UK Fintech Challenge Pioneers Data-Driven Solutions for Later Life Planning

30/04/2024
Bryn Coulthard, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Smart Data Foundry

FINTECH Scotland and Smart Data Foundry are collaborating to bring an industry-wide UK fintech innovation challenge to the market. This challenge seeks to inspire the development of inclusive financial services for consumers, empowering them on their journey towards a secure financial future.

Building on the success of the previous SME business banking programme in 2023, the 2024 emphasis will be on new innovative solutions that can support people’s financial journeys as they plan for their later years.

UK fintechs can now apply to take part in the challenge, and up to six successful applicants will be awarded a £5K participation fund to allocate resource to developing their idea. In addition to funding, the challenge offers a fantastic opportunity for participants to present to some of the largest financial institutions in the UK, including NatWest Group, PwC, and Royal London, as well as engage with experts in data, technology, and fintech. This exposure will allow innovators to gain valuable insights, receive expert guidance, and enter potential collaborations, maximising the chances of success for their projects. 

Another key feature of the challenge is Smart Data Foundry’s provision of synthetic data replicating both consumer banking and investment and savings products*. This will enable fintechs to thoroughly test and refine their innovations, ensuring the development of robust and effective solutions that address consumers’ real needs.

As life expectancy in the UK and around the world continues to increase, the number of people living later in life is growing rapidly. It is expected that average life expectancy in the UK will be 85.9 years by 2050 – in 1950 it was 68.6 years.1 This demographic shift has a significant impact on the current and future cost of living, as there is an increased need to be financially secure for longer. Fintech solutions need to consider future products and services that will help prepare people financially for a longer life.

Through support from the Strength in Places UK Research and Innovation Grant, a prize fund of £45K will be offered to promising projects arising from the challenge. This will allow entrepreneurs and innovators to further develop and implement their ideas, which will help unlock later-life planning for consumers.

Those interested in taking part have until 17 May to submit their application.

Samantha Brand, Innovations & Partnerships at NatWest Group, said: We are thrilled to partner with FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry on the innovation call for Supporting Later Financial Lives. This growing customer segment spans life stages with varying product requirements, and we believe there are specific needs to be solved in this space. We look forward to working with innovators to understand how we can create the best solution for our customers. The challenge aligns firmly with NatWest’s purpose to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive.”

Sarah Collins, Director PwC United Kingdom, commented: “We are thrilled to support this innovation challenge, which represents an exciting opportunity to harness the power of open finance data. The power of fintech can help consumers gain greater control over their financial futures, ultimately enabling them to make smarter decisions as they plan for later life. We are delighted to be working with FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry to accelerate data driven innovation.”

Bryn Coulthard, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Smart Data Foundry, said: “Our continued partnership with FinTech Scotland in this innovation challenge underscores our commitment to empowering consumers with innovative, data-driven solutions. By leveraging the power of data, technology, and fintech expertise, we hope this challenge will help to revolutionise financial services, ensuring individuals can embark on their later years with confidence and security. Through initiatives like this, we’re envisioning the future and actively shaping it.”

Nicola Anderson, CEO of FinTech Scotland, said: “Together with Smart Data Foundry, we are excited to launch this new innovation challenge focusing on later financial lives. As we explore innovation in this domain we hope it will also generate fresh insights into the potential for Open Finance data. This is a great opportunity to explore that potential, with a focus on delivering smarter, and future-focused customer solutions. We are excited to see how these new ideas will help evolve the digital financial landscape with a focus on accessibility and using data to capture the needs of our rapidly evolving society.”

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