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The Future is Bright for London’s Fintech Scene: Fintech Week London Round-up

Fintech Week London returns for a 4th year running, celebrating London’s innovative fintech scene.

Held at the Park Plaza Victoria London, the flagship conference brings together insightful speakers from across the industry, as well as over 1000 senior decision makers from leading fintechs, banks, investment firms, regulatory bodies, media companies and service providers.

The future of fintech

Looking to the future has been a key theme of the agenda, with the opening keynotes being focused on what’s coming next for the booming industry.

Howard Dawber, deputy mayor, business and growth, Greater London Authority opened the day’s sessions with a speech discussing London’s strengths in financial services, as well as its potential for growth, innovation and collaboration.

He said: “London is a place of innovation, a place where people adapt, where we try things out. Bringing different technologies together to solve problems gives London a huge competitive advantage and creates a global stage for companies to disrupt and improve the financial services industry.  Our strengthened financial services in London lays the foundation for a very successful and thriving fintech industry.”

Fintech Week London future of finance

Similarly, Lord Chris Holmes, MP in the House of Lords, highlighted the importance of regulation and how the government has a huge role to play in fintech development moving forward.

“Bad regulation doesn’t mean that regulation is bad,” he said. “History always tells us that the right size regulation is an enabler of innovation and a driver of inward investments. Recent examples prove that point.”

Fintech Week London Lord Chris Holmes

Spotlight on Starling

Next up to the stage was Starling Bank, with a fireside chat looking at what’s next for the company. Starling Bank has paved the way for banking innovation and remains firmly at the forefront of the digital banking revolution.

Mariam Ogunbambi, chief client officer at SaaS cloud-native banking software providers Engine by Starling, and Nike Shoge, head of commercial growth, Starling Banking Services were joined by Dr Leda Glyptis, NED, advisor, author and speaker, to look ahead at the future of Starling and its unique spot in the market.
Shoge said: “Just touching back on the culture, you know, we have these five core values across the entire organisation that flows right from board level through to those people working on the frontlines. And we’ve touched on actually a couple of those already which is:
  1. Do the right thing
  2. Listen. So that’s whether that’s listening to your colleagues and to your customers.
  3. It’s about aiming for greatness, which is what Starling is doing.
  4. Be empowered to move that forward. Take risks if you have to. and not be afraid to make mistakes.
  5. Keep it simple.”

Fintech Week London Starling growth

Is AI transforming finance?

Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence was a major topic during the event, with many fireside chats and panel sessions mentioning the topic in some way.

In his keynote: ‘How rules-based AI is transforming the financial services sector’, Professor Ian Horrocks, professor of computer science at the University of Oxford, addressed how AI can help the industry step into the future.

He said: “There are these different kinds of AI and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. So as we’ve already seen the rules-based AI works with a combination of data and knowledge. It can be used to combine those in order to answer complex questions. Machine-learning on the other hand, works well in settings where we have a lot of data but it might be quite noisy. And it can use this data to train a model and then we can use that model to answer usually relatively simple questions.”

Fintech Week London AI

Later at the event, Theo Lau, founder of European impact tech investors Unconventional Ventures, delivered her own keynote on AI, discussing the funding boom the industry has seen in recent years.

She said: “See, it takes money to get more money. It takes money to get data. It takes money to train the data to retain the data or to get talent. You need money to get the talent to compete to get the people to be able to afford the time and resources to actually do something interesting.”

“What is your role in this world? What is the role in the world where there are over 7100 living languages spoken in the world today, but yet, how many of these large language models represent the rich culture and the diversity of the world that we live in. So if we say AI is the future, what are we doing about it, are we leaving the rest of the world behind?”

Fintech Week London Artificial Intelligence

Data, data, data

Elsewhere at Fintech Week London, Gina Clarke, Europe content director, Money2020 moderated a session on data, risk and Fraud. Joined by Karen Zhang, fintech lead and VC partnerships, Google, and Zahra Shah, board advisor, technology advisor panel, senior board advisor, cofounder and investor, NexaQuanta, ICO, TeamUp Ventures and Seers, the panel discussed the current landscape and how organisations need to stand up in the fight against fraud.

Shah said: “The MENA region has looked to Europe for regulatory guidance. They’re still behind a couple of the privacy regulations here. I think that’s exactly what is going to happen with DORA and the AI act too – the region will look to Europe to see how it’s being adopted and implanted before it does so itself.”

Fintech Week London data, risk and fraud

Customer focused

In the afternoon, the panel “How do you measure how customer-centric you actually are?” took to the stage to explore consumer-centricity and what it means to have the customer at the heart of everything you do.

Jas Shah, founder and fintech product consultant at product consultancy bitsul, Ana Athayde, SVP and global head of transformation & strategy at customer experience technology company Foundever, Ez Britton, CEO at Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), Meaghan Johnson, founder at Digital Magss, a customer experience and strategy consultancy, Saira Khan, head of innovation and partnerships at First Direct Bank (HSBC), all took to the stage to share their insights about the serving your customer;s

Britton said: “For me, it’s about really understanding who the end user is. It’s understanding what that journey is for them. The most important thing is making sure that your end goal is to super-serve that consumer. And for all the younger start-ups out there, that’s the one advantage you really have, as well. As a big business. As you scale up, it gets harder and harder to see. I know businesses that don’t care about you unless you have $100million. For smaller businesses, your ability to see those particular end-user customers is your secret sauce and is where you’ve got to put your time and your energy.”

Khan added: “The onboarding process is still a very important process for every customer regardless of what industry you’re in. The moment you walk into a doctor’s surgery, the moment you have a meeting with somebody you get that first impression. And delighting somebody after that becomes a lot harder.”

Fintech Week London customer centricity

Making payments

Finally, Nicola Marins, senior sales manager at Paysafe and Clare Ambrosino, senior corporate affairs manager at Open Banking, focused on the future of cards and open banking in their fireside chat all about cards and payments.

Marins said: “There are definitely gaps that can be found and I think it all depends on what we are currently seeing, we’re hoping that the smart data bill will come through now, if you plan to expand into different sectors that is incredibly exciting because it will mean that we’ll see very interesting use cases in the energy sector or the mortgages sector. So it’s not just about payments. It’s about smart data being used for the benefit of consumers.”

Fintech Week London cards and payments


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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