CEO update – October 2021
I hope this finds you well and settling into the ‘new normal’. It has been so refreshing and energising to finally see many of you in person over these past few weeks, and I am excited to connect with even more of you at our upcoming events and programmes.
On that note, on 1 September the Innovate Finance team moved into its new offices at 37 Sun Street, continuing our strong partnership with Broadgate and British Land. We look forward to welcoming you to our new office and also to Storey Club at 100 Liverpool Street, where we will be holding many of our IF roundtables, policy forums, and member events going forward.
Welcome to new members
A very warm welcome to our newest members, who have joined since July: Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Sberbank, CrossLend, Openpay, Comma, HyperJar, Ophelos, Snoop, Algbra, Altilia, ChinaFICC, Scroll Finance, StormPay, Wagebox, and WealthOS.
Progressing our strategic priorities
As we move into the autumn, I wanted to give you a progress update on our three priority areas. The Innovate Finance team has been very busy the past few months in launching a number of new initiatives in an aim to best support our members and the wider FinTech ecosystem.
Ensuring FinTech is recognised as a key pillar of Global Britain's soft and hard power
Last week, we sent the Chancellor of the Exchequer our autumn Budget 2021 submission. We have been pleased to see notable progress on a number of core Kalifa Review recommendations, and continued support from government. However, we are also conscious that this momentum needs to be maintained and we cannot rest on our laurels if we are to ensure the ongoing leadership of UK FinTech globally.
As such, in our Budget submission, we set out proposals in three core areas:
We look forward to hearing from the Chancellor on 27th October.
In addition, our international programme continues to build in supporting our members as they seek to grow their own ability to export and scale overseas. In July, we launched the first of our International Scaling Series events, with a market focus on Australia. We followed this up last month with a second session focused on the United States, a region we will be doing more work with in the coming year. The aim of these sessions is to highlight both the opportunities, and the potential barriers, to market entry in these regions, to guide our members as they seek to scale, and to provide an account of those who have gone before who can share their own experiences. We will be hosting our third in the series soon, so do look out for more details in future updates.
We are also collaborating with key partners across both the international and national ecosystem for FinTech to support the international competitiveness and national connectivity recommendations of the Kalifa review. We continue to work closely with colleagues in DIT to ensure our members can feed into the forthcoming discussions around future trade agreements, and discuss how we can ensure UK FinTech remains a leading global ecosystem for innovation across financial services.
Support the development of the UK’s world-leading regulatory regime
We are working closely with our SME lending members on policy engagement to improve competition in the market as the economy emerges from Covid-19. At the start of September, we released data that showed how the SME lending market split between incumbents and FinTech lenders has shifted before and after Covid and calling for measures to unleash the full potential of FinTech lenders to support small firms and power economic growth. The Times published this story on the data, with comment from our brilliant Policy Director Adam Jackson.
Meanwhile, we are progressing our work with the 36H Group on dialogue with the FCA on DP 21/1 which is consulting on tighter restrictions for retail investors across the alternative investment market.
Elsewhere, our team has worked closely with our members over the past few weeks to respond to various consultations and requests for feedback from government and regulators.
We were pleased to see the FCA’s proposals for reforms to the UK listings regime, with the proposed introduction of dual-class share structures and a reduction in the minimum free float for the premium segment. These were two key recommendations from the Kalifa Review, designed to encourage more high-growth founder-led businesses to IPO in London. We and our members believe that these proposals will certainly help in achieving that aim, as we discussed in our submission.
There have also been two consultations on two very important FinTech enablers, digital ID and Smart Data, which were issued by DCMS and BEIS respectively. The digital ID consultation focused on the proposed governance structure for this new technology. In our submission, we highlighted the need to create a level playing field to encourage as many providers as possible to participate in the digital ID framework, and we encouraged the government to think internationally, so that the UK framework can be considered world-leading and exportable. Turning to Smart Data, please take a look at our team’s blog which explains why Smart Data initiatives are so important for the FinTech sector and summarises the FinTech view on how it needs to evolve.
We are working with a group of fellow trade associations and consumer groups to call for the Online Safety Bill to be broadened in scope to include fraudulent online adverts. Fraudsters behind advanced push payment (APP) scams are targeting customers of all financial services firms. Since many of these scams are on social media, a younger demographic, more likely to be FinTech customers are being targeted more than most. We are making representations to the Joint Committee of the Bill and will continue to work with colleagues in other like-minded organisations to make our case this autumn.
