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Leeds joins major new Open Finance Coalition

Leeds has thrown its support behind a new coalition to open up financial data to deliver better outcomes for consumers and SMEs.

Launched by the Centre for Finance, Innovation and technology, the new Open Finance Coalition will demonstrate the power of leveraging financial data to deliver better outcomes and financial awareness for SMEs and consumers.

The first coalition partners who have committed to progressing Open Finance in the UK have also been announced. Leeds is the first city and local authority outside of London to be involved with the project, working closely with others on the list including: the Association of British Insurers, Allen and Overy, Amazon Web Services, Experian, the City of London Corporation, EY, HSBC, IBM, Innovate Finance, iwoca, KPMG, Leeds City Council, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, MBN Solutions, Monzo, Open Banking Limited, the Open Finance Association, Revolut, the Smart Data Foundry, and Zopa Bank; with the support of the FCA.

The main focus for the coalition will be demonstrating the power of financial data to deliver better financial awareness for consumers and SME financing. These two areas represent the biggest opportunity to showcase the power of Open Finance, giving both individuals and SMEs the ability to better manage their savings, cashflow, investments, pensions and insurance and in turn lead to a positive outcome for the nation’s financial health.

The idea comes from recommendations originally put forward as part of the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, launched in Leeds earlier this year, which seeks to unblock barriers to growth for financial technology and position the United Kingdom as a global leader in financial innovation. Leeds was identified in the report as being part of one of the most established FinTech hubs in the UK.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“We are delighted to be a part of the new Open Finance coalition to drive better access to financial data for both SMEs and consumers.

“The ethos and work to be done as part of this project feeds perfectly into our inclusive growth ambitions, and therefore we were keen to take this opportunity to further work within the city to increase financial awareness and knowledge in collaboration with our thriving Fintech community.”

Leeds is the UK’s second strongest financial and legal centre, with a flourishing FinTech sector and a GVA standing above £700m, having doubled in the last three years. The foundation for the flourishing FinTech sector is the region’s long-standing strength in financial services, combined with a vibrant and fast growing tech sector. More than 60 established financial services organisations have bases in the region, with recent additions including the Financial Conduct Authority, UK Infrastructure Bank, and Bank of England. In tech, 17 of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England are based in Leeds , which is also home to Leeds Digital Festival, one of the largest and highest profile digital events in the UK.