CFIT November 2023 Update

Much has happened since July and I’m excited to share the progress we’ve made. We are continuing to work at pace to deliver our first coalition on Open Finance and we will publish a progress report at the end of November. We’ve continued developing strong working relationships with all the UK fintech hubs and have also engaged with new partners on our Open Finance coalition. We’ve added more resources to the core CFIT team, and I’m really pleased that we had our first team strategy day in late October. Six months since launching CFIT, we are well-equipped to deliver on our mission to unblock barriers to financial innovation, and in doing so, maximise economic growth across all regions of the UK.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of CFIT

Open Finance Coalition

CFIT Coalition Team in Deep Work - Oct 2023

Forging ahead on Open Finance

CFIT’s coalition model is fundamentally dependent on collaboration. In the past three months, the insightful discussions with our working group members and coalition partners have enabled us to share valuable knowledge.

We are collaborating to deliver a blueprint for Open Finance, an incremental pathway for how datasets can be unlocked and used to create value. The blueprint will set the tone for all our engagement over the next couple of months, and we look forward to announcing progress we’ve made later this month. Our full recommendations will be published early next year, also marking our first year anniversary.

We’ve refined our focus to identify two distinct use cases of Open Finance for both SMEs and consumers. To show the value of increased data sharing and ownership, the first phase of the Open Finance Coalition is focused on demonstrating how best to deliver more accurate and accessible credit records, and the positive impact this can have on credit decisioning. The unlocking of datasets will help improve how consumers and SMEs access a range of financial services.

This is particularly topical amid cost-of-living challenges and an increased interest rate environment. By proving the case for opening data for credit, we will pave the way to opening data in other parts of the sector and delivering better outcomes with savings, insurance, investments and pensions.

Growing our Partner network

Coalition partners play a vital role by providing strategic insights and additional resources to support our working group members, who are the driving force behind the implementation and execution of the programme’s objectives.

We extend our thanks to our current coalition partners and their commitment in providing invaluable resources to augment the capabilities of our working group members. This includes senior solution architects, strategy consultants, global affairs developers, innovation and product teams and legal experts.

The Open Finance coalition continues to grow: since our last update in July, we have been joined by new members from finance, technology and regulatory bodies. These additions have significantly enhanced our collective insights. We’ve welcomed Infact Systems, NayaOne, FDATA and Santander as coalition partners and Credit Canary as a working group member. We have progressed discussions with a number of other potential partners who will be joining very soon. The FCA, Fair4AllFinance, Federation for Small Businesses and many others have also actively contributed to our working groups. We thank all our working group members, coalition partners and contributors for their hard work.

‘Open Finance… In Focus’ series

To highlight the work we are doing in coalition with our partners, we are launching the #OpenFinanceInFocus series. This will feature insights from our SME and consumer use-case working groups, their motivations behind joining the coalition, and what happens next.

Our Open Finance in Focus series will be available via LinkedIn, so follow us there.

CFIT Collaborating across the UK

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The UK’s fintech ecosystem is one of the most innovative in the world. If we want to truly drive financial innovation, we need to make sure we’re unlocking barriers at a regional level and maximising skills and infrastructure across the UK. We are delighted to collaborate with regional fintech hubs to support their work.

West Midlands

The West Midlands has made a name for itself as one of the UK’s leading fintech hubs. In September, SuperTech launched their Impact report highlighting the region’s development in the financial and professional services sectors. In October, members of our leadership team joined the fintech community in the West Midlands as part of events organised by SuperTech WM. Our CEO recapped CFIT’s mission at the Birmingham Tech Week, explaining how coalitions work and highlighting the role played by our coalition members based in and around Birmingham – HSBC and CrediCar. Our Director for Ecosystem and Partnerships, Ksenia Grant, also met with prominent financial services companies and exciting new fintech companies in the region attending the Annual ProfTech Dinner and Connector Series Live with BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

Northern Ireland

Our leadership team were in Belfast for the Northern Ireland Investment Summit. They joined the fintech community in hearing great insights from Lord Dominic Johnson (Minister for Investment) and Kemi Badenoch MP (Secretary of State for Business and Trade) on UK-wide Fintech growth and collaboration opportunities.

The West of England

Fintech West is actively involved in our Open Finance coalition supporting our consumer working group and we are working closely with their team. We were delighted to contribute to the recent report on Fintech in the South West. Leon Ifayemi, our Lead for Coalitions and Research, also spoke at the Bristol Tech Festival organised by Fintech West, sharing insights from his life as a tech entrepreneur, including the challenges of growing a business and building a marketplace.

North of England

Ksenia Grant will be speaking at the Fintech North Manchester Conference on 14 November. Do register here to hear from her and many prominent speakers.


Our Head of Talent, Engagement & Placements, Gemma Hallett, attended Wales Tech Week organised by Fintech Wales, speaking on Skills and Talent, and engaging with the fintech movers and shakers in the region.


Ksenia Grant enjoyed attending some fantastic events during the Scotland Fintech Festival in September and October. The festival is organised by Fintech Scotland with whom CFIT are working closely on the Open Finance coalition. You can read more about the festival here.

We are looking forward to the UK Fintech Symposium 2023 taking place in Edinburgh on 29 November. The event is the annual conference for the FinTech National Network delivered in association with Innovate UK, the UK and Scottish Governments, and is the gathering place for fintech leaders to collaborate, cooperate and develop new market opportunities.


