positive one. To continue on the same path, it’s vital that policymakers and regulators act now and lay the foundations that will allow open banking to continue to flourish for years to come.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

 

 

5 fintech trends to watch in 2023

Describing 2022 as turbulent is a bit of an understatement. Geopolitical tensions boiled over, volatility returned with a vengeance, the great tech layoff left 200,000+ jobless, inflation exploded, investment fell off a cliff – the list goes on. It can’t get any worse, can it?

Yes, this is an overly pessimistic review of 2022. While we are going through a rough patch, downturns encourage innovation, pushing sub-sectors of fintech to the fore and we do have cause for optimism in 2023.

Here are some of the key trends we’ll be keeping an eye on over the next 12 months:

 

Investors to remain picky, fintech to remain sticky

According to Dealroom, fintech investment fell 32% to $21.5bn in 2022, its lowest in five years.

A combination of geopolitical uncertainty, turbulent markets, high inflation and rising interest rates all led to subdued levels of investment. Other factors including a decline in public market valuations and the poor performance of various IPO listings dampened optimism from investors.

Venture capitalists became increasingly sceptical about the appetite for risk associated with unprofitable growth, and about customer acquisition costs and monetisation, forcing fintechs to tighten their belts.

If the easy money is no longer there for fintech, the good tech which meets genuine use cases is going to stick and there will be an almighty clear out of the junk.

Firms will need to work harder and smarter with existing cash flows and teams from the top to the bottom of the organisation.

This downturn is going to be both a shake-out and an opportunity for great fintech firms to show their real value.

 

AI moves increasingly into mainstream

ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot which can provide detailed responses and articulate answers to also any topic or question, has caused quite a stir online.

Created by OpenAI, which was co-founded by Sam Altman, Elon Musk and others, the software is still in its prototype stage but has been made available to the general public for free.

The overall response has been mixed, and the programme is so capable of answering questions like a person that it’s left many experts wondering what the implications could be. Speculation includes the death of Google’s search business, a wave of “AIgiarism” – or AI-assisted plagiarism, mass customer service layoffs and more. Its potential is huge and there’s already talk that the firm is set to raise capital at an almost $30bn valuation.

AI technology is already used widely fintech to automate repetitive processes, such as data entry and background analysis and improve decision making by simplifying analytics. ChatGPT presents an opportunity to take this progress further, improving the accuracy and efficiency in dealing with queries, enhancing customer experience and building loyalty.

 

Crypto regulation is coming

2022 was an eventful year for the crypto industry – the stablecoin meltdown in May, major hiring freezes and layoffs from the likes of Coinbase and Gemini and the collapse of FTX all impacted crypto prices, resulting in the crypto winter.

Despite the turbulence, Charley Cooper, Managing Director at R3 believes that currently, the market is too small to have any real impact to mainstream finance. He does, however, believe, “if the size and scope of the industry grows over the next few years, then a crash like the one we have seen this year could pose a real threat to widespread financial stability.”

But while it may not currently impact mainstream finance, the crypto winter has taken a toll on many retail investors. Around three-quarters of Bitcoin investors lost money in 2022 alone and many other coins suffered price drops, leading to calls for a regulatory crackdown to protect investors.

It is hard to predict where crypto will go from here. However, it is likely that regulation across the market will accelerate to establish more stringent consumer safeguards as regulators seek to prevent such an enormous fallout from happening again.

Blockchain has huge efficiency benefits and can bring greater speed and cost-savings to financial markets. There are many players within this space who are genuine innovators and wish to progress the industry through trust and transparency.

Against a backdrop of heightened scrutiny, it is vital that digital finance companies have clearly defined services and offerings – and the ability to communicate this to their target market – if they are to fulfil this potential.

 

Tech job losses could lead to innovation boom

2022 was the year of tech layoffs – over 235,000 people were laid off within the tech and fintech sector according to job loss tracker, TrueUp.

The biggest spike was in November, according to a report from Challenger, Gray and Christmas, during which there were almost 53,000 cuts. Some firms have blamed the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic while others, such as Twitter, pointed to overhiring during periods of rapid growth.

As a result, there is a lot of talent on the street, and this could manifest itself in a number of ways.

Similar to what happened after the dotcom bust, we could see a startup boom. Those laid off with healthy financial packages could choose to set up their own firms and even compete with their former employers, leading to increased competition and disruption.

We could also see increased innovation at bigger, more traditional financial institutions. People that lost their jobs may look for more security and these types of firms can offer just that. There may be an adaptive period however as many will be used to the ‘move fast and break things’ mantra which isn’t quite how the more traditional firms do things.

Lastly, it could be good news for startups who struggle to match the packages at big tech firms and so can’t attract more experienced hires. There are already reports of startups having better access to talent and many of those that are laid off could well seek to go back to the good old days of being the disruptor challenging the incumbents.

 

Crackdown on greenwashing

The term greenwashing is not new. It’s been around since the 1980’s and, according to KPMG, it means dishonest practices used by businesses to represent themselves as more sustainable either by giving a false impression or providing misleading information as to the sustainability of a product/service.

The FCA recognises that over the last few years, the financial services sector has ‘seen a dramatic increase in ESG and sustainable investments which has also led to increasing concerns about firms confusing or even misleading consumers about the nature of some of these investments.’

Regulators across the globe are now moving to tackle the issue of greenwashing, especially around the naming of funds which has been described as a “powerful marketing tool” for asset managers.

In November 2022, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) announced new rules for the naming of ESG-related funds to “address any misuse” of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

A month earlier, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed a raft of new measures including sustainable investment labels and consumer-facing disclosures to boost consumer trust.

While the crackdown is welcome, greenwashing has brought increasing scrutiny on ESG efforts, making it more important than ever that firms keep their green credentials simple, factual and authentic. Otherwise, they risk the greenwashing treatment, which can lead to negative backlash, reduced trust in their brand and, in extreme cases, regulatory action.

 

Here’s to 2023

As with any year in fintech, it’s impossible to say what will happen next. What is clear, is that technology must address defined problems and use cases, genuine market need and have a realistic path to delivery to thrive.

While some firms will suffer in the next 12 months, those with people who understand financial markets and the regulatory environment and work closely with them from the start to ensure their tech meets the highest benchmarks of resilience and operational efficiency will prosper.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Q&A with Chatsworth’s account executives: Maeve and Jude

What does a typical day look like for an account executive at Chatsworth?

Jude:

In such a fast-paced industry, it’s difficult to describe a ‘typical day’ – each day provides unique opportunities and challenges. Whilst you do have daily responsibilities, industry news can often instruct your work – meaning that what you think will be a quiet day can quickly become a very busy one. I feel that this is part of the reason that working in PR is so exciting, and Chatsworth allows you to get stuck in right from the beginning.

Maeve:

Each day is quite different! One of the great things about working in PR is that no two days are the same – it often depends on what is being reported in the news. Each day I have specific tasks to do – mainly monitoring the news for key developments in fintech or looking for new media opportunities for my clients.  However, the fintech sector is particularly fast-paced and there always seems to be new opportunities to secure coverage for clients!

Fintech is a fast-moving specialised sector, what is it like to work in the industry?

Jude:

Fintech is one of the most exciting sectors to work in as you are constantly on the cutting edge of the financial industry. Whether keeping up with crypto or following advancements in AI, you are kept informed of the most innovative and forward-thinking work. With the industry being so fast paced, it is important to keep up to date with the what’s going on, which means reading and researching the news is something you should find time for every day. The fast-moving nature of the industry can seem daunting at first, especially to those with no prior fintech experience, however Chatsworth offers a lot of support to help learn about the space – including 1-on-1 explainer sessions with managers.

Maeve:

I’m still quite new to the fintech sector but I feel as though I have learnt a lot over the past few months! From the outside, I think fintech can seem like quite a daunting industry – most people can be intimidated by the complexities of finance and technology. However, it’s a fascinating industry to work in because you’re often the first to hear about exciting technological developments in finance. More importantly, I think working in fintech provides you with an insight into how the world really works, as most people either use or interact with financial technology every day.

What has been your biggest learning curve since starting your PR career?

Jude:

I found that time management and communication are very important. Due to how fast paced the industry is, a news story can suddenly pop up that means you have to reorganise the order of your day, or even week, to make sure that all your work is completed by their deadlines. Everyone at Chatsworth make this much easier, however, as they are always willing to help you – whether it be by extending deadlines or taking on a task for you, all you need to do is ask.

Maeve:

I have always enjoyed writing, but I think a big learning curve for me has been learning to write more concisely. At university you’re often taught to write in a specific way, but when you’re working in PR you need to be able to adapt your writing style according to the client and the type of publication. As a newcomer to fintech, I’ve learnt a lot about the industry since I joined Chatsworth. Everyone is more than happy to answer any questions and I was given plenty of reading resources to learn more about the industry. I think Chatsworth is a great place to start your career, as you’re able to have hands-on responsibilities from the very start, such as writing op-eds for clients and contacting journalists.

Maintaining a flexible working culture is important at Chatsworth, how do you manage hybrid working amongst the team?

Jude:

Communication and understanding is key to a flexible working culture that works for everyone. When working from home, making sure you clearly state certain times when you are and aren’t available is very useful to other team members who may be looking for help on a task. At Chatsworth, everyone is very understanding of each other’s busy lives and schedules and they will not burden you with unnecessary pressure, which is easy to do when you are not face-to-face.

Whilst in the office, the team makes good use of this time. There are constantly conversations flying around the room, verbally or digitally. Everyone bounces ideas off each other and are keen to help one another. The office space is used effectively to aid in breaking up the day. Our open kitchen space helps people to have conversations with their colleagues and relax during lunch, whilst the meeting room is often home to training sessions, focused work, or client meetings.

Maeve:

The team at Chatsworth are great at making sure everyone has the flexibility they need at work. Most of us go into the office 2/3 days per week then work from home on the other days. When I first started at Chatsworth, I was worried I would be left to my own devices when working from home, but everyone communicates daily on teams (and in-person when we are in the office) – so no question is left unanswered!

As we approach 2023, what are you most excited about for the year ahead?

Jude:

I am excited to see what the new year has in store for each of my clients, and the opportunities and challenges it will present. I am also looking forward to seeing where the fintech space goes and how it grows – a lot can happen in a year!

As for Chatsworth, I am looking forward to seeing how it too develops and grows over the next year, and some more competitive socials with the Belfast team!

Maeve:

I’m really interested to see what new developments we’ll see in 2023. 2022 was a rocky year for fintech, with lots of highs and lows. I’m interested to see how more countries will regulate crypto, and if more central banks will adopt CBDCs. There are plenty of fintech events taking place next year as well, so I’m sure there will be plenty of new announcements!


Jude and Maeve joined Chatsworth as PR newcomers in 2022. If you’re interested in joining the team, contact [email protected] and look out for more details on our careers page.

Volatility fuelling automation drive in FX

After a sustained period of calm, the FX market has sprung into action in 2022. Recent volatility has exposed the shortcomings of many firms’ FX setups and there is now a movement towards digitising the entire FX workflow.

In the past few months alone, the US dollar (USD) has surged to 20-year highs while the British pound (GBP), Japanese yen (JPY) and the euro (EUR) have all slumped to record lows.

Some of the biggest firms, particularly those that consolidate in the US, are feeling the pain of the surging dollar which is lowering the value of their overseas sales. In late October, Coca-Cola said that FX effects have dented its margins, earnings per share (EPS) and other metrics and said it expects comparable EPS to include a 7% to 8% currency headwind for the year.

