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CFIT: Innovation centre launches in Leeds to drive UK fintech growth

CFIT launch
CFIT CEO Ezechi Britton. Image credit: CFIT

A new finance and innovation centre is launching in Leeds today to support the UK’s fintech industry and identify challenges that might hinder growth.

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) has been formed in response to a direct recommendation by the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, which looked at how the country could retain its leading fintech position.

It comes as fintech investment in the UK and globally declined in 2022 amid challenging economic headwinds. According to industry body Innovate Finance, UK fintech companies raised $12.5bn (£10.2bn) in funding last year, an 8% drop from the record-breaking 2021.

Sir Ron Kalifa, author of the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, said: “The centre will be instrumental in fostering collaboration between industry, academia and policymakers, promoting innovation, and turbo-charging the adoption of new technologies for businesses and consumers.”

“I have no doubt that it will enable the UK’s fintech sector to become more competitive, and I look forward to seeing the impact it will have across the UK in the weeks, months and years to come.”

The organisation will form “time-limited coalitions” from across finance and tech, in which members will identify roadblocks and ways to generate jobs and international growth for companies in the UK”s fintech ecosystem.

CFIT will create financial innovation hubs to “drive national connectivity” and provide assistance on fintech issues that benefits each region in the country.

“The UK has built an enviable reputation within the global fintech community, however, the competition for talent and for investment is relentless. In this context, the CFIT is a very welcome product of the Kalifa Review,” said Mark Mullen, CEO of Atom Bank.

CFIT will announce an initiative with universities at the launch today to offer students placements at notable UK fintech firms.

The UK has the largest fintech sector in Europe and is home to major players including challenger banks Starling Bank, Zopa, Monzo and Revolut.

Anne Glover CBE, CEO and co-founder, Amadeus Capital, said: “The UK has a strong position in financial services, and an early lead in ‘fintech’ – but the speed of financial and technology innovation globally presents a demanding and competitive environment.”

Funding for CFIT came from £5m in seed funding from the Treasury and a further £500,000 from the City of London Corporation.

CFIT is chaired by Charlotte Crosswell OBE, who is the ex-CEO of Innovate Finance and chair of Open Banking.

Ezechi Britton MBE, previously the CEO of Code Untapped and founding member of Impact X Capital, holds the role of CFIT CEO.