FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

CFIT starts to deliver on its Kalifa Review mandate, Open Finance coalition partners announced

London, 13th July 2023: CFIT, the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, has today announced that its initial ‘Open Finance Coalition’ will demonstrate the power of leveraging financial data to deliver better financial outcomes to consumers and SMEs. It also announced the first coalition partners who have committed to progressing Open Finance in the UK, alongside the FCA regulatory support.

Founding coalition partners include: the Association of British Insurers, Allen and Overy, Amazon Web Services, Experian, the City of London Corporation, EY, HSBC, IBM, Innovate Finance, iwoca, KPMG, Leeds City Council, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, MBN Solutions, Monzo, Open Banking Limited, the Open Finance Association, Revolut, the Smart Data Foundry, and Zopa Bank; with the support of the FCA.

CFIT’s mission, as mandated in the Kalifa Review of UK FinTech, is to unblock barriers to growth for financial technology and positioning the United Kingdom as a global leader in financial innovation. Acting as a central convening force, CFIT brings together time-limited coalitions of experts from finance, technology, academia and policy-making to identify and remove obstacles to FinTech sector growth, support the creation of high-income tech-based employment across the UK, and enable firms to achieve global scale.

Based on the Kalifa Review recommendation that Open Finance adoption will create substantial opportunities for better consumer and SME financial outcomes in the UK, CFIT announced Open Finance as the focus of its first coalition in April 2023. Over recent weeks, CFIT has carried out an extensive programme of work to validate the key areas within Open Finance that the initial coalition will work on.

Through a series of in-depth conversations, surveys and research, virtual workshops and interviews, national events and regional showcases that have taken place throughout the UK, CFIT has now prioritised work on demonstrating the power of financial data to deliver better financial awareness for consumers and SMEs. These represent the largest opportunities to showcase the power of Open Finance, giving both individuals and SMEs the ability to better manage their savings, cashflow, investments, pensions and insurance, leading to a positive outcome for the nation’s financial health.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of CFIT, said: “Over recent weeks we have engaged, listened and prioritised the areas where the effective development of Open Finance and a modernised ecosystem will provide better financial health for all UK citizens. FinTech is an industry that cares about the end user, and the ecosystem has told us they want us to focus on delivering better consumer financial outcomes and SME financing.

“This Open Finance coalition is the first time that such a cross section of the ecosystem has come together to solve complex challenges in this way and on this scale, and we thank everyone who has already committed to working with us. We look forward to working with these and additional partners,

as they will play a critical role in providing the solutions needed to ensure the coalition is successful in delivering tangible results that benefit society as a whole.”

The initial organisations committing to the Open Finance coalition include:

The Association of British Insurers, Allen and Overy, Amazon Web Services, the City of London Corporation, Experian, EY, HSBC, IBM, Innovate Finance, iwoca, KPMG, Leeds City Council, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, MBN Solutions, Monzo, Open Banking Limited, The Open Finance Association, Revolut, the Smart Data Foundry and Zopa Bank; with the support of the FCA.

The Open Finance coalition will kick off their programme of work this summer to identify and unlock access to data sources that have the potential to improve consumer financial outcomes and access to financial services for SMEs. From September, working groups will then accelerate the ideation and create specific outputs, such as new proofs of concept, products or data partnerships between incumbents and FinTechs that will make a real difference to businesses and consumers across the UK.

Charlotte Crosswell OBE, Chair of CFIT, said: “We have the foundations and all the ingredients to drive Open Finance forward. Given the current challenges related to the cost of living, we firmly believe that by leveraging existing data and unlocking new datasets, we can have the biggest impact in the shortest time on the wellbeing of UK SMEs and consumers.

“We will be able to show the impact that an ambitious Open Finance roadmap can have. The time for action is now, to ensure that we continue to lead the world in financial innovation whilst maximising economic growth across all regions of the UK.”

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of CFIT, concluded: “The work of the Open Finance and all future coalitions is enabled by industry associations and the regional FinTech bodies. We’d like to thank Innovate Finance, FinTech North, FinTech Scotland, FinTech Northern Ireland, FinTech Wales, FinTech West and SuperTech, for their unwavering support.”

Andrew Griffith, MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said: “The UK pioneered the adoption of Open Banking, which today is used by over 7 million consumers and businesses. Our vision is to build on this success, to forge a dynamic and inclusive financial data sharing market that is fit for the future.

“I am thrilled that CFIT will be doing just that, as it launches its initial Open Finance coalition. This first coalition unites industry leaders and will harness the transformative potential of financial data to deliver better outcomes for consumers and SMEs in the UK.”

Jessica Rusu, Executive Director of Data, Technology, & Innovation, and Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition of the FCA, said:
“Supporting competition and innovation to benefit consumers and businesses is a priority for the FCA. Open Banking and Open Finance have the potential to bring transformative benefits to UK financial services and will help the UK become more competitive and innovative. As such, we are delighted to support CFIT’s first coalition. We will assist the coalition through the sharing of our regulatory knowledge and expertise and our ongoing open banking work that is being delivered through the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee.”