We have also spent time talking to our members to inform our submission (drafted with the help of InChorus) to a discussion paper from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the Bank of England and the FCA on how we can accelerate the pace of meaningful change on diversity and inclusion in the sector.
In addition, we have established a Steering Committee on Innovation in Unsecured Credit with members across Buy Now Pay Later providers and the wider ecosystem, to support the development of a regulatory framework that protects consumers, builds confidence, and facilitates innovation and a dynamic and growing market.
Throughout our regulatory engagement, we have continued to talk about the potential for RegTech solutions to be deployed in a number of areas, including as part of the Net Zero and green finance challenges. We are now looking at how we can do more to practically support RegTech more broadly and encourage the adoption of their products and services in the UK and further afield, and will be launching a Steering Committee on RegTech soon.
Champion FinTech’s positive impact on broader society
We’re incredibly excited to be hosting our FinTech as a Force for Good Forum on 13 October. The event is going to be run as a hybrid event, with sessions taking place in person at Level39 and simultaneously streamed live at Barclays RISE and on our Innovate Finance YouTube channel. Our programme will deep-dive into key issues facing the sector, exploring the role of financial innovation in creating a more sustainable and inclusive future. The day will consist of compelling keynotes, fireside chats, panel discussions, breakouts and networking opportunities looking at FinTech’s role in the green and ESG agenda, and the positive impact it can have on financial inclusion and financial wellness.
We will welcome 300 in-person attendees and 700 online attendees from across the globe for the one-day impact summit. They will include FinTechs, financial institutions, professional services firms, policy-makers and regulators, investors, NGOs/NPOs and innovators.
Confirmed speakers include: John Glen MP, Minister of State, HM Treasury; Anne Richards, CEO, Fidelity; Huw Van Steenis, Chair, Sustainable Finance Committee; Mariquit Corcoran, CIO, Barclays, and David Craig, Senior Advisor, LSEG; Rishi Khosla, CEO, OakNorth; Duncan Grierson, Founder and CEO, Clim8 Invest; Anna Krotova, Director of Sustainability, Mambu; Simon Cureton, CEO, Funding Options.
We’re very lucky to have fantastic support from our key sponsors including Accenture, Barclays RISE and IDA Ireland, with Bloomberg as our lead media partner.
We are all really looking forward to the Forum - all members are welcome to join.
In the run up to the Forum and the UN Climate Change conference, we have set up a Net Zero member group. The aim of the group is to champion and celebrate the role of our members and FinTech as the heart of UK’s global green finance expertise, challenge FinTech to do more – highlighting opportunities to develop products and services that enable net zero transition across the economy, support members with tools and workshops, and advocate any regulatory and policy changes needed to unleash NetZero FinTech. We'll be sharing case studies of our members' work over the coming weeks - and do look out for more news from the group in October and November!
Innovate Finance staff and people update
I am delighted to announce a number of fantastic new additions to the IF team: Parveen Dhanda joins us as our new Ecosystem Director, Veronica Glab joins us as our new Head of Engagement, and Vanessa Ioannou joins us as our new office manager. I know they are all very much looking forward to supporting our members and meeting all of you soon.
Programmes and events
We have a number of other initiatives running through the autumn beyond our flagship FinTech for Good Summit.
Our first in our exciting new series FinTech Founders & CEOs Breakfast was hosted by EY on 5 October at their London Bridge offices. The discussion focused on the topic of IPOs, and looked at progress made against the Kalifa and Hill Reviews.
As part of our Women in FinTech initiative, we are thrilled to be supporting the Women Returners Back to Your Future conference on 5-6 October, by offering a limited number of discounted tickets. Many of our amazing members are also participating in our joint FinTech Cross Company Returner programme that aims to bring experienced tech and financial services professionals who have taken extended career breaks for childcare, eldercare or other reasons into FinTech.
And get ready - applications for the Women in FinTech Powerlist will launch in November, with the Powerlist itself due to be released in March!
Finally, we will be hosting an in-person members’ reception on the evening of 8 December so please do watch this space for the event details! We hope this will be a very special event and an opportunity for us all to come together, after nearly two years of unprecedented circumstances, and celebrate this incredibly passionate, unique, and wonderful community. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Janine Hirt, CEO, Innovate Finance