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The Open Finance Association (OFA) launches at Houses of Parliament

Several of the UK’s most successful fintech firms joined the event, which looked to improve collaboration and debate around implementing Open Finance.

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John Penrose

The Open Finance Association (OFA), a not-for-profit fintech trade association, has held its official launch event at the Houses of Parliament, featuring attendees such as TrueLayerPlaidGoCardlessArmalytix, Crezco, finAPI, Nuapay, Ordo, and Token.

The OFA was launched with the aim of furthering open finance in the UK and EU, and empowering consumers and businesses to make better use of their financial data and payments. 

The launch event was hosted by John Penrose, a conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Weston-super-Mare since 2005, who has previously served as Minister of State in the Northern Ireland Office.

The OFA operates from both Brussels and London, with the aim of helping to shape Open Finance developments in both jurisdictions with an independent secretariat based in both cities.

Nilixa Devlukia acts as independent chair of the new organisation

The exec has previously held senior positions at the Financial Conduct Authority and Barclays as well as the Open Banking Implementation Entity, and the European Banking Authority.

Talking to AltFi exclusively about the event, Devlukia said "Open Banking is an unfinished experiment, covering only a sub-set of the accounts that people across the UK use each day".

The payments exec pointed out how Open Banking in its current state excludes things like savings accounts, investments, loans, pensions, and mortgages, whereas Open Finance "is about the value for consumers and businesses of obtaining holistic control and visibility of their financial lives".  

"It’s about putting consumers and businesses in control of all of their financial data and supporting functionality for third parties so that they can unlock this value, and empower the user," she added. "OFA will help bring our sector together and combine our collective expertise and experience to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to transform financial services as we move towards open finance".

Devlukia went on to say that one of the firm's immediate priorities was to expedite appropriate legislation and regulation which will allow the sector to build on open banking and expand to Open Finance. 

In addition, Devlukia said the body is also squarely focused on getting an independent successor to the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) that has "the mandate and powers" to oversee the implementation and maintenance of Open Finance.

The exec also feels it's vitally important that open finance access is to be facilitated using secure APIs, "ensuring lower barriers to entry for third parties, and maintaining high levels of trust in the ecosystem".

Talking about the news to AltFi,  Dan Morgan, European Policy Lead at Plaid highlighted how any delays to the UK’s Open Finance proposals “risk leaving people here behind and stifling innovation”.

The exec went on to highlight how the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) have already improved competition in the UK's retail banking sector.

“Our goal is that with the help of the rest of the Open Finance Association members, we can all work to implement an open finance framework that allows open banking to evolve so startups, traditional institutions, third-party providers, and policymakers can all better serve consumers and enable them to manage their money however they want,” added Morgan.

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John Penrose

Member of Parliament for Weston Super Mare.

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