UK Government unveils Fintech Strategy

A new cryptoassets task force, advances in RegTech and a UK-Australia startup support programme are the major initiatives to emerge from the UK Government’s first Fintech Sector Strategy.

Unveiling the porgramme at an international fintech conference in London, Chancellor Philip Hammond says the strategy will help create an economy fit for the future.

“I am committed to helping the sector grow and flourish, and our ambitious Sector Strategy sets out how we will ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution.”

Topping the bill, the Cryptoassets Task Force consisting of HM Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority will scrutinise the risks related to digital currencies and seek to harness the benefits of the underlying blockchain technology for the wider financial sector.

Hammond is also pushing for the creation of a new set of industry standards to enable fintech firms to more easily partner with banks and the creation of software to help startups navigate the regulatory maze.

Recognising the the regional input from firms based outside London, the Government will also appoint three new Fintech Regional Envoys to ensure the benefits from the strategy are felt the length and breadth of the country.

At the conference the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, will also announce that Tech City UK is building a comprehensive Fintech Programme across the country to support new companies in the sector across the UK.

Specifically, TechCity’s Fintech Delivery Panel is working with Barclays’ Connect with Work programme that sets out to find and recruit people over 16 with the right aptitude and attitude to work in fintech, but who face barriers to doing so. It is also collaborating with the British Standards Institute and five major banks to help banks and startups achieve partnerships faster. The aim is to produce a set of onboarding guidelines that fintech companies can use to assess their readiness to partner with a major financial institution.

TechCity has additionally committed to rolling out a six-month long accelerator programme specifically for early-stage fintech B2B companies.

The day-long event will also welcome Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison – a self-professed ‘fintech junkie’ – who will co-sign a new Fintech Bridge agreement designed to support startups as they enter each territory and harmonise policies across a range of issues relevant to the sector.

Says Hammond: “Today’s UK-Australia Fintech Bridge agreement is our most ambitious to date. It will bring together our regulators, policy makers, and private sectors to build an improved fintech ecosystem to support the growth of our fintech markets. This is underpinned by the most advanced regulatory partnership that the FCA has signed, connecting the UK to a market of 24 million people and ensuring stronger commercial ties with Australia’s rapidly growing fintech sector.”