Review author hails fintech funding boost as ‘final piece of jigsaw’

Ron Kalifa hailed £5million in new funding for the Centre for Finance Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

Charlie Conchie
Monday 08 November 2021 00:01
The author of a Government-backed review has hailed a £5 million boost he says will aid the sector’s growth (Tim Goode/PA)
The author of a Government-backed review has hailed a £5 million boost he says will aid the sector’s growth (Tim Goode/PA)

The author of a Government-commissioned review of UK fintech has heralded a funding boost the final “piece of the jigsaw” needed to deliver a strategy for the sector, even as a major industry body attacked the Government for failing to act fast enough.

Ron Kalifa, who delivered an independent review of UK fintech on behalf of the Treasury earlier this year, told the PA news agency that £5 million funding for the Centre for Finance Innovation and Technology (Cfit) announced in the Spending Review will be key to delivering a national strategy for fintech.

Mr Kalifa said: “That is really the main outstanding piece of the jigsaw that needed to be done as it relates to the strategy.

“Everything else is relatively well established and on its way.

“From a budget point of view, all I wanted was really for that to be endorsed and seed funded. And we’ve got that, so I was delighted with where we’ve landed.”

One of the key recommendations of the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, released in February, was the creation of Cfit to “coordinate targeted fintech policies that aim to scale the sector”.

Mr Kalifa said that Cfit will now help deliver a consistent approach for fintech across the country.

But Mr Kalifa’s comments come as the independent fintech industry body Innovate Finance, which supported Mr Kalifa in creating the review, attacked the government for inaction in delivering on its recommendations.

Adam Jackson, director of policy at Innovate Finance, said: “The main policy and regulation recommendation that has been ducked so far is for a FinTech strategy.

“Kalifa recommended a government task force to join up and develop a single, cohesive strategy.”

However, Mr Jackson said that UK fintech firms currently face a “barrage of different officials and organisations” that lacked any joined-up strategic approach.

Innovate Finance said that good progress had been made on some individual policy and regulatory initiatives, but called for faster progress on the future regulatory framework, including crypto regulation and open finance.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation and national connectivity lead for the Kalifa Review, told PA that the Government had welcomed the findings of the review and been responding to the recommendations throughout the year.

He said: “Last week’s budget was further evidence of that, where it was confirmed that they will be seed funding the Centre for Finance Innovation and Technology, one of the major recommendations to come from the national connectivity stream of the Kalifa Review.”

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