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FDATA successful in collaborative bid for £23m GOFCoE funding

Following recent notification by the UK Government, we are delighted to announce that the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) has been successful in acquiring a seed fund of £23m by way of grant, to cornerstone its investment strategy.

This major award is part of a much larger funding strategy to build a world-class global utility for Research and Development in this domain; GOFCoE will be seeking to quickly build on this cornerstone investor with private sector involvement from both within the UK and international markets. The initial goal is to double the funding. The long-term aim is to make GOFCoE self-sustaining as an industry utility.

As Open Finance initiatives proliferate throughout the world, FDATA has developed considerable capability and influence to shape the fundamental policy, governance and technology elements that are vital to successful delivery and for a healthy, competitive ‘Open’ market.

As PSD2 came into force in Europe in early 2018, it became apparent that there were various things which the marketplace desperately needed but for which there was no obvious focal point or leadership to make these assets available.  To respond to these gaps in market fulfilment, FDATA prepared a paper and developed a strategy for solving some of these issues: GOFCoE, originally announced to the market at the FDATA Global Summit in December 2018. FDATA has developed relationships with key partners, including Fintech Scotland and the University of Edinburgh (UoE), to build out its capability. UoE as the lead partner, has resourced a small team to develop the business plan, funding requirements, governance arrangements and strategic vision to make it a reality.  The team has done a tremendous job and I thank them for their great work.

The primary driver for the selection of the UoE (and surrounding academic and financial technology cluster), is its world-class strengths in supercomputing and data science. It has proved to be an outstanding partnership of the willing, fully committing to the vision of problem-solving through international collaboration and making its resources and funding available to kick-start the programme.

Regulators across the globe have also been engaged in the design and ideation of GOFCoE.

About GOFCoE

GOFCoE aims to provide leadership, coordination, research, and capability to develop the benefits of Open Finance and to help safely unlock the potential of customer data as a force to improve lives.   GOFCoE is set up to be an industry, regulatory and academic collaboration, and focusing on areas of the market that can only be really solved through collaboration. Some examples include:

 

  1. A Financial Data Sandpit of pseudonymised financial data contributed from multiple market verticals to help banks, fund managers, insurers and fintechs to more rapidly develop hypothesise, prototype algorithms, test business models and work with regulatory sandboxes to develop proof points.
  2. A Global Economic Observatory – a longitudinal study of how humankind earns, spends and saves through the lens of both consumers and businesses.  This observatory will draw a wide variety of private sector and public sector data sets to provide an unprecedented research and policy capability including looking at things like how people manage unfair credit or prepare for a long life.
  3. An Algorithmic Bias Test Laboratory – a new capability to assist financial services practitioners reduce discrimination, providing assurance of compliance and ethical standards in their algorithmic distribution of products and services. 
  4. A Global Open Finance Technical Standards Working Group – creating a digital library of the output of national and international agencies developing API standards, coupled to a working group of those agencies seeking to develop harmonisation of security standards for data sharing, digital identity,  conformance testing and interoperability across markets. The OpenID Foundation will be a key partner in this initiative.
  5. An Economic Crime Unit – providing an international collaboration environment to enable enhanced pattern recognition research and development to reduce money laundering and fraud.
  6. An Education and Training Programme – running courses in machine learning in financial services, data ethics and data governance.

In the coming months, GOFCoE will be spun out of FDATA and the UoE into an independent entity, while continuing to be hosted on campus at the university. The intention behind this evolution is to put it into an internationally diverse governance framework. Although it is very much intended to support firms), regulators, policy makers and academic research, it is critical to its success that it remains independent of these actors, not perceived to be controlled by one nation state, and is positioned always on the side of the end customer. To that end, trust, market neutrality and ethics have a special meaning for the GOFCoE ethos. 

Since its earliest origins in 2013, FDATA has lobbied for the rights of consumers and businesses to share their financial data with regulated actors of their choosing and to represent the interests of members in the delivery of Open Finance. GOFCoE is a major new international collaboration, a research and development facility through which Open Finance objectives will be supported, with a suite of practical capabilities for companies to work with.

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FINANCIAL DATA AND TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION AND OPEN ID FOUNDATION IN GLOBAL AGREEMENT

Not-for-profits to campaign jointly on open finance initiatives

The OpenID Foundation (OIDF), the international standardisation organisation which maintains a standard known as the Financial-grade API (FAPI), and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA Global), the global trade association for companies working to promote ‘open finance’ and best practise financial data sharing, have signed a liaison agreement to enable them to work jointly across the world.

