Talking Point  

Investment Association launches FinTech sandbox

Investment Association launches FinTech sandbox

The Investment Association’s (IA) Velocity Accelerator has opened its doors to establish the first cohort of FinTech innovators.

The 24-strong Velocity Advisory Panel boasts senior industry leaders and digital technology specialists covering all aspects of the investment value chain.

The expert panel will provide guidance on the adoption of emergent technology across front, middle and back office operations.

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Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said: “Velocity will unlock the potential of these firms to implement their solutions within our industry, which is ultimately to the benefit of savers and investors. We have brought together for the first a market-defining Advisory Panel which is truly representative of the asset management industry to ensure that we are selecting and developing the top talent.”

FinTech firms with market-viable technology are being invited to apply to participate in the IA’s FinTech accelerator programme by 28 September, as the asset management industry seeks new technological solutions to increase business efficiency and enhance customer experience.

During the six-month programme, the first cohort of up to 10 firms will benefit from access to the IA and industry expertise, as well as gaining valuable exposure to industry networks and potential clients.

Participants will also have access to a bespoke co-working space and mentoring from the advisory panel. The first cohort will be in place to start on the Velocity programme by October 2018.

As part of the drive to increase market engagement and awareness, the trade body has also created an entirely new category of membership to accommodate the specific needs of FinTechs operating within asset management and the wider buyside market.

FinTech membership will not only enable firms to access the IA's resources, but also participation in a structured programme of industry events.

The Investment Association will issue a new IA FinTech Member mark, which recognises their specific market focus and association with the the trade body, setting them apart as a ‘company to watch’.

Graham Kellen, chief digital officer for Schroders and chair of the Velocity Advisory Panel, said: “I am honoured to be so closely involved in the advisory panel and look forward to working with industry and FinTech ecosystem peers in selecting the most interesting start-ups to be part of the first cohort.

"The timing is perfect as members are now embracing the rapid technological innovation and are keen to accelerate the adoption of enhanced tools and cutting edge technologies for the creation of new products and services, moving the industry forward at the pace that reflects market dynamics and our customers’ needs.”

John Glen, economic secretary to HM Treasury and City minister, said: “The UK is a world leader in asset management, but to stay that way we’ve got to keep ahead of the curve.

"There are over 93,500 people employed in the UK’s asset management sector, so the FinTech Accelerator - the first of its kind for the sector - will be fantastic news to them and to future entrepreneurs hoping to crack the market.”