Syed Kamall is a Conservative MEP for London and Co-Leader of the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR) Group
PIF: Prepaid technology is behind many fintech innovations and it is especially valuable in supporting financial inclusion. London has always been at the forefront of these initiatives so what can politicians do to help ensure we retain this position and help build more inclusive financial services?
Syed Kamall: “I’m a strong advocate of financial inclusion. I’m also personally involved in a project to offer loans to entrepreneurs from financially excluded communities, so I share the keen interest in keeping London fintech in its leadership position.
“There are some potential benefits to Brexit and of course there could be some problems. On the upside, Brexit will give us more control over our borders and that should mean an ability to broaden our horizons in terms of access to talent globally, not just from the EU. London is a global, not a little-European city. We should be able to change our immigration system to bring people into London that can help enhance its leadership position.
The flow of data between the UK and Europe is key for fintech and we should be able to start with equivalence. The EU may be tempted to make it difficult, so companies on both sides of the channel will need to make their voices heard. We should also be aware that some in the EU (and the UK) think that our laws are too intrusive, so they may put pressure on the UK to change our laws in order to grant equivalence.
“We need to make sure the UK has the right politicians in place during the negotiations and transition period who understand the big picture and know the real value of London fintech and financial services to the rest of the world.”
“There are many financial institutions outside the UK that rely on passporting to do business here. Our regulators are allowing that to happen on the understanding that there will be a reciprocal relationship, but there are no guarantees. Let’s not forget that many big European companies use London to access capital so if the EU plays hardball with fintech, it could increase costs of doing business in their own countries.
“We need to make sure the UK has the right politicians in place during the negotiations and transition period who understand the big picture and know the real value of London fintech and financial services to the rest of the world.
“I believe that prepaid technology can make a major contribution towards tackling financial exclusion. My personal wish would be to get the most dynamic fintech leaders around a table in London and ask what politicians can do to amend or repeal laws that would enable them to do more to increase financial inclusion. That would be a very positive step forward for fintech, politics and tackling financial exclusion.”
Syed Kamall was recently a guest on the FinTech Unplugged podcast where he discussed financial inclusion, Brexit and other fintech topics. Listen to the episode here