Lawrence Wintermeyer is CEO of Innovate Finance, an independent membership association that represents the UK’s global fintech community. Founded in 2014, Innovate Finance looks to accelerate the UK’s leading position in the global financial services sector by supporting the next era of technology-led financial services innovators.
During our conversation, Lawrence references Innovate Finance’s recent sandbox paper. Innovate Finance itself is very active online and supports the global fintech hubs federation. I ask Lawrence what it is about about London that has driven its success as a financial hub:
“That’s a great question,” he says. “I think back to your original observation about how old London is. We’ve had a thriving commercial centre here for hundreds of years, so in what I call the post-Medici era of global capitalisation v2.0, we invented the insurance markets, the capital markets, the merchant banking markets, the bond market – we took a lot of great things that had been in play from the Dutch, like the stock market, and developed our stock markets – so we’ve got a great history of actually raising capital and scaling global capital through financial market structures and instruments. I think that’s an important ingredient to think about as to why things are so vibrant now in the UK and fintech, but I think the short answer to the question is: post-2008 and the financial crisis, the government’s competition mandate really helped civil servants in the regulator and the treasury think about how we could engender greater competition, and things like the FCA, Project Innovate (which is the innovation hub), the regulatory sandbox, and this period really of unprecedented regulatory access has precipitated a lot of the open collaboration that’s going on here.
“We’ve got the ‘fin’ of New York with the ‘tech’ of the West Coast, and the lobby of Washington all in a 15-minute public commute.”
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