Under the agreement, FDATA Global, with chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, will lead policy efforts to implement open banking frameworks across the globe while OIDF will focus on the technology behind a digital identity solution. The agreement will:

  1. Provide a mechanism for the parties to work together on mutually approved white papers, press releases, activities, presentations and other communications;
  2. Allow participation of each party’s staff and members in the other party’s meetings, as mutually agreed by both parties;
  3. Provide a line of communications in order for the parties to communicate (without obligation and only to the extent each party chooses) about new work under consideration and about upcoming meetings;
  4. Support their common goals, including where appropriate and mutually agreed, to promote common standards across markets, and to collaborate on the development and implementation of certain standards and publications of common interest; and
  5. Avoid market confusion regarding their respective organizations and activities.

FDATA Global works with governments, regulatory authorities, and the financial services industries to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology, including advocating for the adoption of open banking frameworks and open banking standards.

The OIDF is an international standards development organization of leading identity and security architects, with a broad range of communities and companies developing open standards that enable firms and customers to safely interact in digital channels. The FAPI working group of OIDF has collaborated to produce the FAPI security profile, which is an integrated set of schemas, security and privacy recommendations and protocols which enables common connections that enable API to easily connect and for financial data to be safely shared and privacy protected.

As Open Banking and Open Finance initiatives develop across the world, the FAPI profile will be the starting point for markets seeking to reduce complexity, risk and engineering costs, making it easier for firms to connect and test their APIs.

Commenting, FDATA Global’s Chairman Gavin Littlejohn said:

“Open finance is the single biggest movement in financial services globally. It will change the world, and it will change the lives of young and old, rich and poor.

“The core components of delivering this change are the enshrining of the customer’s right to share their data, a regulatory environment that supports this right and an implementation capability that transitions the market access to high quality secure APIs.

“In the UK API initiative, the introduction of the FAPI security profile and FAPI conformance testing suites ensured that both sides of the API connection conformed to the profile. This had a transformational impact on the implementation experience, making connections easier between banks and fintech firms, making it easier for regulators to understand that security standards were being met, and greatly reduced the complex engineering and maintenance costs across the industry.

“As the Australian, Japanese, US and some of the European groups are developing their API initiatives, it is great to see the FAPI Security Profile discussed in the standardisation agenda. FDATA Global is happy to be able to support the brilliant work of the OIDF and recommend that the FAPI working group output become the starting point of that conversation and a cornerstone of the implementation experience.”

Don Thibeau, Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, said:

“The development of open global standards like FAPI require the painstaking commitment and contributions of a wide variety of companies, communities and individual developers. This is demonstrated in the ongoing work of the OpenID Foundation’s FAPI Work Group and the leadership of Nomura Research, Microsoft, Intuit and many others. Open standards are only as valuable as their adoption and adoption is driven by trust.  The FAPI Self Certification Test Suite enables trust by helping assure interoperability across computing platforms and international regulatory regimes.

“Our collaboration with FDATA and others demonstrates the importance of the ongoing improvement of trusted standards and certification tests needed by a diverse and dynamic set of financial services players. Open Standards like FAPI enable the easy to use, secure and privacy protecting solutions for clients, consumers and consumers worldwide.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. FDATA Global is a not-for-profit global association for financial services companies operating in fintech. Our members provide innovative financial applications and services to empower customers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments. We seek to work with government, regulatory authorities and the financial services industry in our mission to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology. We have chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, with other territories being developed. www.fdata.global
  2. The OpenID Foundation promotes, protects and nurtures the OpenID community and technologies. It is a non-profit international standardization organization of individuals and companies committed to enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users. OIDF assists the community by providing needed infrastructure and help in promoting and supporting expanded adoption of OpenID. This entails managing intellectual property and brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID. www.openid.net
  3. Images of Gavin Littlejohn and Don Thibeau can be downloaded via the links.
  4. For more information on FDATA contact Andy Maciver, Message Matters, +44 (0)7855 261 244, andy@messagematters.co.uk
  5. For more information on OIDF contact Don Thibeau at director@oidf.org or Michelle Parkes at michelle.parkes@oidf.org

by fdataros fdataros No Comments

FDATA WELCOMES THE START OF OPEN BANKING

Leading fintech trade association calls launch “the first waypoint on a long journey”

The Financial Data and Technology Association, the leading advocate of open banking in the UK and around the world, has welcomed the parallel implementation of PSD2 across Europe, and the launch of Open Banking amongst the large banks here in the UK.

