Who are the top female fintech leaders of 2020?

By Aisling Finn on Monday 14 December 2020

FeaturesAlternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

Being a leader can be a tough job, especially in 2020, so here are five female leaders who really stood out this year. 

Who are the top female fintech leaders of 2020?
Image source: CoWomen/Pexels

In fear of sounding like a broken record, this year has been a bit of a rollercoaster, to say the least.

The year looked to be starting off strong with a series of record raises and acquisitions, only for the country to be plunged into lockdown in March.

Since then, some fintechs have thrived and others have just survived. 

But, despite the rocky year, there have been some standout cases of leadership from some of the UK’s strongest fintechs and while fintech is marginally better for gender diversity than other sectors of the industry, there are still fewer female leaders than men.

To celebrate the incredible fintech achievements we’ve seen this year, AltFi rounded up five standout leaders who we think had a really stellar 2020.

Anne Boden 

The first leader on this list needs no introduction. 

Founder and CEO of Starling Bank, Anne Boden has led her bank to be one of the standout fintechs of the year.

Starling was one of the first fintechs to jump onto the government-backed lending schemes and has since lent out £1 billion in Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loans.

The digital bank was also one of the first challenger banks, after OakNorth of course, to turn a profit, reaching the ever-elusive profitability last month. 

Anne Boden’s bank also became the most switched to account in the second quarter of 2020, displacing rival Monzo. 

As well as propelling her bank into the limelight, Anne also published her second book, ‘Banking On It’, this year and was also made a board member of the Department for International Trade’s post-Brexit Board of Trade.

You can find Anne tweeting here: @AnneBoden

Charlotte Crosswell 

Charlotte Crosswell is the CEO of fintech industry body Innovate Finance and also sits on the board of UK Finance, advises the government on fintech strategy and sits on several other boards of startups and technology companies.

Throughout 2020, and beyond, Crosswell has been one of the most advocates for fintech. 

Earlier on in the year, she was instrumental in calling for the government to widen the scope of lenders able to lend to SMEs under the government-backed loan schemes and was also a key figure calling for the schemes’ extension

Crosswell has regularly helped fintechs join the conversation, for instance in May, Crosswell wrote a letter to the government on behalf of fintech SME lenders, including the likes of iwoca and MarketFinance, arguing for equal access to the 100 per cent guaranteed Bounce Back Loans.

If you want to learn more about the outstanding work that Charlotte is doing for fintech, you can follow her on Twitter here, @ccrosswell, and Innovate Finance here, @InnFin.

Joanne Dewar 

Joanne Dewar has been at the helm of payment processing firm Global Processing Services (GPS) since 2018, holding other key roles within the company, including deputy CEO and chief operating officer, before assuming the CEO position.

GPS has long-powered many fintechs’ cards, this year teaming up with digital banking app sync. and controversial new fintech Lanistar, to name but a few.

Following a prosperous 2020, Visa made a strategic investment into GPS for an undisclosed amount.

The payments giant invested the cash into GPS to help the smaller payment processing firm accelerate its global expansion plans.

As well as teaming up with several fintechs, GPS was also selected to join the UK government’s initiative, London Export Champion, which would see Dewar join a community of leaders who have successfully expanded their business abroad. 

Dewar was also invited by HM Treasury to join the strategic review of the UK Fintech Sector, which is lead by Ron Kalifa OBE.

You can find Joanne tweeting here, @JoanneDewar.

Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia 

Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia has been a powerhouse in the world of finance for nearly four decades before jumping over to fintech. 

The former Virgin Money boss launched her first fintech, Snoop, back in April of this year, a month ahead of schedule. 

Since then, Snoop, under Gadhia’s leadership, has raised over £19m, including a heavily oversubscribed crowdfunding campaign that raised over £10m, and counts the likes of Lord Brown’s Havisham Group, Travelex Founder Sir Lloyd Dorfman and Salesforce Ventures as investors.

In the nine months that Snoop has been live, the app has been downloaded over 125,000 times and promises to save the average customer £1,500 per year by using a mix of AI and human expertise to assess policies from over 1,000 providers to make sure its customers are getting the best deal. 

As well as Snoop being a hit with its customers, there have also been reports that rival comparison site MoneySuperMarket made a tentative attempt to approach Snoop with the offer of a proposed takeover —proof that Jayne-Anne and her fledgeling fintech are making waves in the industry.

You can follow Jayne-Anne on Twitter here: @gadhiaj.

Romi Savova 

Romi Savova is the co-founder and CEO of digital pensions provider PensionBee.

PensionBee has had one of it’s busiest years to date, with the fintech now holding over £1.2bn in assets under administration from over 65,000 invested customers. 

During lockdown, the fintech saw a 37 per cent jump in customers completing their first pension transfer between March and July compared to the same period in 2019.

Thanks to such a strong 2020, PensionBee has also made steps towards becoming public, announcing that it is exploring a listing on the London Stock Exchange in November. 

As well as sitting at the helm of PensionBee, Savova is also a member of the team that is helping to realise the long-awaited Pensions Dashboard Programme and was also the highest placing woman on the Telegraph’s Tech Hot 100, coming in at fifteenth with a net worth of around £108m. 

Romi can be found tweeting here: @romisavova.

And with that, we have rounded up the five leaders who we feel really stood out for all the right reasons in 2020.

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