Friday 13 March 2020 3:52 pm

Innovate Finance cancels IFGS 2020 amid coronavirus fears

Innovate Finance has been forced to cancel IFGS 2020 due to concerns around the spread of coronavirus.

The flagship event of the UK Fintech Week was due to be held at Guildhall, London, on 20-21 April.

However, as numerous events throughout London and the UK suffer, IFGS has been forced to move its plans online only.

Read more: The Budget has recognised the potential of UK fintech

Innovate Finance chief executive Charlotte Crosswell told City A.M. it was “frustrating because 80 per cent of the work had been done” but added that if any industry should be able to pull off a virtual event, then it was the Fintech industry.

A statement from Innovate Finance read: “As you will be aware, many companies have now implemented non-essential travel and event restrictions, making it difficult for many of our speakers, panellists and delegates to attend IFGS.”

The firm added that it would still use the week to promote the sector’s strength, but digitally.

“We are however delighted to say that we will still take the opportunity to profile the ongoing strength of UK Fintech during the week of April 20-24,” it said.

“This will become digital content, virtual events, smaller roundtables and partner events. We will be releasing a schedule of activity over the coming days and weeks, so please do keep an eye out on the UK FinTech Week website for updates and information on how to register. “

It added that it will communicate future events for the year at a later date, while it plans to return to Guildhall next year on 19-20 April 2021.

It comes after a week in which Citi’s CitiDigiMoney symposium had to be changed to a “virtual event” and was then cancelled altogether.

Revolut vice president Don Hoang, Pepper chief executive Michal Kissos Hertzog and Starling boss Anne Boden had all been billed to talk.

Attendance at other talks have also suffered as a result. Former London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet and StanChart banker, Tracey McDermott, reportedly suffered disappointing turnouts.

The majority of bigger Fintech events have suffered as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but Crosswell said there was “a desire for the UK Fintech industry to come together”.

She said that while larger events were set to be cancelled, smaller receptions up to around 30 people would likely go ahead.

Read more: Budget 2020: Government to issue UK fintech sector review

The Woman in Payments symposium is still scheduled to go ahead in a fortnight’s time and that things like podcasts would continue to be produced.

Other events are biding their time before deciding whether there is a need to cancel, including the Open Banking World Congress and Fintech World Forum 2020, which are both in May.