The chancellor delivered his first Budget against a challenging backdrop for the UK’s economy and health system alike.

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The UK Government to undertake a review of the UK’s fintech scene.

 Rishi Sunak set out plans for a major independent review of the UK fintech sector, fintech has become a critical part of the UK economy and no longer just a London story. Fintech has major clusters now in Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast to name a few.

Britain has long been known as a leading hub for financial services. The combination of technology is transforming this industry, accelerating the UK’s role even further.

There have been record levels of investment in the sector, creating many unicorns and new business models, along with increased choice for consumers. The UK stands as the global leader in fintech but we can not stand still, we must build on this successes.

There are promises of increased funding and support for the sector in the recent Budget statement. What will the review focus on? What will be the specific areas of increased funding? and will the further support be in the correct areas?

Mark Walker, Editorial Director for The Fintech Times spoke to several people from different areas of the industry to understand the view from the industry, will this be a good thing for fintech?

Michael Kent, Chairman of global digital money transfer firm Azimo, said

“I am excited to hear about the government’s promise to increase funding and support for fintech – Ron Kalifa is a great ambassador for the industry and the government to account. However, talent is the lifeblood of the fintech industry. If the UK is to remain a globally competitive fintech hub, we also need assurances from government that it will make it easier for highly skilled tech workers to move here and sustain the growth of the sector.”

Rhydian Lewis CEO at RateSetter said:

 “The UK’s reputation for fintech innovation across investments, payments and banking is second to none and the fintech industry is delivering greater value, utility and financial inclusion to many millions of people.

 “The fintech sector is maturing and becoming mainstream, and I warmly welcome the Chancellor’s timely announcement of a strategic review to ensure that the best fintech businesses can scale up to become major financial brands, both in the UK and internationally. I look forward to engaging with Ron Kalifa on the review.”

Sam O’Connor, CEO, Coconut response:

“Small businesses and those that are self-employed are the lifeblood of the UK economy and we welcome the additional £130m for start-ups and SMEs. With more than five million self-employed in the UK, we hope that the funds will trickle down to this important group of entrepreneurs and not focus purely on the largest SMEs with the most resources.”

Tim Hardcastle, CEO and founder of INSTANDA commented:

“As an insurtech, naturally we are supportive of anything that promotes innovation, particularly within the insurance industry. It’s therefore great to see increased measures introduced yesterday that benefit both R&D investment and tax credits and will in turn will play a significant role in supporting future innovation.

“Whilst the help is of course welcomed and will be important for the insurance industry, I believe that there is more that could and should be done from within to foster innovation, stimulate growth and frankly be a better industry all in all. In particular, insurance carriers need more options available to them to address the challenge of creating secure and scalable technology solutions. This is a challenge for which a solution is far greater than simply receiving more R&D support. It requires a mind shift more generally, one in which the industry opens up and embraces technological developments that are already readily available to them here today.

“Over the last three years in particular, we have seen an increase in insurers recognising the importance of working with insurtechs to drive digital transformation and bypass outdated legacy systems. This is promising, but there is still further to go. Ultimately, the winners will be those who embrace this technological evolution, and innovation will only truly be embedded once this mind shift takes force across the industry as a whole.”

Franz Doerr, founder and CEO of flatfair, said:

“I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement to support the UK’s world-leading fintech sector, along with the wider digital economy. Harnessing technology to solve everyday problems has the power to transform millions of consumers lives, whether that is how they shop, bank or even rent. Innovation always requires nurture and support, but also investment. Making sure the UK is primed to incubate and host fintech companies  will only help the sector keep attracting the much needed capital from venture funds and private equity that is so vital for its growth.”

Richard Wilson, CEO of interactive investor, said:

“ii employs some 500 people across three UK offices, and I am very pleased the Chancellor has announced a Fintech review, that will also include the UK’s regions.  Our largest team is in the Manchester head office – where we have 250 people helping our customers leverage the power of technology to invest for their futures – and ii will work with and support any government that can help our great cities develop more tech skills, attract more fintech’s, and bring jobs into the UK’s budding metropolises.”

Michael Harris, Director Financial Crime Compliance at LexisNexis® Risk Solutions,

Financial crime is ever evolving, which means it’s vital that organisations are continuously investing in the latest technologies to trace illicit fund flows and keep pace with bad actors. The Financial Intelligence Unit and National Crime Agency, however, have been left behind when it comes to investing in these areas.

 The Economic Crime Levy is very welcome as it should, in theory, restore this balance, giving them the much-needed additional resources to invest in the technologies and people required to efficiently and intelligently cross check data and analyse suspicious activity reports in depth. To better detect and mitigate financial crime, it’s vital that the investment is made in these areas, and this doesn’t become yet another initiative that doesn’t deliver.

 However, responsibility for fighting financial crime doesn’t lie solely with financial institutions. The problem spans all industries, therefore to make a true impact we need cross industry collaboration, from real estate to retailers, that is driven by government. In doing so we will be able to see the true scale of the problem and take the right steps to tackle it.”

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