Likewise, Goldman Sachs Group found that share prices of S&P 500 companies with large overseas exposure are down about 23% since the beginning of the year, compared with 18% for the wider index and 6% for companies with largely domestic businesses.

According to Kyriba’s October Currency Impact Report, firms in Europe and North America reported $37.27 billion in headwinds in the second quarter of 2022. North American companies reported a staggering 3,583% increase in foreign exchange (FX) headwinds compared to this time last year.

So, what are firms doing to manage this risk?

Short-term – increasing hedging

The main change firms are making in the short term is increasing hedging activity. A recent survey from FX-as-a-Service pioneer, MillTechFX, found that 89% of corporates that do not have a formal hedging strategy in place are now considering introducing one.

It also revealed that the majority of senior finance decision makers’ current hedge ratio is over 50% and the average hedge ratio is 56%, while the average tenor of hedges was five months. This indicates corporates are balancing their valid concerns around profit erosion with the need to be nimble in the face of fragile supply chains, weakening consumer demand and rising inflation.

Furthermore, in response to market volatility, 40% of respondents said they are considering increasing their hedge ratio, while a third shortened the tenor of their hedging instruments to remain flexible in the face of mounting headwinds and uncertainty.

Long-term – automation drive

Currency volatility has shone a light on FX processes which, for many firms, don’t make for pretty viewing. Corporates continue to use manual FX processes which are cumbersome and time-consuming.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of corporates are still using manual execution processes and over a third (36%) still primarily use email for instructing financial transactions, while 29% rely on phone calls.

FX price discovery can often involve multiple phone calls, e-mails or online platforms to log in just to get comparative quotes from counterparties. Because the market is constantly moving, price discovery requires a team of people to collectively decide which of these counterparties can offer the best quote.

This entire process is a huge drain on time and resources, with MillTechFX’s research finding that corporate treasury teams spend around 1.85 days per week on FX-related matters while nearly half (47%) of those surveyed said they spend 2-3 days managing such matters. Over 50% of treasury teams have three or more people tasked with FX activities.

With FX moving up the list of priorities, CFOs and treasurers at corporates are now waking up and smelling the coffee. There has been a notable increase in organisations seeking to embrace digitisation to streamline these processes, with 89% of senior decision-makers stating that they were looking into new technology and platforms to automate their FX operations.

Many are harnessing simple, tech-enabled solutions which digitise the end-to-end FX process from initial price discovery right through to reporting at the end of the trade lifecycle.

Looking into 2023 and beyond, firms that harness automated technology-driven solutions will be best placed to protect their businesses during turbulent times.

Chatsworth has been at the centre of foreign exchange – the world’s largest and most liquid market – for over 20 years, positioning our clients as thought leaders, with skill and insight to move the compass needle their way. Find out more about our FX credentials here.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

 

 

 

 

Digital trade just got one step closer

On 12 October 2022, the Electronic Trade Documents Bill was presented before parliament. It’s seen as the next step in a long road towards transitioning away from the country’s reliance on paper-based legacy systems for trade documents. So, with the bill now set to go through the House of Lords before heading to the House of Commons, what does it mean for the future of trade and digitalisation?

 

What is the Electronic Trade Documents Bill?

The past few months have been a turbulent period in UK politics. Amidst a new head of state, three prime ministers and two Conservative Party leadership contests, it’s been admittedly hard to keep up. But during these uncertain times, an incredibly important piece of legislation has been introduced to parliament – the Electronic Trade Documents Bill.

Under current legislation, such as the longstanding 1882 Bills of Exchange Act and the 1992 Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, most business-to-business documents like bills of exchange must exist on paper to be legally recognised. For centuries, paper-based documentation has been the standard and accepted way for enterprises to transact with one another.

The Electronic Trade Documents Bill changes this as it makes digital documentation recognised legally. And once passed, the bill will provide the framework for businesses to move into a digital-first trade environment.

 

Why is the bill important?

Since the onset of the Internet, digitalisation has sped up rapidly. Every day – whether it’s with work colleagues or friends – we talk to each other digitally. Email, Slack, Teams, Zoom, text, Whatsapp – you name it – paper-based ways of communicating have wilted in the face of new technology and apps.

Except in trade, where paper documents are still standard practice. The introduction of the Electronic Trade Documents Bill marks a significant moment in the shift away from paper and is set to facilitate much-needed digitalisation.

This is a big deal. The UK’s trade sector is worth a whopping £1.4 trillion, with over 28.5 billion paper trade documents printed and flown around the world daily. Paper documents can take days, or even weeks to process. This prolongs settlement times, adds red tape and administrative burdens and ultimately holds back many firms from engaging in commerce and growing their business.

Digitising these paper documents can bring enormous efficiency benefits by cutting the processing time of trade documents to as little as twenty seconds. Removing the legal obstacle to electronic versions of trade documents will significantly lower administration costs and is expected to provide a £1.14 billion boost to UK business over a ten-year period, according to Trade Finance Global. Likewise, the Digital Container Shipping Association estimates that if 50 per cent of the container shipping industry adopted electronic bills of lading, the collective global savings would be around £3.6 billion ($4 billion) per year.

Alongside these efficiency gains, digitising trade documents is also vital towards establishing a greener economy. Beyond the immediate environmental benefits that cutting paper brings to trade, digitalisation eliminates the need for couriers, in turn reducing carbon emissions.

The introduction of the Electronic Trade Documents Bill is likely to accelerate other global digital trade initiatives. Alisa DiCaprio, Chief Economist at R3, thinks that “on the global level, the UK effort contributes to the increasing volume of support for countries to align to UN Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) guidelines. The US has started this process with the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) promoting the updating of the eSign Act.”

The Electronic Trade Documents Bill will not initiate the digital transformation of trade overnight, as there are still some fundamental barriers and questions surrounding the transition towards a fully digital trade environment. For example, while the UK has taken a big unilateral step towards digitalisation, the widespread adoption of digital trading mechanisms will require other countries to follow suit in a co-ordinated global approach. Likewise, digitalisation inevitably throws up new forms of online security risks, which companies will have to make sure they have protective measures against.

But, there is no doubting that digital trade just got closer. By introducing clear legal guidelines for a digital trade environment, the bill represents a crucial step in enabling firms reap the enhanced efficiency and cost-reduction benefits that digitalisation can bring.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

What does Rishi Sunak’s appointment mean for fintech?

New prime minister Rishi Sunak has been an outspoken advocate for fintech growth, but what does his recent appointment mean for the sector going forward and how has the industry reacted to his leadership?

 

“Champion of fintech”

The initial reaction from the UK’s fintech industry has been one of cautious optimism.

Rishi Sunak has previously voiced his support for the fintech sector and introduced positive measures during his time as chancellor including the Kalifa Review which aimed to strengthen the UK’s position as a leading fintech hub.

He also unveiled a raft of initiatives to support the sector during last year’s Fintech Week, including new Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘scale box’ and a Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology to drive growth.

David Brown, CEO of Hi, believes this could be a positive appointment for the industry as Sunak was, “very supportive of fintech,” when he was chancellor. He goes on to say, “during Fintech Week last year, he talked about boosting growing fintechs, pushing the boundaries of digital finance and making financial markets more efficient – music to many fintechs’ ears.”

Janine Hirt, CEO of Innovate Finance, goes further calling Sunak a, “champion of fintech.”

 

Crypto reaction

During his time as finance minister, Rishi Sunak announced plans to make the UK a, “global hub for crypto.” Sunak was a key force behind the Financial Services and Markets Bill currently passing through parliament, which many industry participants consider to be a world leader in the push for crypto and digital asset regulation.

Under his leadership, the country’s coin producer, the Royal Mint, was tasked with creating a non-fungible token (NFT) collection, which has yet to come to fruition.

Ian Taylor, director of the industry lobby group CryptoUK, told CoinDesk, “it’s a positive for crypto and the general economy.”

Charley Cooper, Managing Director at R3, highlighted that the UK political instability could damage its ambition to become a crypto hub. He said, “It’s very hard to lure new businesses into such a volatile political environment because they’re unable to fully account for the risks.”

 

Online safety and fraud

One of the biggest pieces of legislation in Rishi Sunak’s in-tray is the Online Safety Bill which was introduced in May 2021 in an effort to protect online users from abuse and fraud with a particular focus on children and the vulnerable. The attempt to reduce online harm draws parallels with several issues facing the fintech industry, such as combatting identity theft and fraud throughout the UK.

Martin Wilson, CEO of OneID, said, “It is vital that the UK government continues to support this legislation so it can continue to lead the way in holding social media firms to account, protect people from abuse, fraud and violence, and make the internet a safer place.”

 

UK fintech community needs political stability

Amidst a turbulent time for British politics, new leadership has the potential to provide some much-needed stability. Fintech funding in the UK has suffered in recent months and industry experts suggest consistency at the top could help show investors that the UK is open for business.

Brown said: “A slowdown in investment threatens to stifle fintech innovation in the UK and what the industry needs now is strong, stable leadership which helps the UK secure its place as a world-class fintech hub.”

R3’s Cooper said, “the sooner the UK’s political landscape stabilises, the more likely these firms are to take the next step of integrating these profound innovations into their services and business models.”

Rishi Sunak’s record has given the UK fintech community hope of future prosperity. Throughout his career, he has consistently spoken of the importance of supporting fintech and scientific innovation. The best way he can do this is to provide strong and stable leadership and tap into the UK’s work-class fintech sector.

 

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

 

 

Fintech superapp debate roars on

Bill Harris, founding CEO of Nirvana Money and formerly founding CEO of PayPal and Personal Capital, recently wrote an opinion article in the Financial Times on how fintechs have made consumers’ lives unnecessarily complicated.

Harris’ argument is one of fragmentation and a lack of interoperability, stating that fintechs have built a ‘blizzard’ of products which are point products for specific purposes that don’t play well with others.

He continues that these products have created ‘confusion rather than clarity’ and people now have ‘too many accounts and apps and bits of money strewn across the digital domain.’ Given Harris’ profile as a fintech pioneer who has set up nine financial technology companies, this has stirred up some controversy.

Has fintech made finance more complicated?

Most people now have multiple accounts and cards across both challenger and traditional banks. There is a wide variety of ways people can make payments, whether it’s through PayPal, Apple Pay, Buy Now Pay Later providers, credit card, debit card and even crypto on some websites. This is inherently more complicated than having one bank account your entire life that you rely upon for all your financial needs.

Banking may have been simpler before the fintech revolution, but was it better?

As Patrick Kavanagh, co-founder of Atlantic Money, puts it, “the bad old days when monopolistic banks provided the worst consumer experience and charged fees for all sorts of unnecessary services. When you had to pay 5-10% to exchange currencies and were hit with extortionate banking fees when sending money abroad.”

Thanks to fintech, those days are long gone, as evidenced by new research from Plaid. It found that 41 per cent of Brits say that fintech enables them to understand their finances so they can better manage their money. It also revealed that 84 per cent of UK consumers use fintech to manage their money, more than half said it saves them time – 56 per cent – and 49 per cent said it makes them feel more in control.

The superapp debate

Harris also has his say on the debate around whether one financial superapp is better than multiple apps with individual services. Harris believes that ‘we need fewer, simpler products — single apps that address multiple needs and deliver a straightforward user experience’.

While it could be argued that having everything in one place might be easier, it could also be said that having everything in one place might be overwhelming. Users definitely do not want a bloated app with hundreds of features and products which takes a long time to load.

