Financial technology (FinTech) is a sector of huge importance to the UK. It is not just economically significant, but also provides forward motion and technological development which really benefits every single one of us. I remember having to go to the bank in person if there were any changes you wanted to make, or having to put your card into an ATM to be able to see your balance. The difference between this and the sleek streamlined mobile apps we have now could not be more stark, and this is all down to strides made in our vibrant FinTech industry.
The City of London has historically been a world-leader in the uptake of new technology and embracing game-changing ideas. Financial hubs around the world look to us with jealousy and seek to replicate what we have. The Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘Sandboxes’ have been a great example of an innovative policy – allowing businesses to test new ideas and products with real consumers.
We are currently well-placed, with investment in FinTech firms in the UK being £27.5bn last year – larger than the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa put together. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and we should always be striving to improve.
In my role as Chair of the APPG FinTech, I have spoken to many key players in the industry, and it is vital that we work hand in hand with them as we go forward. The rest of the world is constantly evolving and developing, and we cannot afford to offer opportunities and markets to our competitors.
Digital assets are going to be of huge importance in the not so distant future and, along with crypto-currencies and other technologies such as blockchain, we must be sure to embrace them. We should be seeking a regulatory framework that keeps London as one of the most attractive destinations for investment and talent, whilst also providing adequate safeguards for consumers, and I have written to the FCA to put this point across.FinTech also plays a role in international transfers and transactions. Given the ongoing troubles in Ukraine and international sanctions it is important that we examine the use of Fintech in cracking down on fraud, money laundering and sanction evasion and I hope to hold a session on these issues in the near future.