New UK fintech conference to address funding gap
THE UK government is planning to hold a new, annual fintech conference in London, to address a “gap” in attracting international investment compared to other countries.
The decision to kick off the conference series was prompted by an EY report earlier this year that found London was the world’s leading fintech hub.
But the report also found that the UK’s fintech sector is falling behind other countries in terms of capital investment.
In 2015, the UK attracted £524m in funding, compared to £3.6bn by California and £1.4bn by New York.
The conference will look to fill this gap by creating opportunities for international investors to finance UK fintech firms looking to scale up, the government said.
The first conference will take place in April 2017.
“Backing Britain’s world leading financial services industry is a key part of our plan to ensure the UK remains a great place to do business,” said City minister Simon Kirby.
“The government is determined that London stays at the cutting edge of financial innovation and that’s why we will host a new, annual fintech conference to boost capital investment in one of our fastest growing sectors.
“This will bring together hundreds of British fintech firms and investors from around the world and cement our position as the global fintech capital.”
The decision to focus on fintech is a promising sign that Philip Hammond’s reshuffled Treasury could be as positive towards the sector as the department was under his predecessor George Osborne. The former chancellor was the architect of the Innovative Finance ISA – the tax-free wrapper around peer-to-peer finance investments – so the industry has been waiting to see what reception it gets from the new government.
Funding Circle’s chief executive and co-founder Samir Desai told Peer-to-Peer Finance News at the LendIt Europe conference earlier this month that his initial conversations with the new Treasury had been “very positive” and that the government “recognises the role that alternative finance is providing to get more money to small business borrowers, help create jobs and stimulate the economy.”
Britain’s fintech sector now employs over 61,000 people and in 2015 it generated £6.6bn in revenue.