Open Banking and APIs have made it much easier to navigate between different apps and manage money between accounts, removing the hassle of manually flicking between apps and accounts to carry out simple tasks.

Finally, a superapp could stifle competition. For example, in China, WeChat made links to competitors such as Alibaba and Douyin inaccessible until Beijing stepped in.

The fintech movement is about competition and choice, not complication. As Kavanagh says, “we didn’t disrupt monopolistic banks to create monopolistic fintechs.”

Only technology which delivers genuine utility and change – both B2C and in wholesale/capital markets – will be adopted. The market and users will ultimately decide, what is important is that they have that choice.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Which CBDC design considerations will matter in the end?

by Richard Gendal Brown, Chief Technology Officer at R3, as published in City A.M.

As Central Bank Digital Currency Development (CBDC) begins to move from the research phase to real-life building, I’ve spent a lot of time in recent months thinking about why a retail CBDC might be needed.

For example, if a country already has a sophisticated retail payment system, why would consumers voluntarily adopt a CBDC? What unique features would it need to have to make it attractive? Censorship-resistance perhaps? Privacy? Support for direct person-to-person payments? Ability to pay merchants even when the power is out? These questions are likely to have significant impact on the technical architecture of any given system, and so this is where I’ve been focusing.

But the danger in that approach is that it can feel impossible to make any progress at all until all these ‘policy questions’ are addressed. Happily, serious thinkers in central banks – and elsewhere – around the world have correctly identified that, irrespective of some of the deep questions above, it is still possible to make intellectual progress.

But first, what is a retail CBDC? In short, a retail CBDC is intended to be an electronic analogue of physical cash. That might seem odd when you first hear about it: isn’t that what a bank account with a debit card is? Not quite: money issued by a commercial bank is qualitatively different to money issued by a central bank, and there are things you can do with cash that no electronic system presently enables. This means that if cash declines to irrelevance, there’s a hole to be filled.

So, with digital currency pilots ramping up across the board, here we discuss three key design considerations that central banks and government bodies are using to frame their thinking when moving ahead with CBDC production.

How is the CBDC distributed?

There are three potential ways in which a CBDC might be accessed by consumers:

1. Direct model – this model is designed for disintermediation where central banks issue directly to end customers. This model can disrupt the current financial system and will put additional burden on the central banks in terms of managing customer on-boarding, know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks, which may prove costly to the central banks. But it would be the most obviously ‘cash-like’ product.

2. Intermediated model – this model is like our current system from a market structure perspective. In this, banks would distribute CBDC to their customers and execute the functions of customer on-boarding and transaction monitoring, including AML compliance. The commercial bank would manage the records of their customers’ holdings, holding an identical amount in aggregate form at the central bank. The main drawback of this model is the risk to end customers. If the bank fails, it would likely take some time to give customers access to their money again. Their funds would be safe – the CBDC is always a claim on the central bank, but the only way to access it would be via an intermediary.

3. Hybrid model – this model enhances the intermediated model by having banks hold each customer’s CBDC balances in separate accounts at the central bank, thus making it easier to give consumers access to their money again if their bank fails.

In what form is the CBDC held?

A second question is around what form the CBDC is held in. There are two alternative models that are being explored: ‘accounts’ and ‘tokens’.

This is a topic that I sometimes feel is commonly misunderstood as a result of the technology being kept too far away from the business discussion. In principle, the question is simple: should the system rely on ‘accounts’, which have ‘balances’? Or, should we seek to emulate physical cash, where a consumer’s holdings are determined by the summation of the various physical coins – also known as ‘tokens’ – they hold in their wallet? In this scenario, we’re encouraged to imagine a digital ‘wallet’, that contains digital ‘tokens’ that can be transacted person-to-person and without the need for a central database of balances.

The problem, at least to me, is that these two approaches are often set up as being in opposition, as if one approach can solve only one set of problems, and the other being limited in some other way.

However, what I often discover is that the question really being asked, if only by implication, is: to what extent should individuals be able to pay each other without the transaction having to be approved, or recorded, centrally? In other words, the debate around ‘accounts’ versus ‘tokens’ is actually a disguised debate about privacy and how ‘cash-like’ a CBDC should be.

What should be the ‘relationship ownership’ role of commercial banks?

In part one above, we saw that, in two of the three models being contemplated, commercial banks (or, more broadly, ‘payment initiation providers’) have a central role: they identify their customers, issue them with ‘wallets’, and intermediate on their behalf with the central bank.

However, an open question is: how much power do we want these intermediaries to have? For example, should my bank be the sole party who can give me access to my funds? Or should I be able to access my funds via any bank that is able to verify my identity to the appropriate level? This seems like an arcane question, but it has fundamental implications for the roles, power, and business models, of the incumbents.

What does this all mean for the road ahead?

In the very immediate future, not much. CBDCs are not going to enter mainstream adoption tomorrow, or the week after, and we will not be suddenly paying for goods and services with digital currency in one big bang moment.

And, as I hope I’ve demonstrated, this is not only because this level of change is hard; it’s because some fundamental policy questions still must be resolved.

Money 20/20 USA: fintech’s annual Vegas pilgrimage is upon us

Hot off the heels of last week’s Sibos conference in Amsterdam, the fintech industry’s attention swiftly shifts to the other side of the pond this week for Money 20/20 USA. Against the backdrop of a particularly challenging and eventful year in finance, what are we likely to see dominating the agenda at this year’s show?

Money 20/20 – why is it important?

While Sibos largely represents the old world infrastructure and the goliaths of payments, Money 20/20 has become the fulcrum for innovation and new fintech.

Billed as the annual event where the industry’s leading financial services innovators “come together to connect and create the future of money,” Money 20/20 USA also somewhat ironically takes place each year in Las Vegas, a town perhaps best known for helping people part with their money…

But for those that can tear themselves away from the slot machines, Money 20/20 always turns out to be one of the most important conferences on the fintech calendar. The agenda is jam-packed with top tier speakers and panelists (see: Serena Williams, Amrapali Gan, Takis Georgakopoulos and Bill Harris to name just a few), and most companies worth their salt use the conference as a platform to make major product or business announcements every year.

What are we likely to see at this year’s show?

This year has seen a sea change in the investment climate for fintech. Investors are looking at B2B fintech subsectors where revenue is a safer guarantee as consumers struggle with the soaring cost of living, and this is reflected in the Money 20/20 agenda. Expect to see topics like regtech, data infrastructure, financial rails and risk analytics get a lot of airtime across the full four days.

In particular, throughout 2022 there has been a continued move towards efficiency services and ones which offer regulatory compliance. ‘Safety’ tech seen as “mission critical” is typically more resilient in a downturn than other emerging technologies that can often be seen as a ‘nice-to-have’, particularly by some of the more conservative financial institutions. Many of the innovative start-ups at the show will no doubt have this in the back of their minds given the attendance by banks and other TradFi players who could be potential customers.

While in other years the agenda has sometimes been dominated by certain themes (blockchain was arguably THE central theme for a number of years), the challenge in a constrained funding environment is differentiation – and this is reflected in the variety on display in this year’s line-up. The fintech market is oversupplied with vendors and now, more than ever, you really have to set yourself apart from competitors’ offerings to make your mark in the industry.

An increasing number of fintechs have started to run out of runway this year – and to use a suitably apt gambling reference – when the chips are down, expect to see the ones with a clear, unique business model to win the sought after investor dollars, while others fall by the wayside. Given the coverage it receives in the global financial media, Money 20/20 is as good a platform as any to make your business case.

 

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Four ways fintech is driving a greener economy

Just over a year after the UN dubbed climate change a “code red” emergency for humanity, the effects of global warming are being felt acutely across the globe.

Temperatures in the UK recently surpassed 40 Degrees Celsius for the first time in history, whilst a staggering 188 all-time heat records have been broken around the world since the start of the year. Scenes of droughts, wildfires and destroyed buildings have provided a sobering reality to climate warnings, heightening the impetus for finding more environmentally friendly ways of living and doing business.

As an industry with a significant carbon footprint, the financial sector is under increasing pressure to move the needle on the green transition. According to EY, financial services companies send on average 5.2 billion paper documents to their customers every year – the equivalent to 2.4 million trees. The retail banking sector is by far the largest contributor, sending an estimated 4.2 billion documents.

The indirect impact that financial institutions have on the environment is also considerable. According to the 2019 Fossil Fuel Finance report, 33 global banks financed fossil fuels with $1.9 trillion in the three years following the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, with $600 billion of this going to companies aggressively expanding fossil fuel usage. Against a backdrop of rapid climate change and the rising importance of ESG criteria, how is fintech enabling the industry to become greener?

  1. Digitisation and paper reduction – the digitisation of customer services is eliminating the need for paper entirely. Online banking usage in Britain has rocketed over the past decade, increasing from 52% in 2012 to 95% in 2022. Beyond the immediate environmental benefits that cutting paper production brings, digitisation also removes the need for couriers and document transportation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Sustainability planning – technology is also helping organisations eliminate needless energy consumption that could otherwise be avoided. Take supply chains, for example, where a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions come from freight transportation. Artificial Intelligence and data analytics can help reduce these impacts by enabling companies to calibrate production according to fluctuations in variables such as the weather or unexpected rises and falls in demand. This enables logistics teams to optimise transportation more efficiently and avoid unnecessary fuel usage that would increase carbon emissions.
  3. Impact measurement – as well as planning ahead, fintech applications such as distributed ledger technology (DLT) enable companies to measure their environmental impact in real time. Initiatives such as G17Eco, for example, leverages blockchain to provide organisations and stakeholders with real time data around energy usage and carbon emissions. This helps companies map and manage their sustainability efforts more closely and accurately.
  4. Climate fintech – According to Deloitte, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle over the past twelve months, and a growing number of fintechs aimed at facilitating climate action are playing a role in this transition. LA-based green banking start-up Aspiration, for example, pledges to plant a tree every time a customer swipes their credit card. There are also a variety of mobile applications, such as the sustainable investing app Clim8, which enable users to invest into climate-related causes such as clean energy and sustainable food.

The transition to greater sustainability is undoubtedly a gradual process, but many parts of the financial sector are making this transition in the dark, using infrastructure that was not designed with the environment in mind.

Fintech is uniquely poised to accelerate the journey to a greener economy, providing financial institutions and consumers with the knowledge and tools they need to adopt more sustainable practices. Carbon emissions won’t be eradicated in one big bang moment. However, the adoption of new technology could go a long way in ensuring that the financial services industry is able to meet the demands of today – and tomorrow’s – environmental challenges.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

London Fintech Week opens with fresh funding review

Backed by the London Stock Exchange, industry group Fintech Week London (FTWL) has announced a new review of the fintech funding landscape. Here we discuss what this means for the sector moving forwards and how fintech is adapting to inflationary pressures.

As leaders in the UK’s fintech industry gather in the capital for London Fintech Week, we are reminded of the city’s important role in the global fintech industry.

London is one of the top three global fintech hubs and has been a central driving force behind the UK’s emergence as a fintech leader, with roughly two-thirds of all fintech companies in the UK headquartered here. It has also helped establish a ‘halo’ of fintech activity around Greater London in cities such as Milton Keynes, Oxford, Brighton and Southampton, with a number of these areas developing specialisms in banking, payments and WealthTech.

Inflation tightens its grip

London Fintech Week arrives at a difficult moment for fintech companies. Investment into fintech hit record levels in 2021, but like most other industries, fintech is not immune to the grip of inflation. Against the backdrop of increasingly volatile markets, financial institutions have become more risk averse, meanings funds are more difficult to access.

