Wednesday 23 November 2016 6:01 pm

Five important things fintech was handed in the Autumn Statement

The UK's fintech powerhouse was not forgotten in the chancellor's Autumn Statement with several measures aimed at boosting the sector unveiled.

Fintech census

The government will carry out what's being called a fintech census, designed to identify the key figures driving the industry for investors.

"An accurate measurement of this evolving space will help policymakers, investors and other market participants assess activity, growth and trends for one of the UK's most dynamic sectors," said Lawrence Wintermeyer, chief executive of Innovate Finance which wil produce the annual "State of UK Fintech" report with consultancy firm EY. 

Read more: Here's what UK tech thinks of the £400m promised for VC startup investment

“The value of this data shouldn’t be underestimated," said EY's global fintech lead Imran Gulamhuseiunwala.

"The UK fintech industry continues to consolidate and grow its lead in the international fintech marketplace… The government has made clear its commitment to helping maintain the UK’s leading place in the international fintech industry."

UK-wide fintech

The concentration of fintech in London, while understandable considering the capital's centre for both the finance and tech industries, has not gone unnoticed.

In similar efforts to spread the tech revolution north with Tech North, the first step of that will be appointing a group of regional fintech envoys to create a network of champions across the country.

Fintech specialists

Funding of £500,000 each year via the Department for International Trade will be provided for fintech specialists.

While that might seem small fry in the context of billions of pounds allocated elsewhere, it's a big step for putting a price tag on the benefits of promoting the UK as a fintech hub to the rest of the world.

The move is a sign that fintech can be one of Britain's great exports.

Major change to digital ID

Changes to rules on using digital verifications of identity will take place.

The guidance of the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) will be updated so that the use of digital ID does not trigger additional due diligance.

Essentially this reduces the red tape imposed by money laundering rules, which Innovate Finance have argued is a barrier to innovation.

That's good news for fintechs which exist almost solely in the digital world: they will benefit from less burdensome processes of verifying identity.

Read more: Here's exactly what the £2bn boost for UK R&D entails

"The modernisation of the JMLSG guidance will be a major step forward in helping people and businesses make their financial lives completely digital. SMEs and consumers are aware of how difficult it can be to open up a bank account and verify and authenticate that they are who they say they are," said Pinsent Mason head of fintech Luke Scanlon.

"Digital only banks and new payment service providers promise a future in which all financial aspects of a person or business’ life can take place online, but this can only occur if it becomes easier to establish relationships with financial providers in the first instance in a wholly digital context. Digital IDs are fundamental to this transition."

More VC investment

Fintech will be one of the three main areas, along with digital and life sciences, to benefit from the fresh £400m being ploughed into venture capital funds, also announced by the chancellor today. The support is aimed at scaling up startups and it will come via the British Business bank