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Bank of England builds fintech 'community'

The Bank of England has set up a formal forum with industry to discuss financial technology (fintech) trends and issues.20 Mar 2017

The Bank's 'fintech community' has been established with an initial list of 18 members, not including itself, and is partly aimed at improving networking between firms with an interest in fintech, as well as ensuring the Bank is engaged with a range of fintech businesses across the financial services sector.

The community has also been established to encourage the sharing of "developments, trends and insights to facilitate learning and understanding across the sector and within the Bank", it said.

Members of the community will individually meet with the Bank between two and four times a year "to share updates on trends and developments that each are seeing in the sector", while the community as a whole will meet quarterly "to network/make new connections and to discuss developments, trends and insights, most likely on a specific topic(s) of interest" via the Bank's fintech accelerator initiative, the Bank said.

Membership of the community is free and is expected to grow over time, but has been initially restricted by the Bank to include "those firms most relevant to the Bank’s remit and fintech objectives, and who have initiated contact with us for knowledge sharing purposes", the Bank said.

Businesses that complete 'proof of concept' testing with the Bank through its accelerator programme will be automatically invited to join the fintech community.

"While the FCA's regulatory sandbox has been highly publicised, it does not feel as though the Bank of England's accelerator program has been given the same attention," said fintech expert Luke Scanlon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "A forum where industry can benefit from the advances the Bank of England has already made in engaging with fintechs and other innovators on market issues such as cyber will help progress the many legal and regulatory issues that continuously arise as the fintech landscape evolves and changes."

Initial members of the fintech community include cybersecurity company Anomali, which is working with the Bank to address cyber threats after completing a proof of concept test with the Bank via the fintech accelerator scheme.

The British Bankers' Association, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are also members, as is Cambridge University spin-off business BMLL. Fintech investment company NEX Euclid Opportunities, regulatory technology (regtech) specialists Enforcd, and data-driven cybersecurity business Bitsight are also among the community members, as are BT, Innovate Finance and London and Partners.

The Bank launched the fintech accelerator in June 2016 a bid to find technology companies to work with on 'proof of concept' projects with the aim of enabling it to "harness fintech innovations for central banking", it said at the time.

In its latest statement on its new fintech community, the Bank also explained that two more businesses will work with it in proof of concept testing in its accelerator scheme. The Bank will test machine learning technology from MindBridge AI to analyse "the quality of regulatory data input", and also work with Ripple to assess whether the synchronised movement of different currencies over different real-time payment settlement systems "might lower settlement risk and improve the speed and efficiency of cross-border payments".

The next round of applications for the Bank's fintech accelerator testing opens this spring.

Recent Financial Services Experience