UK government promises money for fintech specialists

UK government promises money for fintech specialists

The UK government has promised to pump £500,000 a year into financial technology specialists and launch a network of regional fintech envoys as it seeks to shore up the country's position as a leading sector player in the post-Brexit era.

The funds will come from the Department of International Trade, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond revealed in his Autumn Statement.

The government has also commissioned an annual 'State of UK Fintech' report on key metrics for investors and has agreed with the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group that they will modernise their guidance on electronic ID verification to support the use of technology to access financial services.

Hammond's predecessor, George Osborne, repeatedly expressed his desire to help make the UK the world's fintech capital but London's pre-eminent position has been shaken in the wake of Brexit and the rise of Asian powerhouses, particularly China.

Just last week, Innovate Finance released figures showing UK VC investment for fintech firms decreased by 26% in Q3 2016 to $532 million and is approximately half of the total 2015 investment of $1.1 billion.

Another Autumn Statement measure that could help the UK fintech sector is the decision to invest, through the British Business Bank, an additional £400 million in venture capital funds that will make its way to "innovative" firms, such as those looking to shake up financial services, to help them scale up.

While welcoming the measures, Innovate Finance CEO Lawrence Wintermeyer notes that the statement is "light on light on measures that will address future visa settlement. The continued success of our FinTech sector depends on the ability for the UK to attract global talent and to develop local skills."

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