Over the past few weeks, big names such as Klarna and SumUp amongst others have seen valuations drop amidst a sharp decline in venture capital investment into the sector. This is having a very real impact on real people, with an estimated 3,700 job cuts across the fintech industry in the second quarter of 2022 alone.

In reaction to this, FTWL has announced a new review into fintech funding which will bring together regulators, investors and finance firms to address declining investment and a plunge in valuations across the UK fintech landscape. Rafe de Kimpe, CEO of FTWL, said: “We’re going to look at what has happened to funding, how can we learn from this and how we can work together to make sure that industry gets better than before.”

Looking to the long run

There are signs of uncertainty ahead for fintech and this, aside from the war for talent, could be one of the industry’s biggest challenges to date.

The full maturation of any industry is a gradual process that comes with inevitable ups and downs – and fintech is no different.

The union between finance and technology is redefining the financial sector from top to bottom and despite the drying up of investment, fintechs continue to move forward, disrupting incumbents and driving adoption.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), for example, revealed in June 2022 that the number of open banking users hit a record of 6 million, just four months after reaching the 5 million milestone. Similarly, recent data from PYMNTS.com found that nine out of ten financial institutions are in the midst of, or planning to, roll out embedded finance solutions.

And although there has been an increase in the number of fintech companies laying off staff, this trend is likely to reverse in the long-term. According to Statista, the number of employees in the UK’s fintech industry is estimated to increase by 15% between now and the end of the decade.

As London Fintech Week draws to a close, it’s clear the industry is making a real difference to the lives of real people. In the face of mounting obstacles, fintechs need to remain resilient and continue to lead the way in financial innovation.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Two years in the making: NI’s first Fintech Symposium

After securing the opportunity to host it two years ago, on Wednesday 23rd March NI’s fintech community came together for the first ever NI Fintech Symposium in Belfast.

Hosted by Fintech NI, the symposium followed the launch of the NI FinTech Sector Strategy which revealed that fintech now contributes £392 million to the economy and has the potential to create thousands more jobs over the next few years.

This optimism was reflected in the room by the audience and speakers which included representatives from large organisations including Deloitte and A&L Goodbody, accelerators and investors such as Catalyst and Techstart Ventures and from other regional FinTech clusters including FinTech Scotland, FinTech North and SuperTech West Midlands.

One of the major talking points among the regional fintech cluster speakers was the Kalifa Review, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. Broadly, the views were that it has helped raise the profile of regional Fintech hubs globally and fintech investment is starting to spread around the UK. There is clearly work still to do, but most agreed it was a positive step in the right direction.

Andrew Jenkins, the Fintech Envoy for NI, discussed the opportunity and challenges for local fintechs. In his view, more needs to be done to connect startups with FDIs and incumbents, and funding networks need strengthened. He called for SMEs to collaborate, work with academia and engage with other fintech clusters to share knowledge and experience.

Karen Bradbury, Financial Services Sector Lead at Invest NI, spoke about why NI is an attractive place to set up a fintech. Nearly half the population is aged between 16-44 and while it has a smaller population than other regions, this can be to its advantage as it can be more agile. There is a deep talent pool too, with financial services employing 40,000 people, 7,000 of which are currently working in fintech.

On the investment side, Ryan McAnlis, Investment Director at Techstart Ventures, shared tips on how founders can navigate investment in fintech. He said there were no hard and fast rules when it comes to fundraising but emphasised the importance of testing any assumptions about customer base, the problem you’re trying to solve, your solution, how much money you need, and pivoting accordingly.

McAnlis was followed by Steve Orr, Chief Executive at Catalyst, who laid out why NI can be one of the top three hubs in the world for RegTech and how it could become a global Centre for Secure Intelligent Regulatory Technologies – GSIRT. With £160m, GSIRT could create up to 16,500 jobs and £931m in GVA in the next decade – definitely worth watching this space.

The closing panel on NI’s fintech opportunity featured Roisin Finnegan, Head of Ventures at Deloitte, Carol Rossborough, Co-Founder of ESTHER, Chris Jessup, Finance Partner at A&L Goodbody, Daniel Broby, Professor in Fintech at Ulster University and Bo Brustkern, Co-Founder and CEO of Fintech Nexus.

The panel covered a lot of different issues including how we grow and nurture talent, how improvements in remote working opened doors to new markets for entrepreneurs and how NI can overcome challenges to continue growing the local fintech sector.

From conversations we had at today’s event with firms such as AuditComply and Datactics, and from listening to insights from the speakers, it’s clear there is a lot of energy and support behind NI’s fintech sector. We now need to turn this energy into action in order to cement NI’s place as an attractive place to set up and run a fintech business.


Chatsworth Communications recently opened a Belfast office to tap into the city’s thriving fintech scene and deep pool of talent. Find out more here.

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech.

We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? 

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story. 

The Kalifa Review: A year on, how far have we come?

A lot can happen in a year, and 2021 was no exception.

Back in 2020, the Chancellor asked Ron Kalifa OBE to conduct an independent review to identify priority areas to support the UK’s fintech sector. Kalifa’s review contained four main recommendations that, if achieved, aimed to ‘support the growth and widespread adoption of UK fintech, and maintain the UK’s global fintech reputation.’.

  • Amendments to UK listing rules to make the UK a more attractive location for Initial Public Offerings.
  • Improvements to tech visas to attract global talent and boost the fintech workforce.
  • The creation of a regulatory Fintech ‘scalebox’ to provide additional support to growth stage fintechs.
  • And, a Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFID), to strengthen national coordination across the fintech ecosystem to boost growth.

Now, one year on from those recommendations, let’s see how far we’ve come, and what work still needs to be done.

A surge in investment 

In 2021, investment in UK fintechs reached record highs of $37.3 bn, up sevenfold from the year before. Specifically for IPOs, the latest figures from Bank of England show Tech IPOs in the UK raised £6.6 billion, doubling 2020’s figures.

A total of 37 tech and consumer internet companies went public last year, including fintech, Wise, delivery company Deliveroo and online marketplace, Auction Technology Group. London also proved its international competitiveness by attracting companies from Europe (TrustPilot), Canada (AlphawaveIP) and the US (Devolver Digital).

So, clearly, the aim of turning the UK into an attractive place both to launch a company, and to work for one, seems to have been a resounding success.

The FCA has also managed to set up a scalebox to support fintechs as they grow and, with the City of London, has supported the development of Net Zero fintech solutions through its digital sandbox. Fintech has also been recognised in new trade agreements with Australia and Singapore.

Industry viewpoint

Despite all the successes, as always, there’s still much to be done. An open letter from Innovate Finance members states that ‘rather than resting on our laurels, it is imperative that we continue to build on this momentum and work together to establish an environment in the UK that is even more supportive of and conducive to innovation in financial services.’

Laurent Descout, Founder and CEO at Neo, said:

“A year ago, the question was – can London stay ahead in fintech despite Brexit? The Kalifa review sought to maintain the UK’s fintech edge but it looked possible Brexit could have a reverse effect. Thankfully, a year later, the UK has cemented its place as a fintech hub and is working to navigate the Brexit challenges.   

“Nowhere is this more evident than in payments. Businesses paying low bank fees for Euro transfers into London found costs soar almost overnight as banks switched to charging international cross-border tariffs. Fintechs stepped in, offering multicurrency accounts, virtual wallets and, most importantly, a viable alternative to the traditional bank-driven model.” 

Christoph Gugelmann, Co-Founder and CEO of Tradeteq, said:

“A year on from the Kalifa review and we’re seeing fintech’s potential to reshape global trade – whether that’s parcelling trade finance instruments into investible assets, managing supply chains or automating workflows. These approaches have arisen through banks, fintechs, investors and other players working together – and it is this formula of continual dialogue that will continue to revolutionise this industry.”

Eric Huttman, CEO of MilltechFX, said:

“Fintech is no longer a subsidiary of financial services, but rather an omnipresent and essential component of the way we trade and do business. 

 “We must focus our efforts on using fintech to help develop the real economy. That starts with the treasurers and asset managers who can face huge operational inefficiencies with their FX setups which directly affect their bottom line.”

Martin Wilson, CEO of Digital Identity Net, said:  

“Fintech is strategically important for the UK, but while the billions are flowing into fintechs in London, we also need to see the government, businesses and banks adopt and implement these new technologies to improve the way we do business as a country.

“The UK itself needs to digitise further. We are ahead in areas such as trading technology and payment processing but way behind on digital identity. Other countries are leading the way. Belgium, Norway and Sweden all have digital identity systems connected to their banks to protect consumers data and dramatically reduce fraud, which is a major and growing problem in the UK currently. The Bank-ID service in Sweden is accessed by its adult citizens on average twice a day and the Norwegian service has reportedly reduced payment fraud from 1% of daily value to a staggeringly low 0.00054%.

“The government and banks should consider how we can implement digital identity innovation in order to continue to deliver digital services which positively impact its citizens’ lives.”


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructuresLooking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Chatsworth opens Belfast office

We’re pleased to announce that Chatsworth Communications is set to open a new office in Belfast.

Payments industry fights back against the cyber threat

The uncertainty and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has presented cyber criminals with a wealth of opportunities to attack.

Since March 2020, cyber crime has rocketed with 74% of banks experiencing a rise in cyber attacks and three out of four financial institutions worrying about the historic rise in criminal activity and what will happen going forward.

Payments 20 (P20), the leading voice of the global payments industry, with the support of Chatsworth Communications, has taken a proactive, educational approach by developing reports and frameworks to enable financial institutions of all sizes across the world defend themselves against this growing global threat.

It has collaborated with organisations including American Express, Elavon, Hogan Lovells, J.P. Morgan Chase, the UK National Cyber Security Centre and New York State Department of Financial Services, to create a new report entitled ‘20 Best Practice Recommendations for Improved Cyber Security Protection’. Aimed at non-cyber professionals, the report emphasizes the urgency of implementing more efficient and comprehensive cyber security frameworks.  P20 also produced a report on the ‘Best Practice Approaches for Combating Payee Scams’, calling on the industry to work together to combat payee scams.

Chatsworth worked closely with P20 to build awareness of the cyber recommendations within the reports and to promote P20’s Global Payments Conference. Our strategy was to build awareness through media coverage in relevant finance and payments trade, and engage directly with our audience via eye-catching posts on both sponsored and organic posts on LinkedIn

We secured coverage in top trades such as The BankerTreasury Management International and The Fintech Times, while generating over 1000 engagements and a significant increase in followers on LinkedIn.

Ultimately, the Global Payments Conference was a roaring success so kudos to the excellent P20 leadership who delivered a phenomenal event.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructuresLooking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Three predictions for the year ahead in digital finance

Richard Gendal Brown, CTO of R3, shares his predictions for the future of digital finance, as published in Forbes magazine. 

Trust takes centre-stage, DeFi meets CeFi, and CBDC proponents put up or shut up.

It’s fair to say the permissionless crypto world seemed to do all the running in the blockchain space in 2021. But that doesn’t mean those of us working to bring advanced cryptographic techniques to the world of business were resting. Indeed, and despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, 2021 was a year of significant progress for the digitisation of capital markets. 2022 will be another unprecedented year in financial technology – and the following three trends look set to continue reshaping the landscape for market participants, governments, regulators, and infrastructure providers over the next 12 months.

  1. The quest for trust will dominate the digital realm

We never think about it in our day to day lives but the ability to develop trust in each other in the real world is what has, uniquely, unleashed humanity’s potential. Trust is the cornerstone of human civilisation.

