Revolut CEO: London Could Lose FinTech Hub Status

Revolut’s new U.K. CEO wants to make sure London remains a FinTech hub.

Speaking to Bloomberg News Wednesday (March 6), Francesca Carlesi warned that the British capital risks losing out to Paris and New York in the race to woo startups. This week, the report said, she joined Innovate Finance’s newly-formed “Unicorn Council,” a collection of the U.K.’s biggest FinTechs joining forces to promote startup-friendly government policies.

While London led the world in digital bank launches following the financial crisis, “something has shifted in the last two or three years,” Carlesi told Bloomberg in her first interview since being hired by the digital financial services provider.

Nevertheless, she suggested London is still in the running to host Revolut’s eventual initial public offering (IPO). 

“The U.K. is our home and is also one where a lot of our investors come from,” Carlesi said. “We know that companies are always better off to list where their biggest market is.” 

For the moment, she added, going public is not her focus. Rather, Carlesi said she wants to help Revolut deal with problems with accounts, controls management and culture as it enters its third year of vying for a banking license in the U.K.

Carlesi joined Revolut late last year from Molo, the digital mortgage lender she started. She has also held senior positions at Deutsche Bank, Barclays, McKinsey & Co. and Bridgepoint Capital.

As noted here last year, the U.K. has been the target of criticism that it puts up barriers to FinTechs, especially following its exit from the European Union. Those concerns led to last year’s launch of the FinTech Growth Fund, which plans to invest between $12.7 million to $127 million into a range of companies, including consumer-focused challenger banks, payments tech groups, financial infrastructure providers and regulatory technology firms.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS earlier this week examined the state of FinTechs in the wake of increased regulatory oversight into their partnerships with banks.

“Traditional banks and FinTech upstarts have joined together. The banks have the accounts, the decades worth of data, the regulatory structures and guardrails in place,” that report said. 

“The FinTechs have the technology, the analytics and the user experiences. In the middle sit the platforms and the intermediaries that link the two. The regulatory landscape, itself fluid and dynamic, where the only surety is that there will be more regulation, may force a reckoning for the intermediaries.”