Ex-Financial Ombudsman to Guide UK FinTech Sector through Brexit

Journalist:
May 10, 2017

Innovate Finance is to get a new chairperson who has been tasked with the role of guiding the U.K.’s fintech sector through Brexit.

Natalie Ceeney, who was previously the boss of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and who made sure banks were held responsible for mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI) to consumers who didn’t know they had it or want it, will now be in charge of Innovate Finance, an independent, non-profit organization that serves the financial technology community.

In a report from Sky News, it’s believed that the announcement is expected next week.

Ceeney will replace Alastair Lukies, a Fintech entrepreneur and comes at a time when the U.K.’s fintech sector works at holding on to the talent it enjoys as it undergoes the process of leaving the EU because of Brexit.

At the end of last year, it was reported that leading banks in London were in the advanced stages of moving their operations to Paris amid Brexit fears. Data in March even went so far as to suggest that the U.K. was experiencing a skills shortage within the financial technology sector with jobs remaining unfilled after two months.

FinTech the Next Industrial Revolution

However, in a bid to stem fears and reassure fintech companies in the U.K., Philip Hammond, the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the sector had the opportunity to change the world economy and how we conduct our day-to-day lives.

Hammond adds that the government has been doing its part to improve the sector, stating that in the last 12 months the government has given £400 million of new capital to the British Business Bank as well as funding a number of initiatives worth around £750 million.

He said:

While we need to continue to attract the brightest and the best from around the world to these shores, we must also do better at nurturing and developing the home-grown talent to drive our economy forward in the future.

According to the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial technology sector has improved since the announcement of Brexit.

Project Innovate, which was set up 2014 by the FCA to provide companies with advice on how to adhere to regulations, received 264 regulatory requests for support in the run-up to the Brexit referendum. However, since then that number has increased to 321 indicating that despite the U.K.’s removal from the bloc in 2019, companies are still keen to establish themselves in the U.K.

It remains to be seen how Ceeney will improve the fintech sector and better its chances of success once the British Isles comes out of the EU. While it’s certainly a mammoth task she’s undertaking, her previous track record indicates she’s definitely up to the task.

Featured image from Shutterstock.