A panel of fintech experts convened at the Parliament Street fintech summit, hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford and chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR. Among the panelists was Fraser Stewart, co-founder of Lyfeguard, who discussed the fintech landscape and its future direction in depth.
Stewart highlighted key aspects regarding the fintech bubble, regulation of the sector, addressing skill shortages, and fostering inclusivity within the industry. He stated, “We need an outlook of market correction. The weaker businesses may be weeded out, and the businesses meeting the public’s needs strengthened, ultimately boosting the Fintech industry.” On regulation, he suggested that a digital economy task force could help establish a roadmap for the sector's future. This task force concept was initially recommended in the government-backed Kalifa report, which aimed to outline a strategy for the UK to retain its position as a leading fintech hub.
Discussing the need for education, reskilling, and clear career pathways in fintech, Stewart also emphasised the importance of diversity, noting that "just 2% of fintech owners are female." He called for more efforts to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities within the industry, ensuring that a wider pool of talent can contribute to fintech's growth and success.
Other panelists also weighed in on key topics. Dean Russell MP commented on the challenge of regulation, stating, “If you regulate too soon, you may kill innovation, but if you do regulate too late or incorrectly, there will be loopholes.” He acknowledged the delicate balance that regulators must strike to foster innovation while maintaining consumer protection and market stability.
Jay Patel, Head of Product Management at Encompass Corporation, argued that banks should interpret and implement regulations for their customer base. He emphasised the role of financial institutions in ensuring compliance and safeguarding customers' interests.
Neh Thaker, Co-Founder of HedgeFlows, mentioned that SMEs often lack the support and tools needed to overcome barriers to international trade. He suggested that greater access to resources and guidance could enable more SMEs to expand internationally and contribute to the UK's global competitiveness.
Khalid Talukder, co-founder of DKK Partners, emphasised the need for a human touch in an industry focused on automation and efficiency. He argued that while technology can streamline processes, human interaction and personalized services remain crucial in catering to customers' diverse needs.
Samni Akinmusire, co-founder of ImaliPay, questioned how regulators could keep up with innovations that fall outside existing regulations. He stressed the need for adaptable regulatory frameworks that can accommodate the rapidly evolving fintech landscape.
Xavier De Pauw of Kennek noted that B2B business models typically have fewer regulations as they deal with professionals. He suggested that regulators should take this into account when developing new rules and guidelines to avoid stifling innovation in the B2B fintech space.
The panelists' insights highlighted the importance of striking the right balance between innovation and regulation, as well as fostering a diverse, inclusive fintech ecosystem to ensure the industry's continued growth and success. The discussion emphasized the need for collaboration among stakeholders, including policymakers, financial institutions, and fintech companies, to navigate the complexities of the sector and unlock its full potential.
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