CEO Update – October 2022
I hope this finds you all well and settling into the busy autumn period.
I think it is fair to say that these past few weeks have been unlike any other, with significant political and economic change. We continue to work hard to support you, our members, and serve as your voice to government and policymakers. In addition, we are dedicated to ensuring you have the support, connections, access, insights, and tools you need to grow your business successfully.
Welcome to New Members
I am delighted to welcome Ant Group, Barclays, Shearman & Sterling, Simply Asset Finance, Enfuce, Shares, TrojAI, Alloy, YounGo Money, Tuum, GrantTree, KYP, Datatics, Capsule Cover, Lucinity, Velexa, CO2 Analysis, Qokoon and Ozone API to the Innovate Finance community.
We acknowledge the Chancellor’s strong focus on growth in his Mini Budget, and welcomed the announcements around a planned extension to SEIS and EIS and progress on the pensions cap removal and Solvency II. Post his announcements on 23 September, we have also developed a plan outlining four key actions needed immediately by the government to ensure the continued growth, success and global leadership of UK FinTech, which you can find here. We have shared this with the Chancellor and with key stakeholders across all political parties. This action plan builds on the FinTech Agenda for the new Prime Minister we released over the summer to cement the UK as the best place in the world for FinTechs to start, scale and grow their business.
Our policy team has been advocating for rapid progress of the Financial Services and Markets (FS&M) Bill, and for amendments including the extension of new accountability rules to the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR). They have also responded to the following consultations: the Treasury Committee Inquiry on the Crypto Asset Industry; the PRA’s consultation on the ‘Strong and Simple’ prudential regime for smaller, non-systemic firms; the PSR’s consultation on card fees and cross-border interchange fees and the Financial Ombudsman Service’s (FOS) Discussion Paper on creating a funding model for the future.
On Open Banking, I am pleased to have been appointed to the Strategic Working Group (SWG) which supports the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee (JROC) in its work on driving the necessary changes at the Open Banking Implementation Entity. I am also honoured to have been appointed as co-chair of the “Project FAIR: Framework for responsible adoption of artificial intelligence in the financial services industry” Steering Committee, run by the Alan Turing Institute and the University of Edinburgh.
On SME lending, we held a session with our SME lending members to discuss the impact of the cost of living crisis and green lending products. On Open Finance we continue our work with BCG to develop use cases for open finance solutions, and on RegTech we partnered with KPMG to raise awareness of what RegTech can do. We continue our partnership with EY on our member workshops focused on the cost of living crisis.
Other recent political insights include:
- The Financial Services and Markets Bill: what’s in it for UK FinTech?
- UK Government plans for data, AI, and digital ID
- Data Protection and Digital Information Bill: Innovate Finance Briefing
- Financial Services & Markets Bill: Innovate Finance Briefing
Tomorrow, Tuesday 11 October, is our second annual FinTech as a Force for Good Forum and I am looking forward to seeing all of you there. Once again, we will be exploring the power of FinTech to transform lives - and businesses - for the better, as we deep dive into the critical role that financial technology and innovation plays across the three pillars of ESG: environmental, social, and governance. As we stare down one of the worst cost of living crises our world has ever seen, it is more important than ever before that we come together to create a more inclusive, a more democratic, and a more transparent financial services sector that works better for everyone.
We have a number of other events planned for the coming weeks which I also hope you will be able to join us for, including: a Scaling Series on Singapore; a High Growth CEO Dinner with the next Lord Mayor; an Investor - Startup Speed Networking session; a Spotlight On the Metaverse; a webinar on RegTech trends; the first in our CMO Roundtable series; a Fintech Talent and Skills Showcase and - last but definitely not least! - our annual Holiday Members Receptions in London on December 6 and in New York on December 8. You can find all of our upcoming events listed on our forward calendar here.
Priority Programme Update
I am delighted to update you on some of the key initiatives our team has been working on.
Last week we were very excited to launch our Innovate Finance Startup Academy to support our early and mid-stage community of founders and leaders in their growth journey. The Programme is a set of initiatives designed for Innovate Finance’s startup and scale up members and their senior teams. It will include a series of face-to-face and online events to provide industry insights, practical knowledge and tangible support on key business areas such as investment, talent, marketing and PR, building the right Board, partnerships and customer acquisition. In addition, in September we launched the UK FinTech Academic Network with Alliance Manchester Business School, and several founding academic members, to help drive innovation in key areas of technology in the UK.
On Capital & Investment, we released our Summer Investment Report in July and received significant press coverage on the positive numbers. However, it was disheartening to see the growing gender investment gap showing that female-led FinTechs represented only 4% of UK fintech deals in the first half of the year, a drop from 2021. We will be continuing to work with our partners across the community to close this gap. We will also be working closely with our partners in the coming months on a programme aimed at driving increased institutional investment into UK FinTechs, as we recognise this is one of the largest challenges facing our sector. More information on this programme will be released shortly.
On Diversity & Inclusion, our ‘Power Hour’ sessions are back this autumn, and in November I have the pleasure of interviewing the impressive Mandy Lamb, MD UK&I of Visa. We are also planning a number of dedicated sessions for underrepresented founders in 2023, and we are delighted to support Progress Together, the City of London-led membership body that focuses on improving socio-economic diversity and inclusion at senior levels in financial services. Last but not least, applications for our annual Women in FinTech Powerlist will open at the end of November, so do keep an eye out!
On Partnerships & Growth, thank you all for joining us at our Partnership Day last week, and a huge thank you to KPMG for hosting us and to Lloyds Banking Group, Deutsche Bank, Schroders, SWIFT, and Google for sharing more about their engagement with the FinTech ecosystem.
On our International initiatives, last month we hosted our second International FinTech Group (IFG) meeting, co-chaired with DIT and with FinTech industry members to explore how we can strengthen the current infrastructure for scaling firms and create a cohesive messaging and branding for UK FinTech globally. Our team is also very excited to return to New York in November and December to meet our members and partners and welcome them at our Holiday Party in the Big Apple on 8 December. Please contact us if you would like to join.
On Talent & Skills, we have listened closely to you about the challenges of recruiting and retaining top talent, and we will be launching a talent-focused annual programme that includes a talent and skills showcase in November, a Careers Fair in February, culture workshops throughout the year, and an updated Jobs Board. Stay tuned!
Media & Marketing Update
As we continue to improve the online experience and digital engagement for our members, we are pleased to announce a newly designed member section and homepage of our website. Feedback is very welcome as we will continue to build out increased access and additional online tools for our members in the coming months.
Over the past few months we have been very excited to grow and expand our small Innovate Finance team to better support you, our members. We are so happy to have recently welcomed Pavadee Burapapong as our new Ecosystem Associate, Stephen Chankov as our new Membership Associate, David Abadir and Christopher Foo as our new Policy Associates and Paul Duarte as our new International Associate. Please do say hello to them at one of our upcoming events!!
As ever, thank you once again for your outstanding support.
CEO, Innovate Finance