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Big Bang 2.0: Radical upheaval planned to revive the City of London

Big Bang 2.0: Radical upheaval planned to revive the City of London – and fuel a UK fintech boom

  • This week Chancellor Rishiunak told bankers to prepare for the ‘Big Bang 2.0’
  • This promises to revive financial services ahead of regulatory talks with the EU
  • A fintech review is led by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of Worldpay
  • This aims to make the UK the best place to set up and grow a fintech company

After Brexit, London wants to reinvent and strengthen its position as one of the world’s most important financial hubs.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishiunak told bankers and merchants to prepare for what he called ‘Big Bang 2.0’ and pledged to revive financial services ahead of regulatory talks with the European Union, and after a pandemic. which made Square Mile look and feel like a ghost. city.

While the Chancellor’s plans are so far lacking in detail, former banker Lord Jitesh Gadhia says there are three areas where the city of London could radically change.

After Brexit, London aims to reinvent and strengthen its position as one of the world's most important financial centers

After Brexit, London is looking to reinvent and strengthen its position as one of the world’s most important financial hubs

First, the government is investigating how it can make a listing on the London Stock Exchange more attractive. Second, it is considering European regulations on how much capital banks and insurance companies must hold.

Perhaps most important, though, is the fintech assessment led by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of Worldpay, who aims to make the UK the best place to set up and grow a fintech company. The UK is a world leader in this field, listing companies such as Revolut, Monzo, Transferwise and Nutmeg.

But one company that could trump them all is Checkout, a little-known payments company that has achieved a whopping £ 11 billion valuation after raising £ 334 million in new funding this week, making it the fourth largest fintech company in the world. world is – and the UK’s largest.

Founded in 2012, with headquarters in London, it processes online payments for websites and customers including Deliveroo, fashion website The Hut Group and luxury furniture retailer Heal’s. The most recent results showed annual sales of £ 54 million.

Customers say Checkout’s technology works better than traditional payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard, especially on mobile, adding that it allows customers to pay in a variety of ways, including cryptocurrencies.

Each time a user makes a transaction, Checkout charges a small fee for processing it, as well as a flat fee. As a result, Checkout processes billions of dollars in more than 150 currencies every year.

Hot property: Checkout founder Guillaume Pousaz and wife Laure

Hot property: Checkout founder Guillaume Pousaz and wife Laure

Hot property: Checkout founder Guillaume Pousaz and wife Laure

The brains behind it is the Swiss Guillaume Pousaz who, despite being a multi-millionaire at the age of 39, shuns the spotlight. According to people close to Pousaz, he is not the usual tech, but a razor-sharp, friendly businessman who traveled 300 days a year before the pandemic.

He is a resident of Dubai, where his wife Laure Pousaz and two children live, but after choosing to locate Checkout’s headquarters in Fitzrovia, he spends most nights at the five-star Edition Hotel in central London. F.

ormer Prime Minister Theresa May would have called him a “citizen of nowhere.” He joked in the past that his wife fears Checkout will become “a lifelong company that will take me to my grave, like the late Steve Jobs.” Checkout now has 1,000 employees worldwide, with 500, mostly engineers, in the UK.

Pousaz says the money from the latest round of funding will be used to open offices in New York and Denver and hire an additional 700 people this year. But he’s under pressure as the funding rounds have produced high-profile investors all expecting returns for the foreseeable future.

Its largest shareholders include New York-based investment companies Insight Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management and Greenoaks Capital, which is based in San Francisco. Pousaz says he has built close relationships with his investors, adding that he is desperate to impress them.

He says he wants the company to go public in the future and has spoken to a board member of Insight Ventures about this. At the moment, Pousaz has his eyes on New York and the Nasdaq, but Russ Shaw of Tech London Advocates believes the government should do everything it can to ensure that Checkout is listed in the UK.

Shaw said, “It’s just the kind of tech company that should be floating on the London Stock Exchange. There must be a lot of pressure from the Chancellor and reform of the listing and dual listing conditions. We cannot afford to lose these types of businesses. ‘

While Sunak prepares the Square Mile for life outside the EU, his main allies may not be the bankers, but the UK’s budding fintech entrepreneurs.

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