Fintech is now the firepower of innovation in the City.
Such innovation has driven a complete rethink in how firms, governments, and consumers across the world think about finance.
From streamlining capital markets, to debunking traditional insurance practices and offering completely new ways to bank, the UK sector has it all.
In the context of Brexit, this is a big plus for a global Britain.
However, as the march of rival fintech hubs from Europe and Asia continues, and with the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit, the UK sector cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
Next week’s Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS), now in its fourth year, is a focal point for innovators to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and most importantly the new ideas for the fintech sector.
The IFGS has an undoubtable convening power, but to truly harness the sector’s ambition and compel policymakers to continue the drumbeat of pro-fintech policy, we need more than just an annual event and a designated “fintech week”.
Our ambitious innovators must be matched by equally ambitious policymakers. We need the government to leverage the UK’s innovative zeal in a much better way.
The previous chancellor, George Osborne, was known for his demands of “more fintech” in the run-up to every Budget. However, more recently, it seems the undertakings of Brexit have diverted attention, leaving many to question this government’s commitment.
The good news is that 2018 sees a renewed momentum.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s recent proposal to launch a global sandbox, helping innovators gain worldwide traction much quicker, is testament to that. I heard the chancellor speak before Christmas, and he mentioned fintech more than 12 times in a single speech.
The Labour party been far too quiet for too long, and its leaders appeared to be fintech sceptics – so it’s encouraging to see the opposition beginning to champion innovation. At last.
To build on this renewed impetus for fintech, we now need a more established conduit for engagement between sector leaders and our public policy decision-makers.
Existing initiatives have done a good job so far, but the high stakes of Brexit mean a more attentive look at the sector’s longer-term strategy is now vital.
To mark this, I have edited Fintech Nation 2018 (FTN18), which was published yesterday by Cicero Group and Innovate Finance.
It brings together the views of some of the sector’s brightest innovators and leading influencers, including the government, regulators, and policymakers from across party-political lines. The chapters within FTN18 showcase the best of UK fintech and set the tone for what is to come in 2018. Running throughout FTN18 are commitments of collaboration and a desire to drive the sector forward through the sharing of ideas.
The UK’s success in fintech has been based upon such virtues of collaboration. It’s what helped the UK to gain its early lead on the rest of the world, and it’s what will help to cement the UK’s continued dominance in the future.
Let’s not stop now.