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.”
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