Foreign talent a top priority in Fintech review

The Fintech sector is worth around £7 billion to the UK economy. What are the priorities of the Fintech Strategic Review panel?

Fintech symbols superimposed over the London skyline
The panel appointed by the government to conduct a review of the UK's burgeoning fintech industry has met for the first time in the latest effort to put technology at the forefront of the nation's economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fintech Strategic Review panel priorities

The Fintech Strategic Review, under the chairmanship of former Worldpay CEO Ron Kalifa, will "establish priority areas for industry, policy-makers and regulators to explore in order to support the ongoing success of the UK fintech sector," according to HM Treasury.Recommendations from the panel are expected to be presented to the government early next year. Currently, the UK fintech industry is estimated to be worth around £7 billion to the economy and employs about 60,000 people.Policies for the development of home-grown skills along with a continued ability to attract overseas talent have been made a top priority by the government."The review will make recommendations for building a robust and diverse UK workforce qualified in areas relevant to emerging financial trends, through developing a domestic skills base and addressing barriers to attracting foreign talent," according to the panel's terms of reference. Last year, the UK fintech industry attracted about $48.5 billion of investment, according to KPMG, almost double the $25.4 billion total injected into the sector during 2018.

Statement from the Economic Secretary to the UK Treasury

Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said as the panel met in London for the first time on Monday, “The UK is one of the leading places in the world to start and grow a fintech firm, and I am determined to ensure this continues.“The sector is worth around £7 billion to our economy and will therefore be vital in ensuring both that the country bounces back post-Coronavirus, and continues to be at the forefront of financial innovation now we have left the EU.“This independent review will help us to uphold and enhance our global reputation, support growing firms, and promote the integration of new technologies across financial services to the benefit of businesses and their customers.”
The review has been asked to address five 'work streams' and provide recommendations on skills and talent, investment, national connectivity, policy, and international attractiveness.
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Creating a UK financial services ecosystem that is sustainable, inclusive and world leading

Mr Kalifa said, “Tech-based solutions in financial services have experienced wide-scale adoption in the UK, with growth fuelled by a favourable startup environment that supports entrepreneurship and innovation.“This review will ascertain what is required to accelerate this change, to create a financial services ecosystem that is, above all, sustainable, inclusive and world leading.“Technology has a vital role to play in the UK’s Covid-19 economic recovery. The fintech review will ensure that we can leverage this innovative technology to help consumers and businesses, through a joined-up strategy that combines investment, skills and policy to deliver it.”

City of London Corporation: "a very positive step"

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation - which, along with Innovate Finance, is providing the secretariat for the review - described the formation of the panel as "a very positive step" in the post-pandemic recovery process.“The crisis has accelerated consumer demand for digital transformation across financial services, so this a timely opportunity to ensure that our objectives for the future as a sector match our ambition," she said.“It is absolutely critical that we maintain our strengths in innovation as we face the future and this review will help us do so.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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