On 22nd March 2018, at the second annual International FinTech Conference in London, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new FinTech Sector Strategy for the UK.
As well as breaking down the barriers to entry and growth faced by FinTech startups, the strategy focuses on maintaining the UK’s strong position as a global FinTech hub, and explores how new opportunities offered by the sector can benefit end users, and the economy.
One of the most important announcements was the development of onboarding guidelines to make it easier for incumbents and FinTech firms to forge partnerships. The standards, which will be the first of their kind in the world, will be developed by the FinTech Delivery Panel and the British Standards Institution, with the aim of ensuring that FinTechs are better prepared when approaching partnership opportunities with incumbent banks.
While currently in very early stages, by the end of 2018 a set of onboarding guidelines – sponsored by the five banks on the FinTech Delivery Panel: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, and Santander – will be made available to FinTech companies. They can use these to assess their readiness to partner with a major financial institution.
Other highlights unveiled at the conference included a new FinTech bridge between the UK and Australia, joining those already in place with China, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea. With a wealth of new opportunities in these regions, many will welcome this commitment to global expansion.
Startup accelerator, Tech City UK, will be launching a programme for early stage B2B FinTechs, an area where investment and support have previously been lacking as consumer-facing solutions dominated the market. The programme, which will last for 6 months, aims to connect startups with established FinTech entrepreneurs, and will deliver insight sessions with prominent advisers and investors. Startups will also be given the opportunity to showcase their offerings during a trip to the US.
With more people investing in, and transacting via, cryptocurrencies, the need to regulate this space has been hinted at several times over the last 12 months – by world leaders at the G20 summit, and earlier this month in a speech delivered by Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney. It, therefore, came as no surprise that a ‘Cryptoassets Task Force’, which includes the UK Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority, will be established. As well as looking into the risks of cryptocurrency, the Task Force will be examining the potential benefits of the underlying blockchain technology.
The FinTech industry has been recognised as being capable of delivering a huge benefit to the economy, and currently contributes £6.6 billion annually, employing more than 60,000 people across 1,600 companies. The FinTech Strategy will help to reinforce an already thriving sector, of which Saxo Payments Banking Circle is proud to be a part.