FDATA, which is chaired by Gavin Littlejohn, who represents the fintech industry on the Open Banking Implementation Entity Steering Group, was set up by six fintech companies in 2014 at the request of HM Treasury, and has been working directly with government, regulatory authorities and financial industry stakeholders in our mission to open up Britain’s financial sector to the benefits of financial data and technology.

FDATA has members from across the financial sector who provide innovative financial applications and services to empower personal and small business consumers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

PSD2 and Open Banking empower the customer, through his or her explicit consent, to ensure that their chosen third party provider can access their data, make payments and provide them with innovative financial solutions.

Commenting on today’s launch, FDATA Chairman Gavin Littlejohn said:

“This is an important day for consumers and small businesses. From today, PSD2 gives consumers the right to share their payments data with their chosen third party app without any lingering fear that they are breaching the terms of their bank account, and those third party providers are being brought into a regulated environment to further increase consumer protection. And, in the UK, the delivery by the nine largest current account providers of a common Open Banking standard has provided the opportunity to reduce fragmentation, enhance innovation and provide additional security measures for the whole ecosystem.

“The standardisation of Open Banking delivery will see the continued expansion of fintech companies, models and products, and this is an extremely exciting time for the consumer and for UK plc.

“However, Open Banking in the UK is merely the first waypoint on a long journey. The scope of this launch – only current accounts and only from certain banks – is limited, and customers will only experience the full benefits when the scope is expanded.

“FDATA has successfully campaigned to get us this far, and we will now campaign with renewed vigour to bring all financial products, from all over the world, into a standardised open banking system.

“The drive towards open banking has been, and will remain, customer outcome led. The fintech industry exists because customers required better outcomes. Today is the day where consumers of financial technology in the UK can know for sure that they are being listened to.”

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Open Banking 2020-2030 Summit

FDATA is hosting a Summit in December to chart the Open Banking journey to 2030.

Open banking is the midwife of innovation. It is driving innovation at a breathtaking rate. The consumer tools of the future have not yet been invented. This is the fintech revolution in action. But the journey is long, and we’ve barely left the start line. So where do we go next? How do we get there? What scope of data can we expect to access? What technology will take us there? How can we bring the whole world along for the ride? And what will open banking in 2030 look like?

Join us for a day of expert speakers, lively panels and Q&A as we chart the journey to 2030.

More information and booking details can be found here.

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FDATA Chairman named Fintech convener

Gavin Littlejohn, Chairman of the Financial Data and Technology Association, has been named by the Implementation Entity as the Convener of its Advisory Group on Fintech, and a result will take a seat on the body’s Steering Committee.

The Implementation Entity is the group tasked by the Competition and Markets Authority with delivering an open banking API for the UK.

In addition to Gavin’s appointment, Ian Major from Runpath (an FDATA founding member), has been named as the Convener of the Third Parties advisory group, covering price comparison websites and credit reference agencies.

Other appointments include Thaer Sabri of the Electronic Money Association to convene the Payments group and James Whittle of Payments UK to convene the PSD2 group, both of which FDATA will seek involvement in. The convener of one Advisory Group – that of Challenger Banks – is still to be named, and FDATA is assisting in that process.

Commenting, FDATA’s Executive Director Andy Maciver said:

“We are delighted that FDATA’s members and those close to FDATA have been appointed to these positions. We are perfectly placed to serve our members’ interests by influencing the direction of the API and ensuring that it delivers the enormous benefits to the consumer which were envisaged when HM Treasury started this process in 2015.”

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FDATA welcomes first bank to its membership

The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) has announced that Sainsbury’s Bank has joined as a member. Sainsbury’s Bank is the first bank to join FDATA, and takes its total number of members to 14 at a critical time for the implementation of open banking.

Sainsbury’s Bank was the first supermarket bank to be established in the UK, and provides loans, credit cards, insurance products, savings accounts, and travel money.

FDATA’s members provide innovative financial applications and services to empower customers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

Commenting, Andy Maciver, FDATA’s Executive Director, said:

“This is a great development for FDATA, as we welcome our first challenger bank into the membership. This shows the breadth of FDATA’s membership, which as well as Sainsbury’s Bank now includes personal finance management platforms, credit reference agencies, accountancy providers and lenders, amongst other industries.

“We are entering a crucial time for the creation of an open banking regime and the implementation of an API. Sainsbury’s Bank is a forward-thinking bank that puts its customers at the heart of everything it does and making the right decisions for its customers is a key part of this. We are delighted to have their influence and expertise as part of our membership.”

Sainsbury’s Bank Chief Customer Officer David Jones said:

“We are looking forward to engaging with the FDATA members and their stakeholders and ensuring we stay well-informed and well-positioned to look after the needs of Sainsbury’s customers in the ever-changing world of digital and data management.”

