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Unleashing the Future: Insights from Lord Chris Holmes on Fintech, AI, and Inclusion

FinTech B2B Marketing

Lord Chris Holmes’s opening keynote captivated the audience with his profound insights on technology, FinTech, and the power of inclusion, at our recent FinTech B2B Marketing Conference, which took place in April in London. Holmes, a former Paralympic swimmer with an impressive record of nine gold, five silver, and one bronze medal, is now a prominent figure in the UK Parliament, championing the integration of cutting-edge technology for public good. His advocacy extends to the regulation of artificial intelligence and blockchain, emphasising their potential to transform financial services.

Setting the Stage

Holmes began his keynote by reflecting on his unexpected journey from a working-class background in the Midlands to the halls of Parliament. He talked about his parliamentary work, which includes the establishment of FinTech, blockchain, and AI groups, fostering innovation and collaboration across these sectors.

The Power of Numbers

Holmes highlighted the importance of FinTech in the UK’s economic landscape, citing the Financial Services and Markets Act as an important piece of legislation. This act, with its numerous amendments, embeds FinTech, financial inclusion, and regulatory accountability into the fabric of the UK’s financial system. One notable achievement he mentioned was enabling cashback without a purchase, a move that promotes financial inclusion by combining physical cash and FinTech solutions.

Navigating Challenges

In the face of geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges, Holmes emphasised the need for clear missions, visions, and purposes to drive progress. He advocated for a principles-based approach to FinTech, focusing on inclusion, innovation, interoperability, and international collaboration. He encouraged this strategy as it has the ability to strengthen the UK’s FinTech sector and positions it as a global leader in financial innovation.

Legislative Milestones

Holmes highlighted several key legislative efforts aimed at fostering a robust digital ecosystem. The Electronic Trade Documents Act, described as a groundbreaking yet understated piece of legislation, facilitates the electronic handling of trade documents through blockchain technology. This act shows how technology-neutral and future-proof regulations can enable significant advancements in digital trade.

The AI Revolution

Addressing the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, Holmes introduced his Artificial Intelligence Regulation Bill. This bill proposes the establishment of an agile, horizontal AI authority to oversee the integration of AI across various sectors, ensuring responsible use and encouraging innovation. He emphasised the importance of trust, transparency, and public engagement in AI development, drawing parallels to the successful public consultation model used during the early days of in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The UK’s Unique Position

Holmes contrasted the UK’s legislative approach with the EU’s AI Act, praising the UK’s potential to craft agile, dynamic regulations grounded in English common law. This flexibility, combined with the UK’s strong tech ecosystem and financial markets, positions it to lead in AI and digital innovation. He also referenced the Khalifa Review, which outlines strategic directions for the UK’s FinTech sector, including the need for better scale-up funding and a more integrated approach to talent and technology.

Future Focus: Digital Assets, Open Banking, and Tokenisation

Looking ahead, Holmes proposed a focused legislative agenda encapsulated in the acronym DOT: Digital Assets, Open Banking, and Tokenisation. He called for specific legislation to define digital assets, further development of open banking, and the exploration of tokenisation to unlock new opportunities in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

Marketing and Community – The Heart of Success

Holmes concluded his keynote by emphasising the critical role of marketing, communications, and customer experience in driving FinTech success. He urged the FinTech community to prioritise customer-centric strategies and leverage collective knowledge to accelerate growth and innovation. By fostering a supportive, collaborative environment, the FinTech sector can achieve unprecedented scale and impact.

Watch the full keynote speech here.

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