’With insurtech forming a core pillar of this sector’ the launch represents a ‘huge opportunity’, says insurtech trade body

The UK government has officially launched a new national fintech hub that will include insurtech firms within its remit. 

Launched last week (28 February 2022) with an event in Leeds, the newly launched Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) aims to boost both growth and innovation in the UK.

CFIT has been backed by £5.5m of funding from HM Treasury and the City of London.

The centre was established in response to a 2021 report on UK fintech firms entitled the Kalifa review of UK fintech, authored by Ron Kalifa, chairman of international payment solutions firm Network International.

Since the report’s launch, the government has been working across the industry and with regulators to deliver its recommendations, including a fast-track visa system for fintech scaleups.

A spokesperson for Insurtech UK said: “Insurtech UK welcomes the government announcement around the establishment of the CFIT in Leeds.

“We are pleased that this important recommendation from the 2021 Kalifa review has been established and look forward to building an ongoing relationship.

”Fintech is such a wide ranging and vibrant component of the UK economy – with the insurtech scene forming a core pillar of this sector.

”We see huge opportunity for further innovation that can support insurance customers and businesses all over the country. We welcome further support from government to help innovate, scale and contribute to economic growth.”

The launch of the centre follows Tech Nation losing its grant last month and subsequently closing – Tech Nation was previously responsible for dealing with visas for scaleups.

Fostering collaboration

The CFIT will announce the establishment of financial innovation hubs across the UK – including in key growth centres such as Leeds.

The city has seen enormous fintech growth since 2020 with the number of fintech firms based there more than doubling to 107.

The valuation of these firms has also doubled to reach £710m – supporting over 7,500 jobs.

Kalifa 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 UK Infrastructure Bank also announced the expansion of its presence at its Leeds office as it aims to create around 280 new jobs.

Economic secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith added: “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.

“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 £22bn of taxpayers’ money to help communities across the UK.”