Link to Sainsbury’s Bank

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FDATA welcomes new open banking push

The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) has welcomed the decision by the Open Data Institute (ODI) to convene a new group to continue the work of the 2015 Open Banking Working Group.

The new group, which includes FDATA, will meet on 14th April for its first discussion.

Commenting, FDATA’s Executive Director Andy Maciver said:

“A huge number of people worked hard to produce last year’s Open Banking Standard, which was a solid foundation to move forward with an open API in UK banking. However much work remains to be done, and we share the ODI’s wish to build on the momentum which has been created.

“We’re delighted to join the new group, and our members will participate actively during the process. We must ensure that we mainstream the use of APIs and other data aggregation methods as widely and as quickly as possible in order to give the UK global leadership status.

“We are on the cusp of a great step forward in the UK banking industry, and we will work with everyone with a stake in it to create an open standard which empowers customers to make better decisions and take control of their financial lives.”

The ODI’s announcement can be read here.

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FDATA Director to sit on HMT’s Open Banking Working Group

Andy Maciver, FDATA’s Director, has been invited to be a member of the Steering Committee of the Open Banking Working Group (OBWG).

The OBWG has been formed to build upon the UK Government’s call for evidence on data sharing and open data in banking, and has a remit to deliver a framework for an open API by the end of 2015.

Andy Maciver said:

“I’m delighted to have been asked to sit on this vital group. The Steering Committee will help to shape an open API, which could be a step on the journey to making the UK a world-leader in financial data aggregation.

“FDATA’s members exist as a result of huge consumer demand to be in more control of their financial data in order that they can make better financial decisions. A well thought out and implemented open API can play a big part in providing the environment for innovation to benefit consumers, and I’m pleased to be able to play my part.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information, see here.

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GROUP LAUNCHES TO GIVE BANK CUSTOMERS CONTROL OF THEIR FINANCES

Association for financial technology companies says their apps and services can revolutionise the way people control their finances

Today sees the launch of a new trade association to represent financial technology (‘fintech’) companies who aggregate account data to enable consumers to make better decisions and take control of their finances. The Financial Data and Technology Association – or FDATA – has six founder members who provide these innovative financial applications and services.

FDATA is being launched against the backdrop of the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), which is currently being negotiated in Brussels. FDATA accepts that PSD2’s overarching objective is to create a situation where aggregator fintech companies can access data in order to provide a valuable service to consumers, however in its current draft form it contains both opportunities and threats for our members.

FDATA’s initial focus will involve working collaboratively with government, regulatory authorities and financial institutions to ensure that the whole industry acts in the best interests of consumers by allowing fintech companies to offer them a full service. The Association has described its approach during this phase as a ‘triple-lock’ of engaging in Brussels, engaging in Whitehall and engaging in the City.

The second phase of the Association’s evolution will be to formalise the technical and ethical minimum standards which will govern the industry. The Association intends to write those rules with the full involvement of government, regulatory authorities and financial institutions so that its members can, in effect, become a ‘white list’ of companies to whom banks can release data with full confidence.

Commenting, FDATA’s Director Andy Maciver said:

“Customers of banks and financial institutions in other countries have been enjoying the benefits of full financial control for years. We want the same for UK consumers.

“We were pleased to see the UK Government confirming its support for an opening-up of the market in last week’s recent Autumn Statement. Similarly, negotiations in Brussels have an encouraging basic aim, although the likely outcome remains uncertain.

“We have very simple twin aims: to bring the benefits of financial technology to the UK consumer, and to put in place a strict code of industry practice to ensure complete data security. Our industry must be underpinned by a reputation for data security, so we have as much incentive as the banks and financial institutions to put a bullet-proof system in place.

“We are looking to engage with financial institutions with immediate effect as part of our ‘triple lock’ of engagement in Brussels, Whitehall and the City. We want them to a see us as partners rather than opponents.

“Our members’ apps and services make it easier for consumers to make better financial decisions.  It is now imperative that consumers be allowed to access their information in the way they choose. This revolution has been waiting too long.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Financial Data and Technology Association was formed in 2014 to pave the way for customers to have more control of their financial data. Our member companies provide innovative financial applications and services to empower consumers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

2. FDATA’s current members are Money Dashboard, Moneyhub, QuickBooks, Runpath Digital, Safety Net Credit and Yodlee.

3. FDATA is online at www.fdata.org.uk and on twitter @fdataUK

4. For more information contact FDATA’s directors : Andy Maciver on 07855 261 244 or Peter Duncan on 07749 469 949

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