The UK has published the much-anticipated Kalifa Review of the jurisdiction’s fintech ecosystem.
The Kalifa Review, named for its author, Ron Kalifa OBE, provides a clear strategy and delivery plan to ensure the UK can capitalise on the opportunities fintech presents, according to Innovate Finance, which provided the secretariat for the independent evaluation, alongside the City of London Corporation.
The review highlights the opportunity to create highly skilled jobs across the UK, boost trade and extend a competitive edge over other leading fintech hubs. Recommendations include:
- Introducing a new ‘fintech scale-up’ visa route for specialists from around the world;
- Implementing a ‘scale box’ to provide regulatory support for growing firms;
- Improving UK listings rules with free float reduction and dual class shares;
- Creating a £1 billion fintech growth fund to help firms grow independently; and
- Establishing a private sector-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology to support national coordination and growth in fintech across the UK.
Commenting on the review, Charlotte Crosswell, chief executive officer of Innovate Finance, says: “Innovate Finance welcomes the timely contribution of the Kalifa Review. This is a vital intervention that has the potential to set the strategic direction of UK fintech for decades to come.”
“The sector has seen incredible growth, and fintech firms across the UK are ambitious in building, developing and scaling their businesses. The way that consumers and businesses are interfacing with financial services is rapidly evolving. We must respond to this changing dynamic and ensure we look to the fintech sector to advance these solutions. This will result in the creation of new digital jobs, inspire a next generation of entrepreneurs, and in turn enable the growth of global champions.”
“The UK attracts the founders behind some of the world’s most innovative businesses, so we must show that we remain an ambitious partner in a sector where we have been at the forefront of global thought leadership. We look forward to supporting the implementation of Ron Kalifa’s recommendations and strategy over the coming months.”
Jimmy Williams, chief executive officer of insurtech firm Urban Jungle, called the recommendation for the creation of a £1 billion fintech growth fund potentially the Kalifa Review’s “most impactful proposal”.
Williams says: “Currently, most fintechs are forced to look outside of the UK for funding when they get to a bigger scale. Typically, they seek investors in the US, where pockets are deeper. Having a major fund in the UK would be very beneficial and would mean the very biggest companies had more chance of remaining in the UK.”
“Fintech businesses tend to operate in massive markets with huge opportunities to scale, but their journey there can also be capital intensive. Further support through tax efficient schemes to bring more fintechs to market would definitely help the health of the ecosystem.”