Fintech and blockchain top Mark Carney's Mansion House agenda

Lynsey Barber
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Lord Mayor's Dinner For The Bankers And Merchants Of The City of London
The City will hear about fintech from the governor of the Bank of England (Source: Getty)

London's status as the world leading centre for fintech is set to be cemented on Thursday when it tops the agenda of the governor of the Bank of England at a prestigious City event.

Mark Carney will centre a major speech on the subject of fintech and blockchain technology at the annual Mansion House dinner, his first to address the disruptive sector in his role as top boss of the UK's central bank.

"The governor's speech is undoubtedly a significant landmark moment for the fintech community," said Ricky Knox, founder of digital challenger bank Tandem.

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"We are delighted to see that as part of fintech, challenger banks are firmly on the agenda this year for what will be a rousing moment for the industry."

Carney last month told MPs that his speech would cover fintech and distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, eschewing the subject of the upcoming referendum to observe purdah rules at the dinner, at which the chancellor George Osborne is also due to speak.

He indicated that it would be "in terms of broader application of what it can mean for the structure of the financial system and what the Bank of England is doing or should do to enable it to start a broader conversation about those issues."

"The fact the Mark Carney has chosen fintech as topic of his Mansion House speech is an indication that it has become mainstream and that the Bank of England recognises the huge opportunity of fintech to modernise UK's financial services industry," said Susanne Chishti, chief executive of Fintech Circle.

"With this speech he will further cement London's position as a global fintech hub"

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As head of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), Carney has already called on central banks and finance ministers to asses the implications of fintech on bank stability and the systematic risks that could arise from the disruptive technology.

In a letter in February in his capacity as head of the group, he said: "The regulatory framework must ensure that it is able to manage any systemic risks that may arise from technological change without stifling innovation."

"I hope that he continues to support a balanced and proportional regulatory strategy so that fintech startups are guided appropriately," said Chishti ahead of Thursday's speech.

"He also indicated that he will speak about Blockchain technology and its disruptive potential which shows his courage to discuss some of the most complex and disruptive technologies out there. He will become the global fintech leader among central bankers as he understands the importance of global collaboration and the value of entrepreneurship."

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Lawrence Wintermeyer, head of fintech industry body Innovate Finance, said: "We welcome the governor's comments on the growing importance of financial technology to the UK economy, and it is primarily through our policy and regulatory leadership that the UK has managed to position itself as a world leading fintech hub.

"However, we must continue to promote innovation and responsible regulation if we are to maintain this advantage. At the heart of this lies appropriate access to payments systems, as well as embracing the potential benefits of disruptive technologies such as the blockchain."

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