Responses from partners

Janine Hirt, CEO of Innovate Finance said:

“As the voice of UK FinTech, Innovate Finance is delighted to be part of CFIT’s first coalition and represent the innovators and entrepreneurs transforming financial services for the better. It is crucial that we advance Open Finance and financial awareness in the UK, both for the benefit of consumers and to cement the UK’s position as a global leader in FinTech. We look forward to working with CFIT and the other coalition partners to deliver on this front.”

Andy Sacre, Head of Payments, Monzo said:

“We are excited to join the Coalition and partner with CFIT in an effort to unleash the potential of Open Finance. Open Banking-powered features are central to our mission to make money work for everyone and are loved by Monzo customers who benefit from visibility over every penny they spend, save and borrow across multiple accounts in one place. Initiatives such as these are critical for the UK to establish a regime that encourages innovation and empowers customers to take control of their financial lives.”

Ian Stuart, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC UK said:

“By collaborating across the most pioneering companies and organisations in the world today, the UK is poised to play a leading role in shaping the future of financial innovation on the global stage. As a world-class bank, HSBC UK has innovation at its heart and an unparalleled global network to ensure businesses and consumers are set up for success. We are proud to join the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) and help realise this ambition.”

Hannah Gurga, Director General, Association of British Insurers said:

“We strongly believe in the power of working together as a sector to innovate and deliver better outcomes for customers. Data will always be at the heart of our work. We welcome the CFIT Open Finance Coalition. This is an important initiative to help support businesses and customers at a time when many of them will need it more than ever.”

Chris Hayward, Policy Chairman, The City of London Corporation said:

“I am pleased to announce the City of London Corporation as a member of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology’s (CFIT) first coalition. First as a seed investor, and now as a member of this coalition, the Corporation is delighted to be a new part of the next phase of CFIT’s mission to unblock barriers to FinTech growth in the UK. Open finance is an area of tremendous opportunity – particularly around better SME and consumer financial outcomes. The strong group represented through this coalition represents the very best of the UK’s finance, innovation, and technology ecosystem, and I know it will deliver even further on the recommendations from the Kalifa Review.”

Sigga Sigurdardottir, Managing Director, Experian Consumer Services said:

“Delivering better financial health for consumers and businesses is a major driving force for our business. We are excited about the potential of the Open Finance coalition to create a collaborative network that deploys the latest financial, technology and data innovations to both improve financial inclusion and deliver better outcomes for people across the UK.”

Nick Levy, Partner, Financial Services IBM said:

“IBM is delighted to be joining the CFIT coalition. The UK is already a global leader in technology and IBM

is excited about the vision CFIT has set out to utilise a ‘coalition’ of experts to position the United Kingdom as a global leader in financial innovation by accelerating opportunities and unblocking barriers to growth.”

Kelly Devine, President, UK&I at Mastercard said:

“There’s never been a better time to support SMEs and help people improve their financial awareness. If we can solve these challenges through innovation, we can bring millions of people into the financial fold and grow the economy. No organisation can do this alone, so by pooling the data, expertise and technology of this coalition, we can grow the UK FinTech industry, supercharge innovation, and improve financial inclusion in the UK.”

Alan Ainsworth, Strategy and Policy Director, Open Banking Limited said:

“As policymakers define the future of open banking, we look to future possibilities that this technology can unleash with huge optimism. Open Banking Limited is delighted to engage with initiatives such as the CFIT Open Finance coalition, taking the foundations of open banking and applying it to other smart data initiatives. We’re looking forward to seeing the development and delivery of new propositions and innovation that will bring further benefits to our small businesses, citizens, and UK plc as a whole.”

Nilixa Devlukia Chair, Open Finance Association said:

“The OFA is delighted to partner with CFIT and the other coalition participants to progress Open Finance and to showcase how access to financial data can support better outcomes for consumers and SMEs. As the voice of Open Banking and Open Finance in the UK we welcome the advancement of the Kalifa Review to ensure that the UK continues to be a global leader in innovation for financial services.”

Adam Gagen, Global Head of Government Affairs, Revolut said:

“Revolut is proud to be contributing to the CFIT initiative. We’re excited to work with industry peers to prove what is possible if the UK embraces Open Finance, and to build tools that will help British consumers and businesses do more with their money.”

Bryn Coulthard, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Smart Data Foundry said:

“Working with CFIT and the coalition partners to accelerate innovation in Open Finance is a natural alignment with Smart Data Foundry’s purpose to unlock the power of financial data to help improve people’s lives. We’re excited to work in coalition with so many fantastic organisations to create real impact in this area driving positive change for consumers and SMEs alike.”

Merve Ferrero, Chief Strategy Officer at Zopa bank said:

“We are delighted to be part of CFIT’s first coalition. The financial technology industry was built on the principle of driving positive change for customers, so we must act now to advance open finance and financial awareness in the UK. Our shared vision for exceptional customer outcomes will guide our work as we set out to raise financial awareness for those who need it most.”

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