We hope to see some CFIT coalition participants at the Fintech Talents Festival. You can listen to our CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE, who will be joining a panel on ‘Take data from the rich, give to the small’, and Wasim Mushtaq, our Interim COO, who will join panels on ‘The future of fintech’ and ‘Open Finance for the underserved’.

Later, in December, Wasim Mushtaq will be at FinTech Connect 2023, offering his insights on the ‘Innovation on a budget – doing more with less’ panel.

Amplifying CFIT’s voice

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If the UK wants to lead the world in financial innovation and realise the transformative potential of Open Finance, we need to stimulate collaboration and make CFIT’s vision known. Expos and industry events put us in the room with the companies capable of accelerating this shift.

If you were at the Open Banking Expo in London in mid-October, you would have heard from some of our senior leaders who debated future innovations that will take the fintech sector to the next level.

Our Chair, Charlotte Crosswell OBE shared her views on the advances made in Open Banking and what’s spurring innovation leading to Open Finance; our CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE discussed why Open Data has so much transformative potential; and our Interim COO, Wasim Mushtaq, together with one of his mentees, discussed the importance of mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Separately, our CEO also joined a panel at the Global Digital Forum to discuss the implications of operating in a new digital environment and how it’s likely to change the way products and services are structured and delivered in global markets and economies. He focused on the opportunities and challenges created by a new UK framework.

Our Chair, Charlotte Crosswell OBE also joined Clearpay at their Westminster launch of their new research, speaking about how buy-now pay-later offers choice in a competitive market and how credit scoring, one of the focus areas for CFIT’s first Coalition on Open Finance, can help consumers make better credit decisions, helping them to manage their finances more effectively.

Engaging the media

Financial innovation has a profound impact on both economic growth and productivity and deserves to stay at the top of the news agenda. In an article published by Financial IT, our CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE wrote about how the collaborative work of CFIT’s inaugural coalition is protecting and, moreover, expanding financial innovation throughout the UK and beyond.

Our CEO also spoke with David Brear at 11:FS about CFIT’s mission to lead the world in financial innovation and maximise economic growth across all regions of the UK. The interview explores his fascinating background spanning investment banking, venture capital and being a founder, then takes a deep dive into what about CFIT captivates him and his aspirations for the group.

In October, the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Arab Emirates, promoting collaboration between the two Countries. CFIT’s Chair, Charlotte Crosswell OBE featured in UK and UAE press discussing the signing, confirming that: “Partnerships like these invite coordination around critical open payments and data standards, allowing the UK’s world-leading fintech sector to more easily scale into overseas markets.”

Skills – translating words into action

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At CFIT, one of our primary goals is to work with academics, local government and businesses to help attract, retain and ensure prosperous careers in financial innovation whatever the stage or location. Our CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE recently joined a panel organised by Academy, who are on the lookout for aspiring technologists across the UK, about how we can ensure inclusivity in a post-AI world. Alongside other industry experts, he also examined what graduates should look for in a career, how that has changed over the years, how fintech is addressing some of the image problems of a career in banking and, importantly, the barriers to access in the sector.

Gemma Hallett has been delving deep into the needs, challenges and solutions that the UK requires to ensure a new and diverse supply of talent to its fintech sector, engaging with universities and companies across the UK. Under Gemma Hallet’s leadership and in partnership with Fintech Wales, its member organisations and local universities, CFIT has developed a pilot placement programme which will be launching soon in Wales. Follow our channels to hear more about it soon.

Research – Upcoming CFIT Fellowship Programme

To underpin our coalition work we’ve placed significant focus on research and development. Our coalition has pooled resources to conduct comprehensive studies and ground-breaking research. We are getting ready to launch our paid CFIT research fellowship programme, where universities can contribute domain expertise to our working groups. We will be recruiting research assistants to help our 2024 schedule of research and analysis. Follow our comms channels if you would like to get involved.

CFIT Team News

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We’re proud and delighted for our CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE, to be honoured on the 2024 Black Power List Excellence Awards, officially recognised as one of Britain’s most influential men and women of African, African Caribbean and African American Heritage. He received his recognition on Friday 27 October.

Our Chair, Charlotte Crosswell OBE, has also been recognised by AltFi for her laudable example of female leadership in the financial services industry. AltFi has shortlisted her for Woman of The Year 2023 and we hope you join us in wishing her luck at the awards gala later in the month!

We’re delighted that Gemma Hallett, our Head of Talent, Engagement & Placements has also recently joined the Fintech Wales Advisory Panel to assist with developing skills and talent pathways to support financial services and fintech companies in the region, building on our partnership on developing the placements pilot. She has been also nominated for the Women in STEM awards for her contribution for skills development by Chwarae Teg – Wales’ largest gender equality charity.

In the last 3 months, we have continued to add talent to our core team. All our hires are strong advocates of open and progressive financial innovation and bring extensive and invaluable ecosystem experience as we move to the next stage of delivery.

In late October the full team came together for our very first team strategy day with all our new hires: Melissa Patel, Head of Research, Simon Hanson, Head of Communications, Houssein El Sayed, Head of Coalition Delivery, and Andrew Farman, Head of Finance and Reporting, joining Ezechi Britton, CEO, Wasim Mushtaq, Interim COO, Ksenia Grant, Director of Ecosystem and Partnerships, Leon Ifayemi, Director of Coalitions and Research, James McGreevy, Coalitions Analyst, and Kennedy Mashanda, Technology Analyst.