A government-backed body set up to boost the country’s fintech sector has appointed industry grandee Charlotte Crosswell as its chair today, as it readies to start operations following a £5.5m Treasury funding commitment last year.
The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) announced this morning that Crosswell, who has previously headed fintech industry body Innovate Finance and the Open Banking Implementation Entity, will take on the role as the body’s first chair from January next year.
CFIT was one of the central recommendations of the landmark Kalifa Review of Fintech published in February last year and will be tasked with corralling the sector nationally and pushing ahead with a coherent national strategy.
Government has thrown its weight behind the new body and committed a £5.5m seed funding in the Autumn budget last year alongside the City of London Corporation.
Sir Ron Kalifa, who masterminded the government-commissioned review of the sector, last year described the cash injection as the “outstanding piece of the jigsaw” needed to deliver a full strategy for the sector. In a statement today, Kalifa hailed Crosswell’s appointment as another boost for the body’s development.
“Charlotte will be responsible for advancing its mission and drive the UK‘s leadership as the global leader for financial innovation by seeking out opportunities to accelerate and unblock barriers to grow the fintech sector,” he said.
“CFIT will be focussed on bringing together the best minds from the ecosystem to drive better outcomes for consumers and SMEs across the UK.”
He added that she brings “deep experience” across financial services and policy which “gives me confidence in the next phase for CFIT.”
Kalifa has led a steering committee throughout this year to draw up the priorities and objectives for the body alongside over 80 organisations. The body is understood to have held two preliminary meeting with fintechs and industry bodies around the country but is set to kick off its operations proper from next year.
Questions have been raised in some corners of the industry over the appointment of a CFIT chief executive, however. The body has been actively recruiting for the role for some months but is yet to make an appointment.
In its statement today, the City of London Corporation said an executive would be appointed “in the coming months” to work alongside Crosswell.
Open banking headhunt
Crosswell’s appointment at CFIT is set to leave a gap at the Open Banking Implementation Entity as the roll-out of open banking enters a key phase next year.
Sarah Cardell, interim chief of the Competition and Markets Authority which has overseen open banking, said today Crosswell had “led important efforts to strengthen the management, governance and workplace culture” of the OBIE.
“As Trustee, she has overseen significant progress by the CMA9 banks in meeting their obligations under the Retail Banking Market Investigation Order, and this will enable the implementation phase of the Open Banking remedy to be completed shortly for the majority of the CMA9 banks, ” Cardell said.