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IFGS 2024: Decoding day 1 & 2 – UK’s fintech epicenter, unicorn council, regulatory landscape, and beyond

IFGS 2024: Decoding day 1 & 2 - UK's fintech epicenter, unicorn council, regulatory landscape, and beyond

The Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) made a triumphant return to London’s historic Guildhall, marking its 10th anniversary amidst the bustling energy of UK Fintech Week 2024. This annual convergence of financial experts, innovators, and policymakers sought to not only celebrate a decade of progress but also set the stage for the next wave of fintech innovation.

Also TFN has some exclusive interviews in the pipeline, where you get to know more about the companies and startups which participated in the IFGS 2024, so keep following us. 

IFGS Day 1: Roundup

The first day of IFGS 2024 commenced with insightful discussions and significant announcements, setting the tone for the summit’s agenda. Madush Gupta, representing the City of London Corporation, emphasised the pivotal role of fintech in fostering connectivity and driving economic growth. Highlighting the UK’s dominance in the fintech landscape, Gupta highlighted its potential to drive financial inclusion and support business growth.

Janine Hirt, CEO of Innovate Finance, echoed Gupta’s sentiments, shedding light on the exponential growth of fintech adoption in the UK over the past decade. With an emphasis on equity lending and market share, Hirt emphasised the UK’s position as a global fintech leader.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s video message added a note of optimism, affirming the government’s commitment to supporting technological advancement in the financial sector. Sunak’s mention of the newly launched Unicorn Council for UK Fintech (UCFT) underscored the government’s ambition to foster innovation and propel the sector forward.

Driving innovation forward

Bim Afolami MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, unveiled the formation of a new open finance taskforce, signalling a concerted effort to harness the potential of open finance in SME lending. With a focus on identifying datasets and incentivising data sharing, the taskforce aims to facilitate better access to finance for small businesses.

Promoting inclusion: Project Nemo

Joanne Dewar introduced Project Nemo, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at promoting workplace inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Dewar emphasised the need for comprehensive inclusion strategies within organisations, highlighting the importance of accessibility in both products and internal practices.

CEO perspectives: Charting the next decade

A panel of fintech CEOs including Charles McManus, Revolut UK CEO Francesca Carlesi, Iana Dimitrova (CEO of OpenPayd), Francesco Simoneschi (CEO of TrueLayer), Paul Taylor (CEO of Thought Machine), and news anchor Sasha Qadri delved into the industry’s future trajectory, emphasising the importance of innovation, talent retention, and regulatory alignment. Discussions revolved around the challenges and opportunities facing the UK fintech ecosystem, with a particular focus on IPOs and regulatory frameworks.

Panellists agreed that a disciplined C-suite is crucial for a successful IPO. Listing on the same exchange as core operations offers strategic advantages. Dimitrova specifically pointed to the UK’s deep talent pool and technological expertise as assets for companies considering an IPO there.

Envisioning the future

TS Anil, CEO of Monzo, offered insights into the evolving landscape of finance, emphasising the potential for continued growth and innovation in the UK market. Anil talked about the transformative power of technology in reshaping the customer-bank relationship and driving financial empowerment.

AI and digital transformation

Georgina Bulkeley, of Google Cloud, explored the intersection of AI and digital transformation, highlighting both the challenges and opportunities inherent in implementing AI technologies. Bulkeley emphasised the importance of collaboration and experimentation in leveraging AI effectively.

Digital wallets: Redefining convenience

A panel comprising Oliver Scott (head of Samsung Wallet) and Shachar Bialick’s (founder and CEO at Curve) discussion on digital wallets revealed their evolving role in facilitating seamless transactions and access to essential services. With a focus on security and data privacy, panellists explored consumer perceptions and the potential for continued innovation in this space.

Tokenisation: Enhancing financial markets

A panel of industry experts consisting of a panel consisting of VictoriaThompson (founder and CEO of Orora), GilbertVerdian (CEO of Quant) and Matt Ong (founder and CEO at Ctrl Alt) delved into the transformative potential of tokenisation in financial markets. Discussions centred on the benefits of programmable digital currencies and the barriers to widespread adoption, emphasising the importance of education and accessibility.

