A new survey conducted by Digital Finance Forum (DFF), a network and lobbying group for fintech founders in the UK, has found that two out of three British fintech founders don’t think the views of their sector are properly considered in policy and regulatory circles. The survey also reveals that nine out of ten founders expect to face funding challenges in the coming year. DFF chairman Christian Faes, also the co-founder of LendInvest, highlighted the survey's other findings in a statement: “Key themes that came out from many of the respondents pointed to the fact that many fintechs are not on a level playing field with other startups when it comes to raising S/EIS funding; that it can take ‘way too long’ to obtain authorisations from the regulator; and that changes are need to ensure that the non-bank sector is on a more equal competitive footing to the larger incumbent banks.” While general lack of funding was the most cited issue, many founders also claimed inability to access the government’s pandemic-related relief schemes: 37 percent of those surveyed sought a loan but were unable to qualify for one.
The report is in fact supported by the government through HMT. In light of the findings, John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, promised further review and support were on the way: “The Digital Finance Forum’s results reinforce my commitment to ensuring the UK’s pre-eminence as a place for fintechs to do business. We have recently launched a major independent fintech review which will consider how the UK can continue to foster innovation, maintain an ecosystem that supports growing firms, and promote the integration of new technologies across financial services.”
Funding and policy difficulties aside, some founders see a bright side to the pandemic. More than a third of founders are optimistic about new opportunities, as lockdowns and social distancing have accelerated digital adoption among businesses. Two in five founders said that they are actively looking to grow and expand their business in the coming months, and ultimately over 80 percent were confident about the general outlook for their businesses over the next year.