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The road to recovery is paved with fintech innovation

‘The UK can be at the forefront of technological development and we don’t need to start from scratch’

By Charlotte Crosswell, Chief executive, Innovate Finance

We are living through a time of unprecedented challenges and the decisions that we all make now will define the road ahead for our country for decades to come. 

The coronavirus pandemic, and the economic and health crisis it has created, have taken over government focus and attention, and rightly so. But we still remain in the midst of a historic climate crisis, with scientists believing we only have ten years to turn back the clock on the damage we have done to the planet.

With many newly emerging priorities, we’ve recently seen the UK’s Industrial Strategy updated, specifically to ensure we see a recovery with green initiatives placed front and centre. Next year, the UK will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 and the recent Green Horizon Summit explored the key role that finance and fintech can play in raising the capital needed to drive this greener change through.

How new sectors will fuel recovery

Decisions must now be made on which sectors to prioritise and how to successfully fuel growth in key parts of the country that will feed into the levelling-up agenda. Fortunately, the UK is already home to world-class innovation, particularly in areas such as fintech, and there is now a second wave of emerging sectors coming to the fore that will help solve issues created by the coronavirus pandemic.

This is why it is vital that the UK provides the support for these businesses to scale. This is even more crucial with many startups failing to get off the ground since the start of the pandemic and growth opportunities more difficult than ever before. International competition is also growing and should not be ignored.

The UK can be at the forefront of widespread technological development of the future and we don’t need to start from scratch. The fintech sector, and the wider innovation in financial services it has instigated, has demonstrated that we have the capacity to create an innovation-based ecosystem and scale it at pace.

Rather than wasting our limited time and resources outlining another new and more elaborate strategy, the UK should turn to the high-growth and dynamic sector at the heart of our existing tech industry – fintech – and use as a model for success and best practice, both at home and overseas.

Born out of the 2008 financial crisis, fintech created a generation of companies which have disrupted the financial services sector and changed it for the better, and what has followed is the development of a world-class financial technology ecosystem.

The UK is ready and ripe for innovation

Policymakers in the UK, both nationally and regionally, have worked hard to create a progressive, open-minded and outward-looking policy environment that has favoured this innovation and allowed it to thrive. What’s more, a world-class regulatory framework has crucially enabled firms to test new and innovative ideas with real customers in a controlled environment.

By supporting the influx of new products and services which challenge the status quo, fintech has served as the catalyst for wider adoption of new technology and innovation across financial services and transformed the sector for the better.

This move forward should provide the roadmap for many sectors in development now, used to shape the economy of the future. It is vital that we build a robust ecosystem which enables technology to thrive and creates the conditions for intellectual property to be developed.

There is no need to spend time seeking out complex answers and strategy, the innovation and transformation of financial services is a prime example of a success story that is sitting right in front of us.

Let us now use it as the blueprint to build industries which will define the future and pave the way towards a desperately needed economic recovery and a greener future for the UK.

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