IFGS Day 2: Roundup 

Day Two of the Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) was a whirlwind of thought-provoking discussions and industry insights. Held at the historic Guildhall in London, the event brought together key players from across the fintech landscape to explore the future of finance.

A time capsule for fintech history

The day kicked off with a nod to the future, with stage host Sasha Qadri highlighting the launch of the Fintech Time Capsule. This unique initiative aims to capture the current state of fintech in the UK and around the world. Scheduled to be sealed in September and opened in 2034, the capsule will serve as a historical record of this pivotal time in financial innovation.

Backing the London fintech ecosystem

A key theme throughout the day was the burgeoning fintech ecosystem in London. Sririam Krishnan, representing venture capital giant a16z, discussed their decision to establish a London office, their first outside the US. Highlighting the UK’s post-Brexit potential and strengths in decentralisation, Web3, and AI, Krishnan emphasised London’s potential to become a global hub for these emerging technologies.

Fintech and policy: A delicate dance

With the UK general election looming, a critical discussion focused on how fintech can ensure its voice is heard in policy debates. Lord Iain McNicol and Lord Phillip Hammond explored the role of government in fostering fintech growth. Both agreed that fostering a technology-driven approach is crucial for the UK’s financial services sector to maintain its global competitiveness.

Combating the growing threat of fraud

Another key session addressed the ongoing battle against fraud in the financial sector. Panellists, including Adam Gagen from Revolut and Neelesh Pal from WNS, highlighted the significant financial burden of fraud and called for a multi-pronged approach. Increased adoption of multi-factor authentication, robust digital identity verification, and potentially holding platforms accountable for fraudulent advertisements were all proposed solutions. Priya Guliani, CEO of EarthID, emphasised the critical role of identity verification in mitigating fraud risks.

Regulation: A balancing act

Regulation emerged as a dominant theme, with representatives from challenger banks like OakNorth Bank and Starling Bank expressing concerns about the potential for regulations to stifle innovation. Valentina Kristensen of OakNorth Bank pointed out the potential for regulations to hinder rather than support challenger banks, while Cordelia Kafetz of Starling Bank emphasised the importance of clear regulatory objectives. Conrad Ford of Allica Bank urged regulators to prioritise enabling innovation alongside responsible growth within the sector.

Aidene Walsh, Chair of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), acknowledged the challenges posed by regulations for Open Banking Payment (APP) scams but stressed the importance of balancing innovation with consumer protection. She also acknowledged the growing role of big tech companies in payments and highlighted the need for collaborative approaches to navigate the opportunities and challenges this presents.

Open banking: The next chapter

Open banking was another hot topic, with discussions focusing on its future trajectory. John Penrose MP emphasised the urgency of accelerating progress in open banking to maintain the UK’s leading position in this space. Justin Basini of ClearScore expressed optimism about the potential for open banking to evolve into open finance, fostering further disruption and competition within the financial services sector. Jan van Vonno of Tink presented compelling data on the growing adoption of open banking technologies, highlighting the significant momentum already present in this space. Charlotte Crosswell OBE of CFIT concluded the discussion by emphasising the need to shift focus from theoretical discussions to practical implementation and governance within the open banking space.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL): The regulation question

The long-awaited discussion on BNPL regulation failed to yield definitive answers. The panel, featuring representatives from industry leaders like Clearpay and Klarna, compared the UK’s approach to the more proactive regulatory framework established in Australia. Michael Saadat of Clearpay highlighted the potential benefits of a tailored regulatory framework that balances consumer protection with industry needs. Flora Coleman of Klarna emphasised the importance of regulation for consumers who rely on BNPL products for managing their finances. The ongoing debate surrounding BNPL regulation is likely to continue until a clear path forward is established.

Overall, Day Two of IFGS 2024 underscored the rapid evolution of the fintech landscape. As the industry grapples with new technologies, evolving regulations, and emerging challenges, collaboration and innovation will be key to shaping the future of finance.


As IFGS 2024 drew close, it left a lasting impression on the fintech landscape, reaffirming the UK’s position as a global hub for innovation. With a renewed focus on collaboration, inclusivity, and regulatory alignment, the summit sets the stage for a future defined by technological advancement and financial empowerment.

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