DirectID backs calls for government support in the growth of Fintech

DirectID CEO is among 70 Fintech leaders to co-sign an open letter on the one year anniversary of the Kalifa Review.
Published on
February 22, 2022
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On 26 February 2021, Ron Kalifa published his independent review of UK FinTech, commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Innovate Finance and the City of London served as the co-secretariat for this report. The Kalifa Review identified the opportunity for Britain to build on our success as a leading global centre for FinTech, which will in turn:

  • foster job creation and high income tech-based employment across the UK, supporting the ‘levelling up’ agenda  
  • better leverage the FinTech sector as a core asset for Britain’s international competitiveness, by enabling more UK FinTechs to achieve global scale and reach, and lead on regulation and standard-setting 
  • help citizens and small businesses access more, better and cheaper financial services, creating a more inclusive, democratic and sustainable financial services sector

The Kalifa Review provided a clear strategy and a helpful roadmap set out across five chapters - policy & regulation; skills; investment; international; and national connectivity - to ensure the UK strengthens its support of the FinTech ecosystem and maintains its position as one of the best places in the world to start, build and scale a FinTech. 

The Innovate Finance membership community - and in particular the founders and CEOs of FinTechs based across the UK as listed below - have been pleased to see action taken to implement a majority of the Kalifa Review’s recommendations by UK Government, regulators and industry, including:

  • Government has committed its support to a new industry-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), which will help catalyse development of much-needed solutions to critical challenges facing the sector such as open banking, digital ID, and finance for small firms through the creation of key coalitions. Work is underway, led by the City of London, to have CFIT up and running this year.
  • On policy and regulation, the Bank of England has commenced work on a Central Bank Digital Currency; the FCA has set up a scalebox to support FinTechs as they grow and, with the City of London, have supported the development of Net Zero FinTech solutions through its digital sandbox; and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has progressed the introduction of Digital ID, together with industry-led task forces.  FinTech has also been recognised in new trade agreements with Australia and Singapore. 
  • On skills, at IFGS 2021 the Chancellor announced plans to implement a scale up visa, and, after a series of feedback consultations with Innovate Finance members and the broader industry, we eagerly await its introduction in April.  The Department of Education also held sessions with industry to better understand how the FinTech sector uses current government skills initiatives, such as apprenticeships, and what more is needed.
  • On investment, the Government and regulators have made good progress in overhauling the UK listings regime to make it more attractive to companies from around the world, with the creation of a “golden share” for founders and a reduction in the minimum free float requirement. In the Budget the Chancellor also confirmed that R&D tax credits for innovation will be extended to data and cloud computing (boosting investment in FinTech such as AI, open banking and SaaS) and allocated £160 million for the British Business Bank to co-invest with regional business angels, helping to address the early growth funding gap.
  • On international, the Department for International Trade announced a package of export support for the FinTech industry to boost trade, jobs and economic growth, including the FinTech Export Academy and FinTech Champions Scheme.  Innovate Finance is also convening industry partners and businesses to work with DIT, to ensure our FinTech export and promotional efforts are greater than the sum of their parts.
  • On national connectivity, CFIT will serve to convene and support our FinTech hubs across the UK.  The Review also spurred a number of short and long-term FinTech strategies across UK regions.

Continuing to Build Momentum 

It is clear that the above marks good progress made by the government, regulators, and industry. But rather than resting on our laurels, it is imperative that we continue to build on this momentum and work together to establish an environment in the UK that is even more supportive of and conducive to innovation in financial services.

The regulatory rule book requires further updating, and regulators must have the capability and culture in place to allow them to fully embrace innovation while protecting the consumer and financial stability.  The Future Regulatory Framework has identified international competitiveness as a secondary objective for the FCA and PRA - we believe it is critical that this is adhered to, and along with the scalebox approach, applied to all regulators.  In addition, we should seize on the opportunities afforded to us from leaving the EU. Regulators should take this opportunity to build a more proportionate regulatory and capital requirements regime for scaling and challenger banks. 

The Kalifa review also recommended the introduction of a full UK crypto regulatory regime to strengthen Britain's global position; to extend open banking to new areas; and to support the scaling of RegTech solutions. Across the multi-varied and fast-developing world of crypto and defi, we need to work together to create a clear UK strategy for growing global opportunities as well as managing risk.  We also need a vision for how the UK can be the centre for the next stepchange in data and AI solutions.

Furthermore, we must continue to better address the growth capital gap here in the UK. As part of this, we must work to shift the mindset of institutional investors in the UK to take a longer-term view and focus on growth opportunities here in Britain. We can also all do more to celebrate UK FinTech businesses, promote the benefits of investment and continue to support the world-leading ecosystem we’ve built over the past decade.

In addition, there is an opportunity for regulators and industry to further encourage larger UK institutions to invest more in advanced technology. 

There is also an opportunity to further nurture the high growth potential of the top 10 FinTech clusters across the UK, and accelerate the development and growth of FinTech clusters through further investment, such as in R&D.

And critically, we must continue to drive forward the timely delivery of CFIT.  It can be a catalyst to address the key challenges facing the sector, and we are keen to see it up and running this year.

