Fintech placements for students as new centre launches in Leeds

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, speaking
Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, speaking at the CFIT launch
University of Leeds students will have the opportunity to take up placements in some of the UK-s leading fintech companies, in a fresh announcement confirmed at the launch of a new nationwide centre.

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) launched on Tuesday 28 February at Nexus, the innovation community at the University of Leeds.

Backed by HM Treasury and the City of London Corporation, CFIT marks a landmark moment for the UK’s financial innovation sector.

Born out of the 2021 Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, the new organisation will act as a central convening force, leveraging expertise from across the financial innovation space to drive growth in the sector - and maximise economic growth for all regions of the UK.

We will be able to start to build the talent pipeline that is needed for the UK to be a global leader in innovation in finance.

Professor Iain Clacher, Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation
It has now been confirmed the centre will launch financial innovation hubs across the UK and in major cities including Leeds. In addition, students will get the chance to take up placements at leading fintech companies.

Professor Iain Clacher, who leads the University’s Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation , welcomed the news.

He said: "Drawing on students from a wide range of subjects across the University, as well as students from diverse backgrounds, many of whom may not see financial services and fintech as a career open to them, we will be able to start to build the talent pipeline that is needed for the UK to be a global leader in innovation in finance."

British success story

He also confirmed the CFIT will be working with universities consortium the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment to support their climate internship programme, which is set to "help build the critical mass of experts with the right skills to accelerate the adoption of best in-class climate science into institutional investment in the UK and globally."

The fintech industry was hailed a "British success story" by Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith MP, who was at the CFIT launch.

He said: "Today’s launch of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology doubles down on this, boosting growth and investment in exciting cities for growth and innovation such as Leeds."

With 100 fintech firms now making their home in the wider Leeds City Region, according to research by Whitecap Consulting, the industry contributes £700 million to the region’s economy.

Leeds is seen as a crucial part of the Fintech ecosystem outside of London. The University has been a longstanding supporter of initiatives such as Fintech North and is helping to support the development of the fintech community in Leeds.

At today’s launch, Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, spoke of the need for interdisciplinary research teams in fintech, along with the importance of collaboration with industry, practitioners, and policy makers.

"It is this mix of research expertise with real-world collaboration that is essential to solve global challenges," he added.

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology will be led by chairman Charlotte Crosswell OBE, who is former CEO of Innovate Finance and Chair and Trustee of Open Banking. Earlier this year Ezechi Britton MBE was announced as CFIT’s CEO-elect.