UK govt backs British fintech with foreign outreach project
The UK government has laid out plans to take a proactive role in promoting the interests of British fintechs on the international stage.
Managed by the Department for International Trade, Leading Edge is a new programme designed to connect international banks with Britain’s leading financial technology sector, particularly in burgeoning segments such as regtech, robotic process automation (RPA) and AI.
Around 1600 fintechs based in the UK generate £11bn annually, nearly double the £6.6bn in 2015, and account for around 8% of total financial services output.
First deals in Singapore
The scheme will initially target ‘priority markets’ including the United States, Australia and Singapore, where a handful of deals have already been cut with three major banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB.
Gerry Grimstone, the UK’s Minister for Investment who this week attended and spoke at the Singapore Fintech Festival alongside HM Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black CBE, says: “The digital adoption and transformation support offered by the UK’s leading firms will enable International Financial Institutions to remain not only competitive but also a viable part of the financial services sector of tomorrow.
"I welcome the launch of Leading Edge,” he adds, “which will give these global firms in our partner countries, including Singapore, the opportunity to collaborate with and benefit from the UK’s world leading fintech expertise.”
In a statement launching Leading Edge, the government said it was ‘working closely with Singapore’, and would continue efforts to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact between nations in Asia Pacific and North America.
The announcement comes on the eve of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ministers scramble to secure international trade deals, European commission president Ursula von der Leyen today poured cold water on prospects of a ‘deal’ Brexit. From a last-minute summit in Brussels, von Der Layen reportedly said there was a “higher probability for no deal than deal”. Negotiations will continue until Sunday after the deadline was earlier this week extended by 72 hours.
Lloyds Bank partners with Visa to offer STP technology
While providing the traditional benefits of commercial card payments to both the buyer and the supplier, Straight-Through Processing (STP) enables a more efficient way to pay invoices. With STP, buyers can request to time their payments to maximise the number of days before their statement, giving them more flexibility with their cash flow than would be the case with a bank transfer.
It can benefit suppliers as they will receive funds directly into their accounts without the need to manually input card details or use card terminals. STP can also make it easier for suppliers to identify the source of inbound payments thanks to the rich remittance data.
James Sykes, Head of Commercial Cards at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Partnering with Visa to add STP technology to our commercial cards is a direct result of us acting on a payments pain point for our clients.
“STP turns the traditional supplier-initiated payments model on its head. It makes conversations around card payments easier, provides more control and insight over the transaction and can help buyers and sellers improve their working capital.”
The launch of STP is the latest in a series of payment innovations Lloyds Bank has introduced to support its business customers. Last year, it became the first bank in the world to go live with Swift gpi Instant, which connects the high-speed Swift gpi cross-border payments rail with real-time domestic infrastructure, in this case the UK’s Faster Payments system.
Helen Jones, Executive Director, Visa Business Solutions at Visa, added: “Commercial cards are a secure, reliable and convenient way for businesses to pay. STP will help make the experience of paying invoices easier and more streamlined for both suppliers and buyers. We’re delighted to partner with Lloyds Bank to help their customers better manage their cashflow and their supplier relationships at such a critical moment for UK businesses.”
In 2019, Lloyds Bank also launched its payables API – designed to enable businesses to send faster payments directly from their systems without human intervention – which now processes more than £350m of payments every month. STP will further expand Lloyds Bank’s capabilities for its business customers, automating supplier card acceptance processes together with additional working capital benefits.