An independent review has set out a plan for the UK to retain its global leadership in fintech by helping the country’s financial technology firms to scale up, access the talent and finance they need, and deliver better financial services.
The UK has more than 10 per cent of the global market share in fintech and the sector is now worth more than £11 billion a year to the UK economy.
The independent review, led by British entrepreneur Ron Kalifa OBE, presents a wide-ranging strategy and delivery model to build on its existing attractiveness to start-ups firms and become the best place for a fintech business to reach global scale.
The government says it will examine the recommendations and respond in due course.
The review highlights the opportunity to create highly skilled jobs across the UK, boost trade and extend a competitive edge over other leading fintech hubs. Recommendations include:
- introducing a new ‘fintech scale up’ visa route for specialists from around the world
- implementing a ‘scale box’ to provide regulatory support for growing firms
- improving UK listings rules with free float reduction and dual class shares
- creating a £1 billion-pound fintech ‘growth fund’ to help firms grow independently
- establishing a private sector-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology to support national coordination and growth in fintech across the UK
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “Fintech is one of the UK’s great success stories and will help us seize new opportunities around the world.
“We must now build on our global reputation for fostering innovative start-ups and ensure firms can access the talent, finance and support they need to scale up here in the UK.
“This review will make an important contribution to our plan to retain the UK’s fintech crown, create more skilled jobs, and deliver better financial services for people and businesses.”
Ron Kalifa OBE said: “Fintech has the power to change lives, both in terms of job creation and better wages that are so essential to our recovery; and making financial services more accessible and relevant to people’s lives.
“Britain has a proud record of starting-up and scaling-up some of the best known fintech products, but we cannot rest on our laurels. The next powerhouses will not be created by accident.
“We must continue to nurture our start-up culture, but crucially we must also give our high growth firms the support to become global giants.
“With the right reforms that encourage entrepreneurialism, investment and make it easy to attract and invest in talent, Britain can usher in a period of dominance that can help us build back better from Covid-19.”
ScaleUp Institute CEO Irene Graham OBE, CEO, said: “There is a huge economic and societal opportunity to be seized by backing our nation’s scaleups. This report builds on the evidence base and sets out some practical steps to leverage institutional capital more effectively and connect investors to the growth opportunities within the scaling fintech sector. We look forward to progressing this important work.”
Bristol-based LOQBOX is a free tool that allows users to repair their credit history by saving a set amount each month. The scheme is free and doesn’t require users to undergo a credit check, unlike a credit-builder credit card.
Loqbox co-CEOs and founders, Tom Eyre and Gregor Mowat said: “We have helped hundreds of thousands of UK customers to take control of their finances by building their credit score, saving money and learning as they go. Our growth plans don’t just focus on developing our existing proposition. We want to take our technology and innovation to the next level and do more to empower people. We recently launched LOQBOX in the US, the only free credit building solution (irrespective of where they bank) across 40 states. Now more than 80 per cent of Americans have the chance to build their credit score while they save money without it costing them anything”.
Mark Hoban, Chairman, Financial Services Skills Commission, said: “The Financial Services Skills Commission welcomes Ron Kalifa’s important and timely review into UK fintech. Skills are critical to the future success of financial services and it is essential that we invest in reskilling and upskilling to support growth, productivity and innovation. The review’s skills and talent recommendations highlight the importance of working together to build the skills of UK workers and attract talent”.