The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has recently announced an “ambitious programme of new initiatives” to help aid the UK’s fintech and financial services sector. Speaking at UK Fintech Week, the Chancellor delivered the opening keynote laying out plans to help fintechs scale up and ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of digitalising finance.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “Our vision is for a more open, greener, and more technologically advanced financial services sector. The UK is already known for being at the forefront of innovation, but we need to go further. The steps I’ve outlined today, to boost growing fintechs, push the boundaries of digital finance and make our financial markets more efficient, will propel us forward. And if we can capture the extraordinary potential of technology, we’ll cement the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.”
He announced that a new task force will be launching between HM Treasury and the Bank of England to explore a potential UK central bank digital currency. Two new forums will also be established to engage technical experts and key stakeholders (including financial institutions, merchants, business users, civil society groups, and consumers) through the process. Alongside this, the government will also be setting up a new financial market infrastructure sandbox for firms, as well as consulting on reforms to capital markets to ensure the UK continues to have the highest possible regulatory standards.
He further announced that the government will be publishing plans on how to take forward the recommendations on the recent Lord Hill Listings review, as well as setting out their response to the Kalifa Fintech Review published in February.
The Chancellor highlighted three steps that they will be taking, firstly reforming the visa system to help firms complement their domestic recruitment efforts with the “best and most promising tech talent from around the world. Secondly, he announced that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be taking forward a regulatory scale box – a package of measures to help fintech firms grow. And lastly, the Chancellor committed that the government will work with the fintech community to realise the idea of a new industry-led centre for finance, innovation and technology to utilise and enhance fintech expertise across the UK.
“This is an incredibly important moment for the UK financial services sector,” said Sunak. “If we can capture the momentum, the excitement and the extraordinary potential of the technological revolution that you are leading, we can make real our vision of this country as the pre-eminent financial centre in the world.”
The response to these plans has been positive from fintechs and financial institutions.
City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness said: “We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s proposals to enhance the UK’s competitive advantage in fintech. We are particularly pleased that many of the recommendations made in the Kalifa Review will now be taken forward.
“This is a vital step if we are to maintain the competitiveness of a sector which has a huge role to play in driving the post-pandemic recovery across all sectors of the economy, not only financial services.
“We also welcome the new steps set out by the Chancellor to support fintech’s growth across the UK with the creation of a new FCA ‘scale box’ and an industry-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology. These are critical measures to ensure that our fintech across the UK can continue to thrive. We look forward to continuing to play our part on this important agenda.”
Rafa Plantier, Head of UK & Ireland at Tink, said in response to plans for a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology: “This is a clear step in the right direction to support fintechs across the UK to continue their growth trajectories — and to create centres of excellence not only in London but also in other major cities in Britain. Not only will this body enable the fintech industry to continue to flourish in the UK, but it will also drive growth internationally.”