Back in May, the Lab held a workshop with senior staff at the Financial Conduct Authority which looked at how the FCA could change the way it worked to help transform the finance sector into one that serves society and the wider economy. Civil society groups, innovators and other alternative finance providers all participated in the discussions. One of the conclusions of the meeting was that the FCA needed to establish a ‘gateway’ for helping financial innovators through the regulatory system, as this can be a barrier to entry for small operators in particular.
On October 28th the FCA launched its Innovation Hub, which will support innovators who are seeking to provide new financial services in the interests of the consumer. This is an excellent initiative and will be a dedicated team within the FCA supporting new business models and encouraging diversity in the finance sector. The key test will be whether support is targeted to those innovations that are built on the values of wider society to deliver fairness, transparency and responsibility, as illustrated in our model of barriers to entry for alternative finance.