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UK sees launch of Innovate finance in August 2014

11. August 2014

Government aims to foster the UK’s financial technology leadership through new industry body

Chancellor George Osborne launched a new industry body called “Innovate Finance” on 6 August 2014. The organisation is located at the Level39 accelerator in Canary Wharf, London's financial center.

Innovate Finance aims to facilitate financial technology innovation by establishing a single access point for the financial services and technology sector. Among the organisation’s over 50 founding members are The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Visa and IBM as well as business intelligence start-up DueDil. The organisation brings together large financial institutions and financial technology start-ups from a range of financial and technology sectors. Claire Cockerton, Innovate Finance’s CEO and Level39 Head, expects that the trade body will have attracted 200 members by October 2014.

George Osborne hopes that Innovate Finance together with an environment which is conducive for fostering alternatives to traditional banking such as peer lending, virtual currencies and mobile banking will contribute to securing the UK’s leadership position in financial technology.One example of the government’s commitment to promoting the financial technology sector is a new requirement for banks to refer SMEs whom they denied funding to alternative lenders.

The launch of Innovate Finance follows a series of recently established funds and support programs by major banks in 2014 and 2013. Spanish bank Santander announced a USD100 million venture capital fund in July 2014, which will operate out of London but will invest globally in financial technology start-ups. Similarly, HSBC announced a USD200 million fund for tech start-ups in 2014, while Barclays opened applications for its 3-months accelerator programme Barclays Accelerator in December 2013. The programme is located in London’s Tech City, but accessible for start-ups worldwide.

London’s tech start-up scene has seen launches of several successful tech start-ups such as Duedil. Launched in 2011, Duedil is an online due diligence tool which profiles 10 million companies in the UK and Ireland and is the UK’s fastest growing tech start-up. Supported by a number of private and public funds and programmes hopes are high that the next multi-billion success story is coming out of the UK.