UK fintech sector must not rest on its laurels and should strive to challenge China, LSE boss says

 
Callum Keown
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The UK must have ambitions to mirror China's mobile payments growth, LSE boss Nikhil Rathi said (Source: Getty)

The UK must not “sit on its laurels” and should have ambitions to challenge China, the London Stock Exchange chief executive told a global fintech summit this afternoon.


Nikhil Rathi championed the City as a top fintech hub globally but said the UK environment needed to improve to develop skills and people and encourage innovation.

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Speaking at the Innovate Finance summit in the City today, Rathi said China had surged ahead in the mobile payments markets with transactions reaching £13.8 trillion last year.

He said: “Even the local food store owner [in China] will look at you incredulously if you try to pay with cash, expecting you to scan your phone.


“Not only can Chinese consumers pay everywhere using their mobile wallet, the money sitting in their mobile wallet can also be put to work.”

Rathi said that last year around a third of China’s population put the equivalent of $168bn into Ant Financial’s Yu’e Bao fund, making it the largest money market fund in the world.

He added: “That tells you something about the scale of change that’s before us and the scale of ambition we need to have.”

Earlier today Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the new finance created by the UK’s fintech companies demanded a “new Bank of England.”

He said: “Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transactions to be settled in real time, checkout to become an historical anomaly, and payments across borders to be indistinguishable from those across the street.

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“This new finance demands a Bank of England that is as open to new providers as it has been to traditional players.”

Carney outlined a number of measures the Bank was implementing, including rebuilding its payment settlement systems.