And as more of our personal and professional lives move into the digital realm, the sheer lack of trust in the digital realm is a trillion-dollar problem the industry must tackle in 2022.

Trust allows us to do things that would be almost impossible if we had to verify everything for ourselves. Can you imagine, for example, aviation if you couldn’t trust the airline’s safety engineers? And how often have you relied on a trusted brand when searching for a meal in an unfamiliar location? Imagine if you had to check the ingredients yourself before tucking in! Put simply: if we can trust, we don’t have to verify.

How would commercial enterprises ever have extended beyond immediate family if we had no mechanisms to develop trust in strangers? Ultimately, trust is the fundamental enabler of trade. And trade is what creates wealth. This is why I say trust is the basis of civilisation. In short, the fact humans can develop trust in each other explains the dazzling opportunities, wealth and living standards so many of us can enjoy. But consider how little trust exists in the digital realm.

In the early days of the web, you had no way of knowing if your browser really was talking to the company you thought it was. So, eCommerce and online banking struggled to take off. But the advent of the browser padlock – literally creating trust that you are connected to who you think you are – unleashed trillions of dollars of opportunity. Until recently, firms doing business with each other had no way of knowing if they had the same records. And so they wasted staggering amounts of money reconciling with each other. Blockchains are solving this problem by literally creating trust that “I know what I see is what you see.”

But there is so much further to go – and this is where the tech industry must focus its attention in 2022 and beyond. For example, when you send information to a third party, you have no technological way to know what they will do with your information. So you have to spend a fortune on ‘data scrubbing’ or audits… or, more likely, you don’t share sensitive data at all. It’s mind-blowing to imagine how many opportunities to create new value or serve customers better are squandered because we can’t trust how our information will be processed when it’s in somebody else’s hands.

One day we will look back in awe at how much we managed to achieve in the digital realm when the levels of digital trust were so low. But things are changing: trust technology is now here. The convergence of blockchains, confidential computing, and applied cryptography is happening, and firms are applying this to massively increase the levels of trust that exist within and between firms of all sizes operating in the digital realm.

The delivery of trust to all realms of our digital lives will drive the next wave of human advancement – and it begins today.

  1. The lines between DeFi and CeFi will continue to blur

Interest in decentralised finance, or ‘DeFi’, is booming in the technology world, and last year that interest peaked. The term has invited enthusiasm, skepticism and curiosity, in equal measure. But I have little doubt that the technology could be host to a number of exciting applications (assuming the grown-ups in that space can out-run the grifters). At its core, DeFi rests upon the central principle of disintermediation, and this could have many benefits – namely, democratisation of finance.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The idea that DeFi is ready to replace the existing, centralised or traditional financial system, or ‘CeFi’, is wildly overstated, especially at a time when governments are increasingly favourable to regulated financial markets and institutions.

However, and at the same time, we’re already seeing incumbent financial firms and market infrastructures adopting some of the insights and breakthroughs from the decentralised world – for example DTCC’s Ion work and the Swiss Digital Exchange, SDX – so we can imagine these two trends coming together and reinforcing each other in 2022: DeFi will mature and co-exist with the financial services ecosystem we have come to know and trust as it, in turn, evolves.

  1. CBDCs will move even closer to real-world deployment

2022 will be the year that CBDCs gain clear, policy-led direction and guidance. We’ll find out if any central bank is bold enough to launch a true digital equivalent to cash. CBDCs at both the wholesale and retail level are now being explored by countries all over the world, to different extents. Riksbank has been working on its ‘e-krona’ in Sweden for some time now, for example.

One of CBDCs’ usages that have received less attention until very recently is their use in cross-border settlements. In December, Project Jura successfully settled a “real-life” transfer of securities and cash between France and Switzerland with a wholesale CBDC.

2022 will be a year of real maturation for CBDCs. They are now understood by jurisdictions and this year, policymakers will get off the fence and tell us: will we as citizens be allowed to make digital payments with the same freedom we can make them in the real world? Yes or no? We’ll get an answer in 2022 and that will unlock everything – as we will then know what we need to go and build.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story. 

Venture capital investment ignites UK-wide tech boom

Despite the troubles of the pandemic, the UK tech sector achieved its best year on record with success reaching far beyond London alone.

In 2021, a mixture of venture capital funding, attractive salaries and the creation of unicorns and futurecorns has led to a boom in technology development across the UK.

Tech investment grew 2.3x, the largest increase in growth since 2013/14, and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. This enormous increase in investment allowed for the creation of 29 unicorns this year, including the e-commerce platform Depop, car selling platform Motorway, insurance disrupter Marshmallow, and the challenger bank Starling Bank.

In a turn for traditional expectations, this boom also highlighted a marked shift away from the London centric financial industry, with 35% of unicorns based outside of London and 35% of futurecorns also based outside of the capital.

With a 50% increase in advertised tech jobs, and investment levels soaring, it’s clear companies are preparing for the future and looking to nurture talent to help them expand. Fintech sits firmly at the heart of the UK’s technology sector and such an explosion of investment and innovation is a positive indicator of companies’ potential for growth.

Read the full report here


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story. 

Fintech putting Belfast on the world stage

A new breed of fintech businesses has taken the local and international business scene by storm

It has been a major centre in world finance for centuries and a thriving technology hub so it’s no surprise that London is home to a number of world-class fintechs that have become household names globally.

London will always play a central role in the global fintech revolution, but in recent times we have seen investment in creating technology hubs in other cities around the UK and this is translating into the creation of thriving, engaged communities and exciting companies.

Belfast, which is increasingly being seen as a city bursting with entrepreneurship and innovation, has been one of the main beneficiaries of this trend. Over the past couple of years, a new breed of fintech businesses has taken the local and international business scene by storm, putting the city on the map.

A growing reputation as a fintech hub

Until recently, I rarely saw anything about fintechs from Northern Ireland in the news outside of local papers. Much of the fintech hype has focused on huge investments, mergers and acquisitions for fintechs in London, New York and Asia and the odd one in Dublin, but seldom Belfast.

But Laura Noonan, while acting Ireland editor at the FT, bucked this trend with an article entitled ‘Belfast’s booming financial services rise above political unrest.’ It highlighted the investment that is pouring into the city – Citi plans to hire 400 people, bringing its headcount to 3,600+ and FinTru a RegTech firm based in Belfast, aims to double its headcount to 1,600. Citi and FinTrU’s plans follow recent announcements by Big Four accounting firms PwC, Deloitte and KPMG, who together will create 2,200 jobs in Belfast.

And it’s no wonder – with rents as low as a quarter of London’s west end and half of Dublin’s office space, and salary expectations much lower due to low living costs, firms can save thousands every month and still only be an hour flight from clients in London or just over 90 minutes from those in Dublin.

As a region, NI also has a deep pool of talent. Not only do we consistently outperform all other regions in the UK in academic qualifications at GCSE  and A-Level, we also have 4,000 people that graduate with business qualifications every year and boast the highest percentage of qualified IT professionals in the UK.

Through Invest NI, we also offer generous support schemes: PwC received £9.8m from the agency to support 108 of the almost 800 jobs it will create by 2026. It has also supported numerous local fintechs which are leading the way in Belfast. These include Datactics, specialists in user-friendly data quality and matching software which now has a 50+ strong team, fscom, a firm of compliance experts which currently works with over 18% of the UK payments sector and RegTick, which helps simplify compliance with regulation through an intuitive platform.

Furthermore, a potential benefit of Brexit, the arrangements set out in the Northern Ireland protocol could ultimately create “the best of both worlds” by making Belfast a unique jurisdiction with a toe in both the UK and the EU, as said by Michael Hall, managing partner at EY’s 600-strong Northern Ireland business.

There are a number of trade bodies and influencers who have been driving the sector forward.

Industry body, FintechNI, chaired by local fintech evangelist, Alex Lee, released a report which found NI to have the highest concentration of fintech employment in the UK.  There are an estimated 7,000 fintech related roles here and one in five people working across the financial and tech sectors in Northern Ireland work in fintech.

Furthermore, the Fintech Envoy for Northern Ireland, Andrew Jenkins, has regularly written in the media about fintech’s potential, imploring both the private and public sectors to grab the lucrative opportunity it presents with both hands.

Capitalise on this momentum with impactful communications

Having moved back to Belfast from London earlier this year, it feels there is real momentum growing behind the fintech scene here. It’s clear that we have a really strong story, different from that of other fintech hubs, that is starting to resonate with international media.

By creating compelling narratives and using the right channels to get them in front of the right audience, we can create huge opportunities for the city and its fintechs which can together attract customers, investment and talent into Belfast.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

 

 

Treading the fine line between green and greenwashing

Greenwashing 2

It’s no longer enough to be solely profit-driven, firms have to be a force for environmental good or face the financial fall out.

The climate emergency has pushed environmental, social and governance (ESG) to top of mind for firms, investors and customers.

Investors want to back responsible businesses and there’s a reckoning coming for firms which fail to shape up.

A PwC report found that 83% of consumers think companies should be actively shaping ESG best practices and 86% of employees prefer to support or work for companies that care about the same issues they do.

On the institutional side, a survey of more than 1,000 investment professionals revealed that 77% of institutional investors plan to stop buying non-ESG products by 2022.

Profit and being a force for good aren’t mutually exclusive. The problem is that where there is money to be made, there are those with more sinister intentions.

Some see it as an opportunity to cash in and ‘greenwash’ – branding something as eco-friendly, green or sustainable when this is not the case.

Greenwashing has brought increasing scrutiny on ESG efforts, making it more difficult for those with strong green credentials to communicate them.

They risk being tarred with the same brush and accused of greenwashing, which can lead to negative backlash, reduced trust in their brand and, in extreme cases, regulatory action.

So how can firms tread the fine line between green and greenwashing?

How to spot greenwashing

Firstly, it’s important to be able to spot the signs of greenwashing so you can avoid common pitfalls.

  1. False claims or vague language – In 2019, the advertising regulator banned a Ryanair ad claiming it was the airline with Europe’s lowest emissions without sufficient evidence to support the claim. And a Hyundai advert, claiming a car “cleaned the air”, was also judged by the ASA to be misleading.
  2. Images of nature or ‘green’ buzzwords – The use of phrases such as “eco”, “sustainable” and “green” without substantiation is a common red flag.
  3. Hiding information – As far back as 2007, the ASA ruled against Shell for an ad implying it used waste carbon dioxide to grow plants. However, the regulator actually found the quantity used was only a small fraction of its emissions.
  4. Questionable carbon offsetting – There are attempts to balance emissions by finding other ways to remove an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Environmental groups argue this is kicking the problem into the long grass rather than dealing with the real issue of actually cutting emissions.
  5. Company ownership – Often large firms with a big carbon footprint will buy smaller ones to target environmentally conscious customers who otherwise might not have chosen to spend with them.
  6. Eco-friendly products in a wider range – Some firms will market beneficial products but omit information on other less green products.
  7. Is the product and its packaging recyclable? – In 2018, McDonald’s announced it was going to get rid of single-use plastic straws in its restaurants and offer paper straws instead. But the following year, it was accused of greenwashing when it was revealed the straws weren’t actually recyclable.

PR’s role in fighting, not propagating greenwashing

The public relations profession, which has been part of the greenwashing problem, now has a responsibility to help drive the solution.

The Competition Markets Authority has unveiled a new Green Claims Code which requires all environmental claims to be truthful, unambiguous and transparent. It also compels organisations to include all relevant information relating to a claim. The move follows CMA research earlier this year that found 40% of green claims made online could be misleading.

