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March 19, 2015

Make UK the world’s ‘premier’ Fintech hub, says GoScience

A new report outlines recommendations for making Britain a capital for financial technology.

By Alexander Sword

In the wake of a tech-heavy budget from Chancellor George Osborne, the Government Office for Science (GoScience) has published recommendations for making the UK the premier financial technology hub of the world.

In a new report entitled Fintech Futures, the agency suggests that the UK should set up research councils and incorporate Fintech teaching into degree courses.

In addition, the report commented that the state should set up laboratories for trialling new business models, where "early development can occur without the direct participation of consumers or business partners by means of computer modelling."

GoScience also suggested that the government should set up regional hubs to expand the sector beyond London and the South East, where it is currently firmly rooted – a situation that the report labelled as "both a danger and an opportunity."

Additional attention was given to regulation, with the report suggesting that regulating technology based around a sector with extensive compliance requirements would present considerable challenges.

"The UK will be the premier location for starting, growing and retaining innovative financial technology businesses," the report reads. "The UK environment will provide outstanding access to leading academic talent, investment & facilities and promote global thought-leadership on emerging digital solutions.

"It will provide unrivalled international connectivity, a regulatory environment that balances risk and innovation, and foster and maintain the optimal conditions for growing businesses."

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Lisa Moyle, Head of Financial Services & Payments at techUK, commented: "techUK welcomes the Government’s stated ambition for the UK to cement its world leading position in developing Fintech, and to become a global hub for financial innovation.

"techUK has consistently highlighted the urgent need to modernise the complex legacy banking technology infrastructure to enable financial services to maximise the potential of new and emerging technologies.

Moyle added: "The report notes that government could take the lead in commissioning a ‘digital modernisation strategy, helping to reduce the drag of legacy and complexity of technology infrastructure’.

She continued: "This comprehensive review of Fintech covers issues of importance across the financial technology sector, including employment, skills, the regulatory environment, globalisation and inclusion, highlighting both opportunities and potential challenges. It is a welcome assessment of an industry where the UK has the potential to be a global leader."

The report comes as Osborne pledges £600 million to clear new spectrum bands and promises funding for public wi-fi.

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