Realising the Kalifa Vision

In light of the successes outlined above, it is now more important than ever that we - industry, government, and the regulators - do not pause, but rather build on this current momentum and commit to cement the UK’s position as the best location in the world to start, build and scale a FinTech business.  

FinTech is making a positive impact on the UK economy and society. New market entrants are challenging the status quo by providing consumers and small businesses with alternatives to the incumbent financial services providers, encouraging all financial services players to provide a better experience for the consumer.  Many FinTech companies are also supporting demographics that have traditionally been underserved by the sector, including providing SMEs finance for growth and unlocking opportunities for consumers to build their wealth through savings, pensions and investments in a much cheaper and more transparent way.   

The pandemic has increased the adoption of digital finance and placed a renewed focus on the critical role that technology and innovation must play if we are to make financial services work for all. Now is the time for even bolder action to realise the Kalifa Review vision: to work together to maintain the UK’s coveted position as the leading hub for FinTech, creating solutions that strengthen our economy, foster greater financial inclusion and wellness, tackle climate change and build a more sustainable financial services sector for all.

Sincerely,

Janine Hirt
CEO, Innovate Finance

Zeiad Idris
Co-Founder and CEO, Algbra

Samantha Bamert
CEO, AskIf

Mark Mullen
CEO, Atom Bank

Richard Bartlett
CEO, Auden

Avion Gray
Co-Founder, AVIONE

Paul Swinton
CEO, B4B Payments

Eric Mouilleron
Founder & CEO,Bankable

Marcus Treacher
CEO, CB Investment Growth Holdings

Tom Spanner
CEO, ChargeCheck

Guillaume Pousaz
CEO & Founder, Checkout.com

Charles McManus
Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, ClearBank

Justin Basini
CEO, ClearScore

Duncan Grierson
CEO & Founder,Clim8 Invest

Tom Beckenham
CEO, Comma

Charles Delingpole
Founder & CEO, ComplyAdvantage

Darren Westlake
CEO, Crowdcube

Michael Laven
CEO, Currency Cloud

Shachar Bialick
Founder & CEO, Curve

Gary Woodhead
Founder, CurveBlock

Steve Pomfret
CEO, Cygnetise

Katharine Wooller
Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Dacxi

James Varga
CEO, DirectID

Daniel Graf
Founder, Earthchain

Lewis Z. Liu
Co-Founder & CEO, Eigen Technologies

Wayne Johnson
CEO & Co-Founder, Encompass

Lisa Jacobs
CEO, Funding Circle

Valeria Vahorovska
CEO, Fondy

Simon Cureton
CEO, FundingOptions

Blair Halliday
Head of Gemini UK, Gemini

Joanne Dewar
CEO, Global Processing Services

Louise Hill
Co-founder & COO, gohenry

Sean Kiernan
CEO, Greengage

Brendan Shanks
CEO, Husky Finance

Matthew Megens
CEO, Hyperjar

Duncan Stevens
CEO, Intelliteq

Christoph Rieche
CEO & Co-Founder, iwoca

Thorston Peisl
CEO, KALYP

Frederik Davéus
CEO,Kidbrooke

Alex Marsh
Head of Klarna UK, Klarna

Rob Straathof
CEO, Liberis Group

Joakim Sjöblom
CEO & Co-Founder, Minna Technologies

Francesca Carlesi
Co-founder and CEO, Molo Finance

Samantha Seaton
CEO, Moneyhub

TS Anil
CEO, Monzo Bank

Adam Holden
CEO, NorthRow

Rishi Khosla, OBE
CEO and Co-Founder, OakNorth

Mike Tuchen
CEO, Onfido

Georgina Whalley
Interim UK CEO, OpenPay

Iana Dimitrova
CEO, OpenPayd

Keith Grose
Head of UK, Plaid

Tom Williams
CEO, Point Group

Anand Sambasivan
Co-Founder & CEO, Primary Bid

Jordan Mayo
CEO, Profile Pensions

Daniel Layne
CEO, QV Systems

Joe Norburn
CEO,Recordsure

Nik Storonsky
CEO, Revolut

Sam Handfield-Jones
Co-CEO, Seccl

Jeff Lynn
Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Seedrs

Jeff Kelisky
CEO, Seedrs

Andrew Evans
CEO, Smart Pension

Richard Prime
Co-CEO and Founder, Sonovate

Dominick Peasley
CEO, Sprk Capital

Anne Boden
CEO, Starling Bank

Otabek Nuritdinov
CEO & Co-Founder, StormPay

Paul Taylor
CEO and Founder, Thought Machine

Oliver Prill
CEO, Tide

Kirill Lisitsyn
CEO & Founder, Torus

Daniel Holden
Group CEO, Trust Payments

Karan Shanmugarajah
CEO, WealthKernel

Nilan Peiris
VP Global Growth, Wise

Dmitry Lazarichev
CEO, Wirex

Kieron James
CEO, Wonderful Payments

Tom Pope
UK Head, Tink

Stefano Vaccino
CEO & Founder, Yapily

Jaidev Janardana
CEO, Zopa

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