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£5.5m national fintech centre opens in Leeds

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A new, government-backed national hub for fintech has launched in Leeds with the stated aim of helping UK fintech firms to achieve truly global scale.

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) is backed by £5.5 million of Treasury and City of London Corporation funding and seeks to build on the dominance of the UK’s fintech sector, which already supports around 2,500 firms and tens of thousands of jobs in the UK, and is second globally only to the US for fintech investment, ahead of economic behemoths such as China and India.

It will provide a boost to people and businesses alike, enabling both to benefit from technological change and innovation, widening consumer choice, cutting costs, and increasing efficiency for business.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith said: “The UK is a world-leading location for fintech growth and investment. It’s a real British success story and one that’s spread across the whole UK. The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology doubles down on this, boosting prosperity and investment in exciting cities for growth and innovation such as Leeds.

It’s also great to see the UK Infrastructure Bank delivering on its mission to invest in the clean energy revolution and on much needed infrastructure, using its £22 billion of taxpayers’ money to help communities across the UK.”

Simultaneously with the launch of CFIT, the UK Infrastructure Bank announced that it is expanding its presence at its Leeds office as it gears up to create around 280 jobs in a further boost for the city.

UK Infrastructure Bank CEO, John Flint said: “The fact we are anchored in Leeds is a key part of our identity. It aligns with our mission to drive up regional and local economic growth. It also makes us part of a growing movement, with many other significant organisations – for example, Channel 4, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the National Infrastructure Commission – establishing or expanding bases here. I am grateful to the Minister for helping us to mark this milestone, as we expand our presence in the city.”

Charlotte Crosswell OBE, Chair of CFIT, added: “The launch of CFIT today represents a significant moment for the UK’s fintech sector and our economy more widely. This organisation will enable us to come together as a sector to start breaking down barriers that the fintech sector is facing while creating a clear path for our homegrown fintech companies to achieve global scale, impact and success.”

Today’s announcement marks an important first step in our work supporting the growth and development of the UK fintech sector by empowering its talented innovators and trailblazers in every corner of the country.

The Centre has been established in response to Ron Kalifa’s Review into UK fintech. Since the report was published in 2021, government has been working across industry and regulators to deliver on the recommendations, including introducing a fast-track visa system for fintech scale ups, implementing an FCA scale box allowing innovators to trial new products, and reforming the UK listings regime to maintain its position as Europe’s dominant capital markets hotspot.

CFIT will announce new coalitions of experts from across finance, technology, academia and policy-making. They will focus on helping fintechs achieve truly global scale, building on the UK’s recent success which saw the UK grow from two ‘unicorn’ firms (over $1 billion valuation) in 2020, to today where we have more than 20 – almost half of all the fintech unicorns in Europe.

CFIT will establish financial innovation hubs with comprehensive reach across the UK’s nations and regions – including in key growth centres such as Leeds, which has seen enormous fintech growth since 2020, with the number of fintech firms more than doubling to 107, and valuation of firms doubling to reach £710 million – supporting over 7,500 jobs.

Although based in Leeds CFIT will have no physical office presence, instead focusing on helping firms achieve truly global scale in innovation hubs across the country, working across finance, technology, academia and policy-making. The UK currently plays host to more than 20 fintech ‘unicorns,’ almost half of all the fintech unicorns in Europe.

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