FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

Re-watch & write-up: FinTech and Green & Ethical Finance 29/04/21

On Thursday 29th April, the Northern FinTech community came together virtually to explore Green and Ethical Finance in FinTech.

A big thank you to our event partners WellHouse for helping us to shape the content on this one. WellHouse provide NED, advisor or consultancy services, depending on the firm’s needs, to the wealth management and FinTech sectors, with a particular focus on ESG and digital transformation.

For those who were unable to join the session live, we have produced a recording. Click the image below to view the recording and read on for the write-up.

Joe Roche, Engagement Manager at FinTech North, welcomed guests on behalf of FinTech North on what was FinTech North’s 5th birthday! Joe explained the work FinTech North do in the ecosystem, before handing over to Julian Wells, Director at Whitecap Consulting and FinTech North, to chair the event.

Julian Wells welcomed guests on behalf of Whitecap Consulting, Julian gave an update on the FinTech sector nationally. On the back of UK FinTech Week last week, with events taking place across the UK, Julian is seeing more and more focus on the regions.

From Whitecap’s perspective Julian observed that there is a common theme running through all the ecosystems they work in: more and more interest in ethical finance, green finance and financial inclusion.

Julian then handed over to Georgina Mitchell, Founder of WellHouse, to set the scene.

Georgina explained the background behind the term ESG (environmental social governance). To that, Georgina also added responsible, sustainable and impact.

“If investors and lenders put their money into companies that do good, there is less money to be loaned or invested into companies that do bad” – Georgina Mitchell, Founder of WellHouse


In simplified termsGeorgina explained the terminology and different classifications through the spectrum of capital, also talking through the concept of Greenwashing and the significance of various definitions.

“To what extent is the impact more important to you than the experience?” – Georgina Mitchell, Founder of WellHouse

Our next speaker was Matt Latham, co-founder of Liverpool based FinTech tickr. tickr are an impact investment platform. Matt spoke about their story and belief that investing can be a force for good. tickr’s users are mostly first time investors, and they have a near 50-50 gender split on their platform.

“We don’t believe that impacting investing should effect your returns” – Matt Latham, Co-founder, tickr


“Often people buy an ESG product and think that they are impact investing.” – Matt Latham, Co-founder, tickr



Will Smith and Peter Kirby, co-founders of tred, were our next speakers.

“We are living through a green revolution” – Will Smith, Co-founder, tred


81% of people in the UK say climate change needs an emergency response. tred is a card born out of this; they are a debit card with open banking-enabled carbon offsetting embedded to their offering. Every transaction helps plant trees, helping you spend ethically.

Peter Kirby, co-founder, explained the data and technology behind the tred platform; which captures all spending data via open banking and the tred debit card. 11,000 different credit cards are able to connect with the platform, which tracks your spending data and collates it into a carbon footprint. This enables you to identify areas to prioritise in reducing your carbon footprint.

90% of people don’t know what their carbon footprint is. This is a huge problem and one of the biggest unlocks to fighting climate change.


Andrew Jackson, Managing Director of Swishfund, was our next speaker. Swishfund are a carbon neutral alternative lender, mainly to SME’s. 23% of Swishfund’s portfolio is in the North. Andrew sees huge potential in the North, for the expansion of their business and their growth.

Andrew announced a campaign to offset 10 tons of campaign for every customer from the 1st May. This is done via a combination of building windfarms in India and planting trees in the UK.

Swishfund are exploring making of environmental responsibility a credit indicator – in the future these businesses will be more sensible investments to lend to. Swishfund extend their focus beyond the environment and into ethics: Swishfund’s terms and assessments are designed to be as neuro-diverse and accessible as possible.


“Finance needs to be inclusive” Andrew Jackson, Managing Director, Swishfund


Jeff Poole was our next speaker, talking about improving home efficiency via using FinTech. Improveasy are saving carbon before it is actually emitted.

Residential homes account for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

“The impact of individuals and households is really big and important to address.” Jeff Poole, Director Consumer & Business Finance, Improveasy


Jeff provided an overview of recent green initiatives; all of which have had varying levels of success. Jeff highlighted that lenders are reluctant to lend in this space, giving the example of recent controversy around solar panels.

Jeff talked through the tech behind Greater Manchester-based Improveasy; creating a platform based on Microsoft technology stack.

We then gathered our speakers together for an interactive panel discussion and audience Q&A. Julian introduced two new speakers; Moira O’Neill, Head of Personal Finance, interactive investor and Iain Clacher, Professor of Pensions and Finance at Leeds University Business School.

Interactive investor are the UK’s second largest investment platform. They have seen an increase in young people taking an interest in investing, particularly ethical investing.

“Investing sustainably isn’t going to harm your profits, you can have your profits with your principles.” – Moira O’Neill, Head of Personal Finance, interactive investor

Iain is involved in the government funded £10m UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment which is a national centre led by the University of Oxford with, Imperial, Bristol, and Reading, which will have two innovation hubs with one in Nexus in Leeds and the other in the Royal Institution with Imperial in London. CGFI is building a platform with transparent data and climate and environmental risk analytics. Partnering across Financial Services, the centre is working with pensions, asset management, insurance, re-insurance, critical infrastructure, banking, and legal services as well as cross-cutting bodies such as the CFA, A4S, CISI, and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.


Panel Q&A:

Question re B – corps: what extra confidence to people get from this badge and is it better understood:

Matt – “It’s becoming a more recognised accreditation on a consumer basis. We wanted a way of publicly acknowledging we practice what we preach. We were already aligned with many of the metrics required by their assessment criteria.”

Georgina – “There has been a 600% increase in people going for B-corps accreditation in the past year.”


Question – how do we have an impact in a way that protects consumers?

Iain – “There are two different things that you are trading off, the risk that an investment [that you make] goes bad, and the risk that you are holding an investment today that goes wrong…looking at investment, there are certain things the government should be stepping into deal with and de-risk, so you might still have a pension fund investing but it is done through co-investment. And there are other things around making sure [investment] products do what they say on the tin.”


Final Question – what is one thing will accelerate impact the most?

Georgina – “Boards, specifically behavioural change led by the boards.”

Jeff – “Legislation, for renewables lending to gain pace they need to be underwritten by the govt.”

Will – “Education.”

Peter – “Behavioural change.”

Matt – “You need all, legislation could go way further.”

Andrew – “Deliver a range of ‘What’s in it for me?’ – that could be fun, financial benefit, social recognition, or just making people feel good about themselves.”

Moira – “Legislation, because the educational hurdles are too great.”

Iain – “Legislation, make people do it because they won’t do it themselves, as companies and individuals.”


Thanks again our event partners WellHouse for their support on this event. Our next event is on the 28th May. For more information on speaking, sponsoring and partnerships – please contact our Engagement Manager Joe Roche (

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