This code was backed by PRCA’s Climate Misinformation Strategy Group, with its chair John Brown stating in PR Week: “It’s about time every organisation in the UK moves away from dubious intent and towards positive action and proof. By embracing transparency and ensuring claims are backed by credible verification, brands can work fearlessly to help address one of the biggest challenges facing our world.”

How to communicate green credentials without greenwashing

Increasingly, green claims are coming under intense scrutiny, making it difficult for those which are actually making a positive impact to communicate it without facing a myriad of questions and accusations of greenwashing. Before communicating your ESG credentials, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are my claims accurate? Can I back up my green credentials with evidence or independent assurance?

Where there is increased cynicism, evidence is the way forward. Back up your claims and make sure you’re not overegging them. Being officially carbon neutral or signing up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), gives you the independent assurance that you need to prove that your efforts are genuine. Making your logo green does not as McDonald’s found out in 2009.

  • Are my green credentials strong enough to communicate? Do my actions go far enough?

Many companies have a paperless office and offer cycle to work schemes so marketing these types of initiatives as your unique way of saving the world might not be the best idea. That’s not to say they aren’t important but if communicating about them, it’s wise to avoid making big claims and stick to the facts. Similarly, if you’re boasting about these initiatives but have executives constantly flying around the globe for short stints, you’re likely to get called out.

  • Is the whole company involved in the ESG initiative or just a division?

You need to make clear in your communications whether the initiative is in one office or company wide. Exaggerating a one office initiative is a surefire way to get your efforts labelled as greenwashing.

Keeping your nose green

Actions speak louder than words and this is true when it comes to ESG. Don’t make outlandish claims, keep it simple, factual and authentic. These fundamental principles are the best ways to avoid being accused of greenwashing and having to contend with the subsequent wrath of the general public, customers and regulators.

Try to tell the truth about your green efforts and the challenges you face. The public and investors know it can be tough and it’s an ongoing process. Get it right and you’ll be rewarded and respected. And you’ll lock in loyalty, investment and, ultimately, profit.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures. Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value? Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

The Kalifa review: R3’s recommendations for the future of fintech

Charley Cooper R3

R3 was one of a roster of fintechs that contributed to the Kalifa review – a set of recommendations outlined for the UK’s fintech community to grow and flourish in the years ahead. R3’s Managing Director, Charley Cooper, shares the recommendations that R3 put to Ron Kalifa, which helped shape the outcome of the review.

Policy and Regulation

We believe that the UK provides an innovation-friendly regulatory environment. As an illustration of this, the FCA’s Regulatory Sandbox has provided a helpful tool in supporting early-stage businesses, both as a piece of regulatory engagement and as a marker of development when attracting external investment. We recommend the establishment of similar constructs across various industries where regulatory concerns often give pause to potential innovators who worry their work will run afoul of current legal frameworks.

When we consider the development of a market around digital assets, the UK has not been as quick as other jurisdictions to encourage the market or conduct projects utilizing new solutions such as distributed ledger technology. Therefore, whilst government stakeholders have taken a sensible stance in allowing development free from overburdensome regulation, the UK has still lagged behind several European nations, most notably Germany and Switzerland, in the application of these technologies. The commitment by the Bank of England that their renewal of the UK’s real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system will include API-enabled DLT interoperability is a welcome step. However, we believe that when the government leads from the front and deploys new technologies for its own use, the private sector will take encouragement from that and view the UK as a more friendly market in which to launch and grow businesses.

The government and the central bank also lag behind the most advanced nations with specific regard to stablecoins and central bank digital currency (CBDC). Many of the most advanced work done on this topic has been done using R3’s Corda, a technology that is being developed and supported by engineers and scientists based in London. However, despite the easy reach of the technology and expertise to the UK, greater advances are being made by the central banks of Sweden (through the Riksbank e-krona project), France (Banque de France’s wholesale domestic and cross-border work), Hong Kong and Thailand (Project Inthanon-Lionrock), Canada (Project Jasper) and several more. Given the pounds’ role as a reserve currency and the UK’s strategic interest in staying ahead of the curve, this is reason for concern and an example of the UK not making use of the talent it has at its disposal.

It is not yet clear how the UK plans to adapt post-Brexit to address the gap left in the total addressable market now that reaching the European market will require overcoming additional administrative hurdles to access. Many of our partners have raised concerns that they will be forced to leave the UK in order to take advantage of growth potential in the European market. This will prove a hinderance in incentivizing companies to choose London when selecting the best jurisdiction for their public listing.

Skills and Talent

One of the key reasons why the UK has been so competitive internationally has been London’s ability to attract global talent. A significant percentage of our London-based staff were born outside of the UK but have made London their home. To ensure this continues. an efficient, clear, and stable visa system is essential.

In the immediate term, we valued the government’s position and early communication that Brexit did not affect the status of EU citizens already in the UK, and this has undoubtedly assisted us in retaining staff and satisfying short-term recruitment needs. In the medium to long term, the UK government’s strategic positioning and promotion of itself across the world will be a factor in attracting global talent to all our London office.

The developer community, in particular, can be highly mobile, meaning that the UK cannot afford to be complacent if it wishes to retain these highly skilled individuals. Indeed, this risk applies to both maintaining UK’s attractiveness to foreign-born individuals and avoiding a brain drain of British talent to the USA or Europe. Maintaining a vibrant and innovative FinTech sector will not be possible without this workforce.1

Investment

When we consider the growth path for companies in our partner ecosystem, we believe that the UK provides good opportunities for seed funding but observe that it can get crowded out by funding opportunities available in other jurisdictions at later stages, particularly Series A & B. Attracting foreign investment can be healthy for a company because it can be seen as diversification of funding and potentially a pathway to a new market. If the UK wishes to retain companies as they grow, we believe that it will need to ensure that a vibrant domestic capital market continues to develop.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Celebrating women in the world of fintech – By Marie Graham

Women in fintechWhile we have all faced a new set of challenges over the past twelve months, research tells us that women have felt the challenges of the last year most acutely. In recognition of International Women’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the women in business who have broken barriers during a year, which for several reasons, has been anything but ordinary.

This year has already seen a couple of ‘firsts’ when it comes to gender parity, at least at the leadership level. Jane Fraser became CEO of Citi, the first woman to hold the position at a top 10 US lender; Thasunda Brown Duckett will become CEO of TIAA, making her the second black woman to currently hold the chief executive role at a Fortune 500 firm.

Looking to our own client base here at Chatsworth, we have also seen females assume more leadership positions. Niv Subramanian was appointed Previse’s Chief Commercial Officer in early 2021, joining the ranks of women leading the way in fintech such as Catherine Minter, R3’s Chief Revenue Officer; Adeline Ee McNary, Head of Marketing at Contour; and Mosaic Smart Data’s Data Science and Research Lead, Dr. Diane Castelino.

We are seeing more women given the platform they deserve across the media, too. Dedicated journalists are making a conscious effort to commission and publish more articles written by senior females. Pursuing a gender-balanced narrative across the press is equally as important as the change taking place at the leadership level.

There are also more women running the publications which shape and report on global events. Just this week, Joy Macknight was appointed editor of The Banker. Joy joins Roula Khalaf, editor of the Financial Times; and Financial News editor, Shruti Tripathi, as leaders of prominent publications. Key fintech publications, FinextraThe Fintech Times and Ledger Insights are also run by women.

Closer to home, I am fortunate to be a member of Chatsworth’s 60% female workforce and I am confident our thriving team is due to the strong female presence we have at the senior level. Chatsworth’s Director, Liz Fleming, has built a culture where training and development are easily accessible for all team members and Senior Account Manager Catherine Day ensures junior colleagues are valued members of the teams they work with and that no question ever goes unanswered. I have found Chatsworth to be a place where women are both heard and championed, with dynamic and inspiring colleagues, mentors, and managers.

For many, the pandemic has worsened workplace equality, as women have picked up invisible tasks at home – 64% of mothers took responsibility for home-schooling compared to 49% of fathers during the first lockdown and women with children are more likely to have stopped working (UCL, 2020). Last year the UN published a report saying that 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against women. Clearly, the road to equality is far from over. To me, this makes International Women’s Day more important than ever.

A recent article by FT business columnist, Pilita Clark ‘Women aren’t all superstar leaders in a crisis. So what?’ really hit home. I completely agree with Clark: we must continue to pursue gender equality both in the workforce and in senior leadership until all women have “the freedom to make an utter hash of things every now and then, a right that men have cheerfully taken for granted for centuries.”

While the challenges faced by women in business across all industries still pose barriers, I am reassured by what I’ve seen over the last year. Albeit slowly, the number of women in leadership positions in the fintech sector is growing. For this, on International Women’s Day, I will celebrate.

Written by Marie Graham, Senior Account Executive at Chatsworth Communications.


For more information about our culture and job vacancies, check out our careers page

Fintech review sets out next steps for Britain’s fintech future

Ron Kalifa UK Fintech Review

Today’s publication of the UK Fintech review by former CEO of Worldpay, Ron Kalifa, has set out the key recommendations for the British government to stabilise and grow the UK’s position as a fintech hub.

The treasury-backed review chimes with Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ambition of making the UK one of the most dynamic and open places to start, operate and grow a fintech and financial services company.

At Chatsworth, we have been helping fintech brands build their reputation for over 15 years and have seen the market continue to flourish during that time. The Kalifa review marks the latest intent for the UK and London to continue its hold at the centre of the fintech world and grow into the leading location to do business in this sector.

The recommendations from the review include the development and adoption of common data standards to encourage institutions to modernise and adopt the end goal of open financing. Investment was also a central focus of the review, with the creation of a £1bn fintech growth fund to help homegrown firms scale and expand, as well as encouraging job creation; retaining and attracting foreign workers through visa routes and the retraining of homegrown talent.

Finally, Kalifa emphasised a stronger focus on national connectivity with the creation of multiple fintech hubs throughout the UK. The reach of this review will put the minds of many at ease by both emphasising investment, encouraging job creation and ensuring smooth visa processes. This will address much of the uncertainty that has befallen UK businesses, contending with both Brexit and the fallout from the pandemic.

Nick Murray-Leslie, CEO and Founder of Chatsworth, said: “Ron Kalifa’s UK Fintech Review hits the mark for fintechs up and down the UK. Even during the pandemic, the UK and London attracted more technology investment than anywhere else in Europe last year. Now is the time to consolidate and supercharge this industry. By applying the recommendations from this review, it has the potential to be the jewel in the UK’s crown for decades to come. Existing hubs in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester and beyond all stand to benefit, but so too will the banks, businesses, institutions and corporations looking to apply cutting-edge technology within their operations.”

Charley Cooper, Chief Communications Officer, R3: “Britain’s businesses have had to grapple with the double plight of Brexit and the pandemic and faced unprecedented turbulence because of this. The path to recovery will undoubtedly be led by new technologies that over the past year have proved not just complementary to business operations, but critical. The government clearly recognises the role Britain’s fintech community can play in this, and we are pleased to see the Kalifa review setting out tangible measures to help UK fintechs to start and scale.

“Attracting top talent remains a crucial enabler for the UK to retain its fintech crown. R3 recognised the importance of this even when Brexit uncertainty was at its peak two years ago, and doubled the size of its London office to accommodate a rapidly growing engineering team. We hope to see the Kalifa review act as a prompt for a closer look at the regulatory landscape which sets the ground for fertile fintech growth. If last year was the time to take stock and look at the role new technologies can play across finance, this year is the time to spring into action and put them in place”.

