January After a strong finish at the end of 2015, FinTechs started the year with a bumper round of investment. A total of $7billion was invested across 112 deals in January alone, hitting new highs for the still nascent market.
February In February HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, made the decision to remain headquartered in London. Following much speculation that it would re-centre its operations in Hong Kong, the news boosted London’s growing reputation as the global Financial Capital.
March The first of the FCA’s partnership agreements was signed in March – a world-first deal which will see the FCA and Australian regulator ASIC refer to one another innovative businesses wishing to enter the other’s market. Similar deals followed for Singapore in May and China in November, in efforts to stimulate global fintech innovation and help businesses scale globally.
April At the end of 2016’s first quarter, global FinTech investment lived up to its early promise with 67% year-on-year growth to $5.3 billion. Europe and Asia led the pack, receiving 62% of that investment thanks to collaborative rather than disruptive ventures.
May The inaugural ID2020 summit was held at the United Nations in May. Over 50 tech businesses (including Onfido) met to discuss the state of play for global identity, with blockchain and financial inclusion featuring heavily. Technologies that can help provide a robust digital identity will open up access to financial services to the 2 billion unbanked worldwide, and look set to become even more dominant in the coming months.
June Flying in the face of all predictions, the UK voted to leave the European Union in June. The unprecedented decision threw markets into turmoil and cast doubt on the future of the European economy, with the pound immediately dropping against the dollar by 10%. Six months on, uncertainties still abound as to how trade deals, talent acquisition and investment will be affected.
July The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group published their report on FinTech in July. The outlook was positive, with the flourishing FinTech community described as creating a “more pluralistic, inclusive and secure financial environment” in the UK. The report named Onfido as one of the leading proponents of Regulation Technology (RegTech), and advised that adoption of such solutions by traditional financial services be encouraged and accelerated.
August In August, membership association for FinTech Innovate Finance launched the Global FinTech Hubs Federation . Aimed at fostering more collaboration and innovation between financial services industries worldwide, the programme provides an environment that will support the developing FinTech ecosystem.
September A Deloitte report launched in September listed 21 emerging FinTech hubs globally, and named the UK, Singapore, New York, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong as the leaders in the field. Technological innovation was the key driving factor in each, allowing for disruption of traditional banking and a wider choice of financial services for consumers.
October October saw the return of the World’s biggest Payments Innovation event: Vegas Money 20/20. Onfido exhibited for the first time and our CEO, Husayn Kassai, spoke on using AI to power next generation user experience in the face of growing regulatory pressures. Check out our blog for more on the standout themes of the week and predictions on where identity and regulation are headed next.
In November, election of ‘underdog’ Donald Trump shook the world. As with the Brexit result in June, the news caused immediate volatility in the market and led to much speculation about the potential impact of the Trump Presidency on the world of FinTech. With investment predicted to slow, we’ll undoubtedly see some significant change in the next four years.
In the UK, Onfido was invited to contribute to the industry sandbox alongside Capital One, Thomson, Infosys, Santander and IBM. The initiative, aims to design a market to allow innovative business ideas to go-to-market faster and will support the UK economy through more efficiency, customer-centric growth.
December Perhaps unsurprisingly, US investment in FinTech took a downturn in December. But good news came as The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the main regulator for federal banks, announced a charter that will enable lenders to operate in all states upon getting the appropriate license. With a promise to accelerate their growth and bring increased options for credit to customers, it’s an encouraging trend that could mean good things in 2017.