West Midlands reaction to HM Treasury FinTech review

An independent review has set out a plan for the UK to retain its global leadership in fintech by helping the country’s financial technology firms to scale up, access the talent and finance they need, and deliver better financial services.

The UK has more than 10 per cent of the global market share in fintech and the sector is now worth more than £11 billion a year to the UK economy.

The independent review, led by Ron Kalifa OBE, finds the UK is at a pivotal moment and presents a wide-ranging strategy and delivery model to build on its existing attractiveness to start-ups firms and become the best place for a fintech business to reach global scale.

It marks an important step in the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plan to make the UK the most open and dynamic place in the world to operate a financial services business. The Government will now examine the recommendations and respond in due course.

The review highlights the opportunity to create highly skilled jobs across the UK, boost trade and extend a competitive edge over other leading fintech hubs. Recommendations include:

  • Introducing a new ‘fintech scale up’ visa route for specialists from around the world
  • Implementing a ‘scale box’ to provide regulatory support for growing firms
  • Improving UK listings rules with free float reduction and dual class shares
  • Creating a £1 billion-pound fintech ‘growth fund’ to help firms grow independently
  • Establishing a private sector-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology to support national coordination and growth in fintech across the UK

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“Fintech is one of the UK’s great success stories and will help us seize new opportunities around the world.

We must now build on our global reputation for fostering innovative start-ups and ensure firms can access the talent, finance and support they need to scale up here in the UK.

This review will make an important contribution to our plan to retain the UK’s fintech crown, create more skilled jobs, and deliver better financial services for people and businesses.”

Ron Kalifa OBE said:

“Fintech has the power to change lives, both in terms of job creation and better wages that are so essential to our recovery; and making financial services more accessible and relevant to people’s lives.

Britain has a proud record of starting-up and scaling-up some of the best known fintech products, but we cannot rest on our laurels. The next powerhouses will not be created by accident.

We must continue to nurture our start-up culture, but crucially we must also give our high growth firms the support to become global giants.

With the right reforms that encourage entrepreneurialism, investment and make it easy to attract and invest in talent, Britain can usher in a period of dominance that can help us build back better from Covid-19.”

David Stewart, Group Chief Operating Officer at Wesleyan and FinTech Co-Lead for SuperTech, said:

“The West Midlands is the UK’s largest centre for business, professional and financial services outside the capital. This deep rooted pool of expertise coupled with the region’s digitally savvy talent has cultivated a growing FinTech sector that already contributes more than £400 million per annum to the region’s economy.

“Leveraging the potential of FinTech as a driving force for local innovation, the West Midlands has created SuperTech, the UK’s first and only business-led organisation solely dedicated to the integration of technology in professional and business services companies. Through this supercluster, in line with the Kalifa Review, we aim to implement a number of strategies to ensure that FinTech firms can continue to grow, ensuring they are able to realise opportunities in complimentary sectors.

“As the Kalifa review highlights, FinTech is in no way a London only development. From home grown start-ups to foreign investors, The West Midlands is fast becoming a proving ground for companies exploring the future of payments – the wider ProfTech sector is on the same trajectory. Major catalytic initiatives in the region, such as the recent establishment of Europe’s largest asset management FinTech hub, The Engine Room, at Wesleyan’s head office in Birmingham continue to create the right growth conditions for the region’s 120 company strong FinTech sector.

“If the UK is to maintain its position as the world’s leading FinTech hub we must focus on scale and supporting regional specialisms, in the case of Birmingham – banking, lending and payments. As recommended in the report, a FinTech Growth Fund is critical and would support both levelling up and post pandemic recovery.

“The report clearly outlines the benefits of UK fintech cluster development. In the West Midlands we’ve gone further by creating a supercluster that will not just support the growth of Fintech, but also the adoption and development of tech solutions and businesses in all fields of business and professional services.”

Jof Walters, founder of Birmingham-based Million Labs and FinTech Co-Lead for SuperTech said:

“As the Kalifa Review identifies, investment and talent development are essential to the continued growth of UK FinTech. With increasing numbers of experienced finance and professional services employees furloughed or facing redundancy, SuperTech is launching a new training offering that provides the necessary skills to develop FinTech solutions and launch new businesses.

 “Virtually, every aspect of our lives has been transformed in the past 12 months, with technology playing a bigger role than ever before. When it comes to FinTech we are really only just touching the surface of what is possible. Through the SuperTech Seeds programme we’re not only helping to upskill our current workforce but also enabling those with a great idea to be able to seek investment much sooner than would be otherwise possible.”

To find out more about SuperTech Seeds visit: https://www.supertechwm.com/register