The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), a UK quango charged with unblocking barriers to growth for fintech, has opened a National Hub in Leeds.
The creation of the CFIT was a key recommendation of the 2021 Kalifa Review of UK Fintech. HM Treasury gave the green light to the project in the 2021 Spending Review, allocating £5 million to fund its creation
CFIT’s core objectives are to bring together time-limited ‘coalitions’ of experts to address barriers to fintech sector growth; and to support the creation of high-income, tech-based employment nationwide; firms achieving global scale; and improving access by citizens and small businesses to financial services.
Charlotte Crosswell OBE, chair of CFIT, says: “The launch of CFIT today represents a significant moment for the UK’s fintech sector and our economy more widely. This organisation will enable us to come together as a sector to start breaking down barriers that the fintech sector is facing while creating a clear path for our homegrown fintech companies to achieve global scale, impact and success."
CFIT will announce the establishment of financial innovation hubs with comprehensive reach across the UK’s nations and regions - including in key growth centres such as Leeds. The city has seen enormous fintech growth since 2020, with its number of fintech firms more than doubling to 107, and valuation of firms doubling to reach £710 million - supporting over 7,500 jobs.
Ahead of the launch, the Economic Secretary, Andrew Griffith MP, will be visiting the UK Infrastructure Bank’s (UKIB) site in Leeds, which is expanding its floor space to accommodate 280 new employees. The Bank currently has around 180 staff, with an increasing number of permanent employees.
Since its introduction 20 months ago, the bank has made ten investments in sectors ranging from solar energy to fibre broadband, and has crowded in £4.6 billion of private finance in the process.
UK Infrastructure Bank CEO, John Flint says: “The fact we are anchored in Leeds is a key part of our identity. It aligns with our mission to drive up regional and local economic growth. It also makes us part of a growing movement, with many other significant organisations - for example, Channel 4, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the National Infrastructure Commission - establishing or expanding bases here.”