What a brilliant and busy week celebrating UK Fintech.

As the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, said on Monday “fintech is punching higher and harder”.

In his speech he also highlighted progress one year on from the Kalifa Review and I’m particularly delighted that Ron Kalifa himself is chairing the Steering Group for the Centre for Finance Innovation and Technology, one of his key recommendations.

Another highlight was the emphasis on wanting this country to be “a global hub – the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies.”

As I wrote in a piece looking forward to fintech week:

Globally, it is a period of significant regulatory change to the crypto-asset sector, and it is vital that we foster the right environment for this sector to mature and grow in the UK.

The Westminster Series: Lord Holmes on UK Fintech Week, Finextra

This focus on getting the legal landscape, the regulatory environment right is absolutely essential – we must make the most of the opportunities whilst, of course, being alive to the risks.

This was a theme that ran through all the fintech week events I participated in:

  • an excellent discussion about embedded finance at IFGS2022,
  • a seminar to Liverpool University Management School and
  • a panel on diversity in fintech with Fintech North at the Bank of England

The other theme I was keen to draw out in each event was the potential of fintech for financial inclusion. Financial services must enable and empower – individuals, SMEs, communities – and fintech offers such incredible potential to do just that, to enable and empower those previously or currently underserved by traditional financial services.

Financial and digital exclusion are linked, however, and the most vulnerable people in society are feeling their impacts. I believe fintech is the future but industry and government have a collective responsibility to help people be financially and digitally included, whether that be through distributing free devices, providing online banking training, or ensuring in-branch services survive.

If we can make some significant strides towards financial inclusion, everybody benefits. It makes sense socially, economically and psychologically – there are no downsides.

Lord Holmes, Spotlight on Fintech, New Statesman

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