Chancellor Rishi Sunak hails post Brexit UK financial services innovation

By Daniel Lanyon on Tuesday 10 November 2020

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

In a speech yesterday Rishi Sunak said the City of London’s post-Brexit future was positive while unveiling a series of commitments to, among other things, stable coins.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hails post Brexit UK financial services innovation
Image source: Rishi Sunak/HM Treasury.

The UK will see a “new chapter” of innovation in financial services after Brexit, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who says he wants to extend the UK’s leadership in financial technology (fintech). 

“The UK has long been a pioneer in financial services and will remain at the forefront of technological innovation," he said.  

The Chancellor says he wants to bolster “dynamism, openness and competitiveness” in the financial services sector, one of the most important to the UK economy and public purse.  

“Our plans will ensure the UK moves forward as an open, attractive and well-regulated market, and continues to lead the world in pioneering new technologies and shifting finance towards a net zero future,” he said. 

Following the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of the year much concern has bubbled over the past four years in many quarters about the UK’s future access to top tech talent, passporting rights within the bloc as well as other regulatory challenges.  

However, says Sunak, fostering innovation as well as positing the UK as a centre of green finance will prove fruitful for firms and broader innovation.  

“We are starting a new chapter in the history of financial services and renewing the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre. By taking as many equivalence decisions as we can in the absence of clarity from the EU, we’re doing what’s right for the UK and providing firms with certainty and stability.” 

Two nods to the fintech sector shone through. One being a review of the UK’s listings regime to “attract the most innovative firms” as well as an effort in “leading the global conversation on new technologies like stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies.” 

Stablecoins – privately-issued digital currencies – could, he said, transform the way people store and exchange their money, making payments cheaper and faster. 

“To harness the potential benefits of stablecoins, whilst managing risks to consumers and financial stability, the Government will propose a regulatory approach for relevant stablecoin initiatives that ensures they meet the same minimum standards we expect of other payment methods,” he said.  

Bob Wigley, Executive Chair of UK Finance said in a separate statement in response to the speech, that making the UK financial system the safest and most transparent place in the world to conduct business is vital for the UK’s future global success.  

“The creation of a strong but proportionate regulatory framework would enhance the banking and finance sector’s competitiveness and make the UK attractive for international investment, while maintaining robust levels of customer protection,“ Wigley said. 

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