Leeds chosen for landmark UK fintech moment

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), backed by HM Treasury and the City of London Corporation, has launched at an event at Nexus – University of Leeds, in a landmark moment for the UK’s growing financial innovation sector.

The establishment of CFIT is a direct response to the recommendations outlined in the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, a seminal review that identified the steps that the UK must take to maintain its position as a world leader in fintech innovation. The organisation will act as a central convening force, leveraging expertise from across the financial innovation space to set strategic priorities and drive growth in the sector.

As part of CFIT’s implementation of the recommendations within the review, the organisation will bring together time-limited ‘coalitions’ of experts from finance, technology, academia and policy-making to identify and remove barriers to fintech sector growth, support the creation of high-income tech-based employment across the UK, and enable firms to achieve global scale. The work of the coalitions will be research-led and data-driven, with a focus on tangible outputs that will make a real difference to businesses and consumers across the UK.

Image from the back of the audience lookin at Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO-elect of CFIT speaking at a lectern on the stage

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO-elect of CFIT addresses the audience at the launch of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology

These hubs will support the work of existing regional clusters across the UK to advance fintech innovation, a move that reflects the impressive growth of the sector outside London – in 2021, regional fintech saw a 237% increase in investment from 2020

The second announcement will outline CFIT’s plan to continue the sector’s work with leading universities to give students the opportunity to participate in placements at the UK’s leading companies operating in the financial innovation sector. The placements will act as a vital platform for nurturing and developing fresh talent in the fintech industry, creating a pipeline of skilled workers. As many as 67% of the UK’s fastest-growing fintech companies consider talent a high priority.

Former CEO of Innovate Finance and Chair of Open Banking, Charlotte Crosswell OBE, has been appointed as CFIT’s Chair. Ezechi Britton MBE, former CEO of Code Untapped and outgoing CTO of Impact X Capital was recently announced as CFIT’s CEO.

Wide angle camera shot of the event, from above with audience looking towards stage with man speaking at a lectern.

Andrew Griffith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury speaks at the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology launch

Charlotte Crosswell OBE, Chair of CFIT, said: “The launch of CFIT today represents a significant moment for the UK’s fintech sector and our economy more widely. This organisation will bring together personnel from across the financial innovation ecosystem to break down the barriers that the fintech sector is facing while creating a clear path for our homegrown fintech companies to achieve global scale, impact and success. This in turn will deliver better financial outcomes for consumers and SMEs.

“Today’s announcement marks an important first step in our work to support the growth and development of the UK fintech sector, by empowering its talented innovators and trailblazers in every corner of the country, and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO-elect of CFIT, commented: “As a founder myself, I know that the UK is the best place to scale up for a fintech company. But we can’t rest on our laurels. Given the wealth of talent and innovative ideas in the sector, it is absolutely essential that we provide the right environment for our fintech sector to thrive and reach its full potential.

“In bringing together expertise from across government, industry, regulators and academia, I am confident that we can work to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of innovation and growth in the fintech sector.”

Andrew Griffith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, added: “The UK is a world-leading location for fintech growth and investment – it’s a real British success story and one that’s spread across the whole UK. Today’s launch of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology doubles down on this, boosting growth and investment in exciting cities for growth and innovation such as Leeds.”