Landmark moment for UK fintech as the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) launches – powering up the UK’s financial innovation sector

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Focus is on maximising economic growth across all regions of the UK and ensuring better outcomes for fintech firms, SMEs and consumers.

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), backed by HM Treasury and the City of London Corporation, launched today at an event in 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.

At today’s launch, the organisation will make two initial announcements. Firstly, CFIT will announce the establishment of financial innovation hubs with a comprehensive reach across the UK’s regions including Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as major cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. These hubs will drive national connectivity, by enabling cross-sector experts with a local focus to input on barriers to growth and ensure solutions benefit the whole of the UK.

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.

Sarah Williams Gardener, CEO, FinTech Wales said: “FinTech Wales is looking forward to collaborating with Charlotte, Ez and the team at CFIT to tackle the barriers our members tell us are holding back innovation and growth for UK FinTechs and industry disruptors.

“As the voice of the Welsh FinTech cluster, and a not for profit members organisation, we are looking forward to convening our regional experts and stakeholders to support the CFIT coalitions and working collaboratively with other regional contributors. It’s imperative now that we bring together the best and brightest minds to ensure CFIT can be additive and focus on the wicked problems to drive growth and innovation.

“We truly believe that diversity of thought and experience, and being comfortable pushing boundaries will ensure the UK’s leadership position in FinTech. We’re certainly stronger together!”