Autumn Statement: £500,000 for fintech specialists and new annual census
THE TREASURY has pledged to spend £500,000 a year helping to attract investment in the UK’s fintech sector.
In Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, it said that the Department for International Trade will provide the funding for “fintech specialists”. A Treasury spokesperson told Peer-to-Peer Finance News that the specialists would support businesses in the sector that want to expand internationally, building on the previously-announced ‘fintech bridges’ with China and Singapore. “The specialists will help UK fintech firms looking to expand abroad, or firms in places like Singapore that want to expand into the UK,” the spokesperson said.
The Treasury also announced that it has commissioned an annual ‘State of UK Fintech’ report, providing key metrics for investors. The report will be undertaken by accountancy firm EY and fintech industry body Innovate Finance.
“The census will provide a crucial fact-base for investors, policymakers and other stakeholders to understand the industry and to chart its growth,” said Imran Gulamhuseinwala, global head of fintech at EY.
“It will also allow us to compare the UK industry to that in other leading fintech hubs and highlight areas where the UK needs to improve, drawing on best practice from other leading fintech hubs which we may wish to emulate.”
The government also outlined plans for “a network of regional fintech envoys”, who will champion the sector and attract investors in other parts of the country, including Scotland.
These are just the latest efforts to attract more investors to the sector. In October, the Treasury announced plans for a new, annual fintech conference in London to address a “gap” in attracting international investment compared to other countries. And earlier this month, peer-to-peer lenders including RateSetter and Funding Circle met with government ministers to discuss the future of the industry.
The Treasury also said in the Autumn Statement that it will modernise guidance on electronic ID verification to support the use of technology to access financial services.
“We support the proposed increased funding in fintech as firms need more support in scaling up from start-ups,” said Carol Knight, chief operations officer of financial services trade body TISA.
“However, this funding needs to be supported by improvements to the authorisation process which currently takes too long. We are delighted with the proposed review of the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) guidance which supports our collaborative work on rolling out a digital ID.”
EY’s research for the Treasury earlier this year showed that in 2015 the sector made £6.6bn in revenues and attracted £524m in investment. With around 61,000 people employed in the sector, more people work in fintech in the UK than in New York, or in the combined fintech workforce of Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.