Laurent Descout, CEO and Founder of Neo commented: “Following Brexit, a lot has been speculated about London losing its place as the centre of the fintech world. As a fintech based in Barcelona but with also a presence in London and Cambridge, we don’t anticipate this being the case. The balance between innovative challenger companies and traditional financial institutions will continue to be the driving force behind London being a fintech hub of the world. The new visa route to the UK indicates that Britain is still looking to attract some of the best talent both within and outside its borders and ensures that it remains open for business. To date, there is nowhere in Europe that compares to the investment, competitiveness and innovation present in London, and this review signals an intent for that to remain.”

Paul Christensen, CEO and co-founder of Previse in response to Kalifa’s advocation for more open banking commented: “The data-sharing revolution can be applied to the painful and chronic problem of slow payments. B2B payments are crying out for the benefits open data can bring. By unlocking their ERP data in a secure way, large corporates can enable fintechs to make a smart calculation of payment probability, unlocking bank capital that can be used to pay suppliers, instantly. Bringing banks, corporates and fintechs together through the smart use of data, is an easy way to enable financial inclusion that can help Britain’s 6 million SMEs get back on their feet.”

Christoph Gugelmann, Founder and CEO of Tradeteq comments: “The recent review highlights a need for financial institutions and fintechs to find more effective ways of collaborating to remain a hub for the industry. Regardless of the impact of Brexit, the need for certain financial processes will remain a staple of the UK. UK export finance is one such example and would benefit greatly from fintech involvement. Banks have to increase their lending capacity through secondary trade finance distribution. Automation is therefore required to reduce the transactional friction costs, while AI-based credit scoring processes can create the required risk transparency. Corporates will gain better access to cheap liquidity while banks are able to work their balance sheets harder and as such boost their profitability. Fintechs further help institutional investors to diversify their portfolios in a time where it has become more challenging to identify yield in liquid markets. In short, breaking down the boundaries in sectors such as UK export finance is a key method for the nation to maintain its footing as a leader in financial services and fintech innovation.”


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Pragma wins ‘Best Front-Office’ at American Financial Technology Awards

Pragma was recently named ‘Best Front-Office Initiative’ provider at the AFTA’s – for the second year in a row.

MonetaGo and GUUD form alliance to strengthen trade finance across Asia

MonetaGo APAC 2

It has been a busy few months for Chatsworth client MonetaGo, the fintech pioneering an end to fraud in financial workflows using blockchain technology.

In the past six months, MonetaGo has been growing extensively through Asia Pacific, rolling out its Secure Financing solution to businesses across the region and empowering them to identify instances of trade fraud in real time.

Today, the firm announced an alliance with Singapore-based digital trade platform GUUD, an offshoot of VCargo Cloud. The move is the latest in a series of steps MonetaGo has taken to roll out its Secure Financing solution across Asia and will directly respond to the highly documented issue of fraud in trade finance across Singapore. The partnership has received the official support of Japanese incumbent bank SMBC. You can read more about the announcement here.

To support its aggressive growth across APAC, MonetaGo has hired trade finance veteran Tat Yeen Yap as Head of Product in the region. Tat Yeen brings over 30 years’ of experience in trade finance and has been credited with helping coin the industry definition of trade finance. Tat Yeen sits in MonetaGo’s Singapore office, which was established earlier this year to support growth in the region.

MonetaGo is one of the only companies of its kind to have supported live, production-level transactions using its solutions, which harness R3’s best-in-class Corda platform, along with its own proprietary technology. In September, the fintech announced it had surpassed 1 million live transactions on its Secure Financing platform across India, worth billions of dollars in underlying assets. This was complemented by five new Indian alternative finance lenders onboarding to the Secure Financing platform in the same month.

The events of the past year have exposed shortcomings in many APAC countries’ financial workflows. India’s SME community has suffered particularly acutely as their lines of credit from big banks have depleted. Singapore’s trade finance industry has seen accusations of fraud, resulting in the country’s financial regulator calling for an end to paper-based trade transactions. At the same time, many countries across Asia are seen as trailblazers in their adoption of disruptive technologies and quest for digital transformation. MonetaGo aims to empower businesses in the region to meet this mission and overcome the barriers that stand in their way. By pioneering an end to the paper-based processes which birth many of these barriers, MonetaGo is empowering businesses across the globe to do business, better.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

TraditionDATA services now available on AWS Data Exchange

Our client, TraditionDATA announced the availability of various Interest Rate Swap and FX data products on AWS Data Exchange, a service from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that makes it easy for customers to find, subscribe to, and use third-party data in the cloud. 

TraditionDATA AWS Data Exchange

Tradition was a Launch Partner for AWS Data Exchange when it was first announced in November 2019. Initially focusing on Tradition’s Asia Pacific IRS and FX data, Tradition has expanded their use of AWS to offer more global high-quality data with a focus on the introduction of new benchmarks to replace LIBOR. Tradition’s Global Alternate Risk Free Rate (RFR) package incorporating SONIA, ESTR, SOFR and AMERIBOR data is now available directly on the cloud via AWS Data Exchange.

“By distributing our data through a cloud-native managed service, subscribers of all types from all corners of the globe can quickly discover and leverage the most relevant financial market data to power their applications and inform decisions,” said Scott Fitzpatrick, Head of TraditionDATA. “As our customers work through market changes, such as the transition away from LIBOR, they need access to the most relevant and timely data that is easy to consume and use. AWS Data Exchange was a natural channel for our data business and we look forward to building on this relationship in the coming years.”

Tradition provides access to a wide range of over-the-counter prices in many of the world’s fastest-moving markets. Given the current global economic climate and regulatory direction, Tradition’s Global Interest Rate data is particularly powerful and timely, as it helps financial institutions in their assessment of impact and plans as they transition away from Libor to new Reference Rates in 2021.

AWS customers can access Tradition content directly with AWS Data Exchange. 


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

Contour partners with CargoX to transform bills of lading

CargoX

Our client Contour, recently announced its partnership with CargoX, a blockchain platform for transferring documents and data including a certified electronic bill of lading solution. Following Contour’s transition to full production, the business continues to grow its network with partnerships to enhance its offering.

The partnership provides Contour customers another option for electronic bills of lading to be used in synchronisation with their Contour trade finance transaction. This will not only reduce the overreliance on paper documents that is common in the industry but also streamline trade processes, reducing time and improving communication.

Contour’s non-partisan network, powered by R3’s Corda blockchain technology, allows all banks, financial institutions, and corporates to improve access, communication, and transparency when conducting trade finance agreements.

The CargoX blockchain-powered document transfer platform allows users to easily manage digital original documents, such as electronic bills of lading, and provides the tools for secure and instant transfers of those documents. The platform also provides transparency by including auditable histories of document ownership and changes.

Bills of lading have been an effective tool for trade finance due to their negotiability, allowing banks to finance goods still at sea without having to take control of an entire vessel. Digitally transforming these documents requires complicated digital registries with the support of shipping lines, banks, and corporations. Through achieving this process, bills of lading will become electronic and will no longer require ‘wet ink’ to be verified.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Cobalt adds digital assets to platform as FX market looks set for a 24/7 future

Cobalt adds digital assets

Over the last few years, the foreign-exchange (FX) post-trade infrastructure provider Cobalt has designed and built a secure 24/7 middle office platform, which it is delivering for some of the industry’s largest participants.

One of the sizeable changes in the market over the past few years is the rise of digital assets and how they are making their way into the forefront of currency trading. This trend has been accelerated by the decision of the OCC (US Banking Regulator) to allow US banks to hold digital assets. Major FX institutions are now looking to trade digital assets, yet enterprise standard post-trade infrastructure in this market is virtually non-existent.

Cobalt adds digital assets to platform

For these participants to enter this market at scale it is critical to ensure the correct management of credit and data, to which end Cobalt is now bringing its innovative post-trade and credit FX solutions to the digital asset market.

Cobalt is already connecting to the leading digital exchanges on behalf of clients and offering full credit and ledger services for all currencies and digital assets. Cobalt clients are able to see their full portfolio of positions and risk across both fiat currencies and digital assets, available to clients across all segments. Cobalt’s middle office platform is used by the FX markets leading Prime Brokers, Liquidity Providers, Retail Brokers and Exchanges

With a full microservice architecture and 24/7 operations, Cobalt’s solution is fully compliant with the FX Global Code and Tier 1 financial participants’ information security and regulatory requirements.

“The rise of digital assets has gone from strength to strength in the past years and has moved from being an asset traded on the periphery, to being at the forefront of FX participant plans.” –  Adrian Patten, Co-Founder and Chairman of Cobalt.

“Participants today can no longer ignore the position of digital assets in the market and those who do are in danger of missing out on sizeable trading opportunities due to the 24/7 nature of the market. Major exchanges have started to translate this to the FX market, with some offering trading over the weekends. 24/7 operability has always been a priority to Cobalt. As digital assets continue their rise and influence over the FX market, participants are going to need to adapt to new ways of doing business.”


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

So you want to make a podcast? Here’s what you need to know

Set up Podcast

Podcasts are a fantastic way to create owned content that is unique, accessible, and showcases the people behind the business. Many of the benefits of using a podcast can be seen in the consumer world, with Serial, S-Town and This American Life drawing in millions of listeners. Podcasts are also not a huge production effort – some of the most successful ones are simply a few people sitting down and speaking for half an hour. However, making sure your podcast showcases a professional edge that positions your messaging correctly is not always easy. As such, we’ve outlined some key considerations to think about when making your own show.

Podcasting in the time of Covid

First, it’s important to address the elephant in the room. Covid has made the traditional methods of podcasting harder if not entirely impossible. It’s less likely you will be able to sit in a room with people to record and may have to rely upon video chats such as Zoom to record an episode.

While the built-in record feature with these applications does make life easier, it also creates certain problems. Internet stability is often a major drawback to recording, with audio dropping and key points being missed out by a poor connection. Background noise, static and poor microphones can also make an otherwise engaging episode fall flat.

But all is not lost. There are a few things to consider when recording online. Firstly, changing your settings to recording ‘individual audio’ is an absolute must (a handy example can be found on the Zoom site here). Doing this will help limit any issues caused by speaking remotely and make editing a breeze. If you wanted to take this a step further, make sure everyone hits record on the chat and shares their own audio file afterwards – this will keep the quality is crisp and removes the potential for audio to drop out if the internet connection is poor.

Finding your format

With technical issues aside, it’s now a case of making sure you have a good idea for a show. With the topics under discussion, it’s very easy to end up with a lengthy episode that goes into extreme detail. Instead, think about keeping the recordings shorter and more focused, with 30 to 40 minutes being an ideal length to aim for. This will not only make sure your listeners remain engaged with more digestible content but also allow them to download the show onto their phone without taking up too much space. Don’t worry if you have more to say on the subject – you can always revisit it in a later episode or split the show into a two-parter.

Length of episode aside, another important factor is balancing structure with the freeform conversation. An engaging aspect of all podcast is the organic, natural way of speaking, but this needs to be balanced with a clear introduction and sign off to each show. Having a designated host will also ensure the conversation keeps on going at a reasonable pace and maintain a structure around the open dialogue of the show.

Getting it in post

The edit is perhaps the most important part of the podcast. This will remove any issues with the audio, sync up the conversation and put in transition music and the general dressing that makes the podcast feel professional. While you can simply publish the audio from the show, the added steps through good editing will bring your podcast to the next level.

