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George Osborne launches Innovate Finance trade body at Canary Wharf

Announces £100m of additional investment for fintech sector

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Chancellor George Osborne today launched a financial technology trade body in Canary Wharf called Innovate Finance

The organisation, to be headed up by current deputy head of the Level39 accelerator, Claire Cockerton, pledges to support businesses in the UK developing financial technologies. 

Cockerton said: "Today we launch Innovate Finance, a membership-based organisation with entrepreneurship and innovation at its heart."

The organisation said it wants to become the single point of access for industry influencers, clients, technologies, talent, finance and international marketplaces.

“Innovate Finance will drive a more open, innovative and inclusive movement in financial services,” said Cockerton, adding that fintech companies need to pull together if the UK is to continue leading the sector.  

In addition to championing what’s happening in the UK, the body said it will provide start-ups with business opportunities and drive diversity of choice for consumers.

The organisation has 50 founding members that have digital products and services tailored to insurance, retail and investment banking, payments, remittance, crowdfunding, cloud computing, big data, analytics and alternative finance.  

Members are currently comprised of pre-revenue startups and multinational corporations across the insurance, retail and investment banking, technology, payments, remittance, crowdfunding and alternative finance sectors, among others. They include the likes of IBM, RBS, Transferwise and Currency Cloud.

But membership is open to all businesses that have a technology-centric approach to innovation in financial services and a presence in the UK.

Innovate Finance, funded with £600,000 from the City of London Corporation and Canary Wharf Group PLC, will pool knowledge with “sister organisations” such as Tech City UK and Tech UK. 

At the launch, held at the Level39 business accelerator in the One Canada Square skyscraper, Osborne said: "I want the UK to lead the world in fintech. We have all the ingredients we need. With the right help from government, we can turn London into the fintech capital of the world.

"We will ensure a regulatory environment that gives fintech companies and alternative finance lenders the ability to innovate,” he added, before going on to highlight new funding and a number of policy changes and consultations. They include:

  • £100 million of additional funding for the fintech sector
  • a review into fintech that will be carried out by the chief scientific advisor to the UK government
  • programme of work to investigate 'new' digital currencies
  • new legislation that will see banks forward businesses they reject to alternative lenders
  • a consultation on needs for future digital infrastructure
  • a consultation into 5G. 

Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation said there are certain areas he wants to focus on improving with the help of government and Innovate Finance. High up on his list was broadband, which has been criticised by businesses in the area for being too slow.  

"High-speed broadband is a critical part of the start-up culture," he said. "We are keen to work with Innovate Finance to bring this to London.”

The event was attended by 250 people from the fintech community, financial services industry, government and media.

The launch of the organisation coincides with a report out today from UK Trade and Investment and accountancy group Ernst & Young, which sets out the strengths of the UK’s fintech sector and the market opportunities for fintech companies. 

Sue Langley, CEO of the UKTI Financial Services Organisation. said: "The UK is fast becoming the destination of choice for any fintech company. The UK government is committed to supporting fintech companies. The new publication articulates the UK’s unique market opportunity making it clear why any fintech company should set up in the UK." 


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