George Osborne launches fintech innovation programme

Chancellor George Osborne launches a programme designed to put the UK at the forefront of financial technology (fintech) innovation

Chancellor George Osborne has launched a programme designed to put the UK at the forefront of financial technology (fintech) innovation.

The programme, Innovate Finance, is a private members association allowing participating enterprises a single point of access to fintech resources such as customers, educators and policy makers.

Osborne emphasised the future of finance technology is uncertain due to the amount of innovations produced, which is why government backing is important in ensure growth in the right areas. He hopes organisations such as this will lead to the UK being first in the world for finance technology.

Speaking at the launch, hosted by a fintech startup accelerator Level 39, he said: "The technologies you are developing have huge economic potential not just for the United Kingdom but for the world. 

"Just as the introduction of paper money hundreds of years ago revolutionised commerce, so the technologies being developed today will revolutionise the way we bank, the way we invest and the way companies raise money.”

The chancellor highlighted a number of government initiatives taking place to encourage innovation in the fintech sector, including a tag regime to allow peer-to-peer funding through the use of ISAs; extending already existing fintech funding by £100m; and establishing a scheme to provide startups which have been rejected by large banks with reasoning behind the decision so they are more likely to find support in the future.

The chancellor emphasised that innovation in the finance industry will transform business, and means more than just checking statements online - bypassing traditional banks to enable peer-to-peer lending, transferring money globally without fees and managing money any way you want.

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He said: "With the right backing from government, I think we can make London the fintech capital of the world."

Claire Cockerton, CEO of Innovate Finance, explained that in the growing financial technology sector, the UK is slowly pushing growth through innovation and support of industry change.

She said: “The world of financial services is in a period of rapid change and, as we all know, it needs to continue to evolve further financially and in reputation.”

Cockerton is also the deputy head of Level39, the largest startup accelerator in Europe. There has been a great push in the fintech startup industry recently, with organisations such as Barclays and Santander launching their own accelerator programmes to promote growth in the industry.

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