In the same way, you should also consider how people will listen to the show. While putting the audio file on your company website is always an option, it can limit accessibility for users – as they will have to download the file and open it in an audio app on their phone or computer. Instead, a hosting platform will create a dedicated page for your podcast, allowing you to link the show with your website and social channels, as well as distribute it to key channels such as Spotify, Castbox and Apple Podcasts.

Creating a podcast is a different and exciting way to engage with your audience, and while there are many other considerations to take into account (we haven’t even begun to speak about which microphone to use), these key factors will help elevate the planning and production of your show. If you’re interested in learning more or want to see what other things you should be thinking about when making your show, get in touch – we’d love to help.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Fintech innovation must not leave treasury management behind

Treasury management

The fintech revolution has replaced outdated technologies and streamlined antiquated practices across a wider range of industries. However, this wave of innovation seems to have bypassed corporate treasury departments, which have struggled to keep up with the latest developments. Fortunately, that is now changing, writes Laurent Descout.

Fintech innovation has transformed financial services at a rapid pace, enhancing customer experiences and accessibility and making services faster and more streamlined. As a result, costs have fallen, barriers to entry have been reduced and new entrants have emerged to take on the incumbents.

Yet, amidst the rise of challenger banks and alternative payments providers, relatively few innovations have found their way into the corporate treasury space.

Treasury management has been left behind by fintech

In many regards, treasury management remains hindered by increasingly outdated and fragmented processes. This becomes all the more apparent as other areas of finance move ahead in terms of efficiency, customer satisfaction and cost-saving benefits resulting from fintech adoption.

A 2019 Citibank survey echoes this. There’s a clear appetite amongst treasurers to engage with the latest innovations in technology to remedy historical shortfalls. But the technology to-date either hasn’t been sufficiently robust, easy-to-use, cost-effective or addressed the key concerns of treasurers. Of the 400 treasurers surveyed, 54% called for continuous improvement in operational treasury efficiency, with cost and integration of technologies seen as the biggest hurdles to overcome.

Take international payments and bank accounts, for example. In an increasingly globalised world, very few companies operate using a single currency. However, making international payments remains a costly and cumbersome process, and multi-currency accounts remain inaccessible, require manual input to operate and take weeks to open.

This is hard to justify when supply chains and customers span multiple nations, currencies and continents – treasurers need an equally global bank account that is fit for purpose.

To address these issues, treasurers have sought to utilise different platforms and integrated technology systems to ramp up efficiency and automation, while reducing costs. But this has only created layers upon layers of complex technology systems, processes and plugins.

This approach is not sustainable – it increases maintenance costs and hinders operational stability in the long-term. If one cog in the machine breaks down, the knock-on effects could be disastrous.

Smarter corporate treasury management 

Buying your way out of a problem that has hampered corporate treasurers for decades is not the answer – it’s not the number of plugins, add-ons and systems that will bring corporate treasury into the twenty-first century, but the functionality, interoperability, security and ease of use of a treasury management system. This has become even more critical as treasurers become accustomed to working remotely.

Put simply, enabling treasurers to perform all of their key functions without having to switch between different platforms and technology providers is crucial. The days of plugin tangles and convoluted processes are over.

In order to fully address the pain points faced by treasurers today, modern systems and platforms must address the lack of availability and high costs associated with multi-currency accounts, payment processing and FX conversion fees.

There is a huge opportunity to streamline existing processes and access all of the key services treasurers need – multi-currency IBANs, automated payments and collections, FX hedging and risk management and enhanced security – from one comprehensive dashboard. With the technology and knowledge available today, such services recognise the digital and global requirements of a modern, global corporate treasury division.

Another key area of potential is FX execution and hedging, which has been a widely mismanaged feature of SME’s businesses for years. The majority of hedging programmes are limited to providing an analytical outlook, ranging from three to six months, due to their lack of visibility and connectivity. This restricts how easily treasurers can manage and oversee their risk strategies. Corporate treasury should not be left behind in this respect, especially when the technology for this exists, and has been tried, tested and proven to work.

Maximising data and analytics

However, centralising treasury functions is just the tip of the iceberg. Fintech adoption must do more than automate the odd process or enable a more efficient method of cash management. Creating a one-stop-shop for treasurers also opens the door for leveraging analytics more effectively with enhanced visibility.

Data is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of financial services, and the analytics derived from this data have transformed numerous elements of this market. This presents a unique opportunity for corporate treasury divisions. to improve forecasting, detect patterns and anomalies, and improve financial decision making, risk management and cash flow monitoring.

For example, the increased sophistication of analytics within the trading industry enables users to inform and enhance their payment, hedging and risk management strategies, which in turn, increases profits and attracts more satisfied customers.

An all-in-one solution has the potential to transform treasury management. It overcomes the hassle of multi-layered technology systems and plugins while delivering a more streamlined experience – making it a system fit for purpose and suited to today’s working environment.

Laurent Descout is CEO and Co-Founder of Neo.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Investment in technology – a strategic priority for UK’s financial institutions 

A new survey from Lloyds Bank reveals that Britain’s financial institutions are planning for a year of investment in new technology.

Despite the uncertainty thrown up by the pandemic, 88% of senior leaders within financial institutions say tech investment is a top strategic priority for the next 12 months. Two-thirds of leaders interviewed plan to increase investment in technology and a third will focus on improving their fintech offering, either through acquisitions or partnerships, according to Lloyds.

The survey is based on views from major banks, asset and wealth management firms, insurers, and intermediaries.

The sentiment from the financial institutions interviewed mirrors what we have seen at Chatsworth across our broad and diverse fintech client base.

Fintech has emerged as one of the few sectors that have actually thrived amid the pandemic, as the legacy systems that were satisfactory during times of normality were exposed as unacceptable during a crisis. The use of technology in finance has subsequently soared.

Chatsworth clients Contour, Limeglass and Previse are among the roster of fintechs that have experienced increased interest in and applicability of their solutions since COVID-19. They all share the common theme of leveraging technology to help businesses do what they do, better: a simple mission but one which has become the holy grail of survival in the past seven months.

The Lloyds survey comes ahead of next week’s annual Sibos event: the world’s largest payments-focused conference, bringing together leaders across the world to discuss the role technology can play in transforming the sector.

The conference always provides important food for thought on the future of payments and financial services more broadly, but the events of the past year will serve as an all too real reminder of why technology is the answer.

The fact that Sibos itself will be held virtually is perhaps a testament to this.

It’s been a challenging year for businesses of all sizes across the board. Some which have had a seemingly indomitable proposition and presence have found themselves vulnerable.

We are glad to see the Lloyds survey point to the importance of technology in future-proofing businesses for not just the next 12 months, but indefinitely.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

Late payments almost doubled over lockdown

Late Payments

Chatsworth client, Previse, spoke to the Financial Times about the urgent need to use technology to get SMEs paid on time, sharing its proprietary data, revealing late payments almost doubled over lockdown. 

The FT’s report, out this week, is an essential read and deep dive on the challenges small businesses face to get paid fairly and on time. Previse’s data reveals clearly how payment terms and practices are one of the first areas of supply chains to degenerate in the face of uncertainty over cash flow. Inevitably, this impacts small businesses the most. 

The events of the pandemic have put untold strain on supply chains all over the world. Previse’s InsantPay offering – which gets all suppliers paid immediately – has emerged as a sustainable solution to cash flow for businesses. 

Previse’s CEO and co-founder, Paul Christensen, outlined the profound impact day-1 payments could have on helping small businesses:

 “We need every small business in the UK to have the option of day-one payment if we are going to avoid a catastrophic number of bankruptcies and the inevitable rise in unemployment that follows.” 

Thanks to the Financial Times for giving this topic the attention it deserves. Click here to read the full report on the future of payments.

It rounds off a busy few months for Previse which was named a CBILs accredited lender and, more recently, received a £2.5M grant from the BCR. 

The Spectator magazine has also moved Previse into the final round of its Economic Innovator of the year award. And we have a third-year-running listing in the influential Fintech Top 50. A great firm, doing great things. 


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

 

Level up: investment in the gaming industry

Investment in the gaming industry

A few years ago, if you spoke to someone about the video game industry, they would immediately imagine spotty teens arguing over the internet, dorky kids who can’t socialise, and – if you go further back – four player co-op with Goldeneye64.

But things have changed – a lot. The kids have grown up, got jobs – sometimes in the industry – and the world ]has evolved. During lockdown, investment in the gaming industry boomed, as people ordered a PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch or Xbox One to fill the time spent in isolation. Gone are the days where the gaming industry is just for consumers – it’s now big business.

Press F to pay

The gaming industry is worth big bucks now – most notably in the electronic sports (esports) sector. Recent news that David Beckham’s Esports team – Guild Esports – is planning to IPO on the London Stock Exchange to fund its expansion with a goal of £20m and a valuation of £50m, is just one example of how much money this sector is worth.

Established companies are booming, with Razer – the PC gaming peripheral provider – reporting a 25.3% YoY growth. The diversity, and the healthy number of businesses in the market, makes the opportunities for profit in the gaming sector extremely lucrative.

A city of gamers

The changing times have also felt its impact in The City. The evolution of electronic trading and algos has been spearheaded by individuals passionate about coding, design, and technology – something that draws a lot from the gaming industry. The generation that now makes up The City has grown up with an awareness of technology, and an understanding of the benefits that it brings.

Fintech’s role

The gaming industry has matured a lot, with more ways for the B2B market to engage with this heavily consumer-based industry. Clients of ours such as FXCM, have seen this increased engagement with gaming, and provide options for their customers to invest in Esports- further highlighting the interest in the sector.

Technology like blockchain also has the potential to dramatically affect the market. As more gaming requires online services, the focus on privacy and ownership of data has become increasingly apparent. Many are now looking to the decentralised nature of blockchain to help manage the fairness of the game, allow gamers to have full ownership of their in-game assets, and protect servers from malfunction or technical issues.

Like with many consumer industries, the step to a corporate role is gradual and often slow. However, gaming is already showing huge potential for financial institutions and investors to get involved in this booming market – taking advantage of the success in the sector. It’s something we’re very conscious about as it ensures we’re aware of the changing marketplace and the way it can affect our clients.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story

 

Previse named a finalist for Economic Innovator of the Year

Economic innovator of the year

Chatsworth client Previse has been named a finalist in the Spectator’s Economic Innovator of the Year awards.

This year saw the Spectator receive more entries than ever, making Previse’s shortlisting a feat in itself.

The Economic Innovator of the Year is awarded to the company that the judging panel feel has disrupted their marketplace and will help rebuild the economy in 2020.

Previse’s business proposition could be considered disruptive in normal market conditions, but has arguably become a necessity since the pandemic. Previse uses technology to get all suppliers paid on day one.

As businesses have struggled to stay afloat in the past six months, many have lengthened payment terms to hold onto cash reserves. Previse’s InstantPay solution benefits both buyers and suppliers and is an antidote to broken supply chains.

Testament to the strength of its solution is the momentum Previse has gained since the onset of the pandemic. The fintech received CBILs accreditation, as well as a £2.5 million grant from the BCR to accelerate growth. This is in addition to a partnership with the FSB.

Previse saw off stiff competition to be shortlisted for the prestigious Spectator award and is the only player in its space to be named a finalist.

Previse CEO Paul Christensen, rounds off perfectly: “What we are building here goes beyond just a great product: we’re creating a movement that ensures that every SME has the option of instant payment whenever they issue an invoice.”

Click here to read more about Previse’s shortlisting and the awards.


Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story