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Who is Charlotte Crosswell, incoming trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity?

A familiar face is arriving to oversee the OBIE’s next steps.

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Charlotte Crosswell.

News last week that open banking trustee and chair Imran Gulamhuseinwala had resigned over his mismanagement of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) and had allowed “a culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail” stunned the open banking sector.

But Gulamhuseinwala’s departure amid such a challenging time for the OBIE invites an obvious question, who will be his replacement?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was quick to put forward a familiar face, revealing that nominated as the OBIE’s replacement trustee is Charlotte Crosswell.

Who is Charlotte Crosswell?

Crosswell is a familiar face for those in finance as she most recently led the fintech membership group Innovate Finance for just shy of four years.

The executive took over from Lawrence Wintermeyer in 2017 as the third CEO of the organisation and led its increasing involvement in public policy, including acting as the co-secretariat for the government’s Kalifa Review into UK fintech.

Crosswell also campaigned on behalf of alternative lenders during last year’s Covid pandemic to ensure their inclusion in the government-backed emergency lending schemes.

Before Innovate Finance, Crosswell spent over a decade climbing the ranks at the London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq before becoming CEO of Nasdaq’s derivatives trading market. 

She then turned her attention to fintech with several strategic advisor and board director roles before scoring the top job at Innovate Finance.

In April, Crosswell stepped down as CEO of Innovate Finance and handed over the reins to Janine Hirt.

What will her new role be?

Perhaps the bigger question around Crosswell and the OBIE is what exactly her role will be.

The incoming trustee joins an organisation at a crossroads, not just in how it deals with and recovers from the damning report on its senior leadership mismanagement, but also a crossroads on the very future of open banking.

With the recent addition of variable recurring payments, the OBIE has completed the CMA’s mission to implement open banking.

Its future direction is undecided, although the competition regulator is nearing the end of its deliberation over who should maintain and develop open banking going forward.

Crosswell believes the OBIE is in “a strong position to successfully take open banking mainstream”; however she’s clearly aware that this decision is not hers to make.

“I look forward to the CMA’s consultation announcement into the future governance of the OBIE and I hope that this will give us greater clarity and enable us to implement fully the kind of leadership, governance, structure and culture that is important for a progressive and permanent organisation.”

Undoubtedly, given the appointment of a new trustee by the CMA, the OBIE will continue to play a part in the open banking story.

Just how big a part, we’ll have to wait and see.

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