Fintech Friday – fintech news round-up of the week

Fintech Friday – fintech news round-up of the week

Notable fintech news this week includes City of London revealing plans to provide further support for the fintech industry in the heart of London


London to benefit from new fintech district

Thanks to the likes of the huge Level 39 accelerator being based at Canary Wharf, the district has developed into a highly successful hub for fintech in London. But Institutional Investor reports Canary Wharf will likely soon have a major rival with UK fintech trade body Innovate Finance saying it plans to open a new office in Broadgate East, near Liverpool Street station in the heart of the city.

City of London, which provides 30% of Innovate Finance’s funding, says it has a “bold vision for fintech” in London that recognises the need for an innovation centre that brings fintech, regtech and insuretech firms together with professional services firms and lawyers that can assist with their development.

City of London is also hoping to go global with its fintech ambitions over the next few years with a “pop up” presence in location such as New York, Mumbai and Shenzhen.

Merits of sandboxes

Fintech trade body Innovate Finance has published a preview of a report on the feasibility of an industry led and FCA-backed fintech “sandboxes” for testing off-markets financial innovation.

The sandbox concept was first championed by the FCA to advance open innovation and collaboration to help support the UK fintech ecosystem. The concept is now widely copied around the world.

Innovate Finance’s initial report says fintech sandboxes can accelerate solution development by providing the whole of the fintech ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, with access to resources such as data, APIs, or reference architectures. Complex problem solving can be improved by facilitating industry collaboration on identifying and addressing complex shared consumer, technological and regulatory challenges.

Fintech sandboxes can also enhance regulatory efficiency by encouraging regulators to engage as observers where industry can share knowledge early in the life cycle of solution development, says the report.

Commericial Bank in successful blockchain trial

Commercial Bank, a private Qatari bank has revealed it has successfully completed a blockchain pilot that enables international funds transfers with a number of banks in the region and beyond.

Cryptocoins news notes that full commercialisation of the offering could have a significant impact on outward remittances in a country that houses a large population of working immigrants from a number of regional nations.

Hosted on a cloud-based blockchain, the pilot involved participation by several banks, including ABank in Turkey, Oman’s National Bank and the United Arab Bank in the UAE, alongside other unnamed banks in Egypt and India.

Cryptocoins says that having had success with the pilot phase, Commercial Bank is now looking to  gaining the required regulatory approval for the platform from Qatar’s central bank. The bank also plans to engage stakeholders to extend its closed (private) blockchain network with banking partners in other countries. High-remittance corridors are targeted in particular, including the likes of the Philippines, Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

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Kam Patel is a former deputy editor at Hemscott Invest and online editor, CityAM. Other previous postings include editor, MoneyAM; digital content editor, Moneyweek; and science & technology correspondent, Times Higher Education Supplement. He is a qualified investment adviser.