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UK Chancellor hails ‘fintech innovation’ and promises bonfire of EU financial regulation

Just a few weeks into a job that may only last a few months, Nadhim Zahawi has offered a taste of what may be in store for the UK financial services market.

a man in a suit holding a red box

HM Treasury

Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's new Chancellor of the Exchequeur, has set out his vision for financial services in the UK including the adoption of crypto assets.

In his first speech since taking on the role from Rishi Sunak, the current favourite to be the UK’s next prime minister, Zahawi who is a successful entrepreneur hailed the UK market and in particular its fintech ecosystem.  

“Our objective is clear: to keep the UK the most open, inclusive, welcoming, competitive, safe, and transparent place to do financial services business, in the world.”

“We have the talent, the education system, the time zone, the deep and liquid capital markets. High-quality regulation, globally respected institutions, a stable and renewed legal regime."

“Globally leading research, incredible FinTech innovation, best-in-class cyber expertise. This is where the world comes to finance everything from infrastructure to innovation to the net zero transition.”

These, he added, give the government “the tools we need to seize the opportunities of Brexit”.

Today the government will bring forward a bill that it hopes will become law governing financial services regulation which will include the repeal of “hundreds” of pieces of retained EU law.

Interestingly this will include new powers for the financial regulator to boost competition. Zahawi said. 

“UK financial regulation will once again be decided in the United Kingdom, for the United Kingdom, by the UK’s expert, independent regulators. And, as the regulators take on new responsibilities, we will give the FCA and PRA a new, secondary objective: to facilitate growth and competitiveness,” he said. 

By making both growth and competitiveness a formal objective, he believes there will be a greater focus on medium to longer-term productivity.

With a leadership election underway and a new cabinet likely to be formed by September, the question will be will the Chancellor still be in a job by then.

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