Chancellor wants UK to be ‘world’s greatest FinTech hub’

Phillip Hammond, the UK Chancellor, has highlighted the critical role played by FinTech in helping the UK to mitigate any negative economic impact that may result from Brexit.

Speaking at the inaugural International FinTech Conference in London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer commented on how the capital was at the ‘forefront of the FinTech revolution’, with financial innovation ‘changing the way in which financial services are accessed and delivered.’

‘FinTech will transform the way we live and do business,’ said Hammond. ‘Whether it is cashless transactions between friends, sending remittances to family in other countries, or apps that automatically invest savings at the best rates… FinTech provides consumers with better services, more choice, and lower costs.’

Referencing the FCA Sandbox, Bank of England’s FinTech Accelerator, £400m investment from the government and the £7bn revenue generated by the sector last year, Hammond made it clear that the UK would remain a global FinTech hub.

He also announced Barclay’s ‘London Rise’ initiative, the ‘largest FinTech accelerator of its kind in Europe’, with over 500 workspaces for innovators.

But the Chancellor also stressed the need to attract talent to the UK to keep the country at the forefront. ‘We will have to strive and graft and fight to seize the opportunities and make the most of them. That means growing and strengthening the areas – like fintech – in which we enjoy a competitive advantage… while we need to continue to attract the brightest and the best from around the world to these shores.

With Brexit in mind, Hammond spoke about the need for the UK to profit from its future outside of the EU and develop trade relationships with fast-growing economies in Asia. This follows his recent trip to India, where potential collaborations were explored.

‘Our vision of an outward-looking, Global Britain that will deliver the high-skilled, high-wage economy of the future …that will power the higher living standards we all want to see for future generations. So I urge everyone here today – innovators, investors, regulators – to help us realise that vision. Help us keep the UK at the forefront of the FinTech revolution. Help us build a truly world-beating new tech sector. Let your ideas, your apps, your services, your equity demonstrate what’s really possible when government, business and regulators all pull in the same direction. Working together, to build the world’s greatest FinTech hub.’

Speaking at the same conference, governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney stressed the promise of FinTech. ‘FinTech could deliver significant benefits to households and businesses across this country and across the world. FinTech can widen access to financial services and bring new sources of credit. It can connect customers better with their finances and empower them more in the process. And new technologies can deliver faster service, greater choice and keener pricing.’

Research Manager at Mapa Research Chris Ward comments: ‘The thing the industry really needs is certainty. Without knowing what is going to happen, it’s difficult to plan, meet customer needs and mitigate any negative impacts of leaving the EU. That said, it is reassuring to hear the Chancellor acknowledge the awesome potential of FinTech to help consumers and to become a crucial, global industry for the UK.’

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