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Future Finance initiative launches to drive innovation in Scottish financial sector

Firms in the financial services sector in Scotland have been invited to sign up for a new business and innovation support programme.

Future Finance aims to enhance innovation and productivity in the sector and help organisations adapt to challenges, ranging from AI and data to changes in regulation and widening access to services.

The £1.8 million initiative, funded by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is initially being rolled out as a pilot in Scotland. Businesses are being urged to register their interest via a dedicated website.

Four universities – including Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Glasgow, Bristol, and the West of England – are leading the project in collaboration with SETsquared, FinTech West and industry partners.

Businesses who sign up will be able to access free advice in areas such as IP, investment, financial regulation and product development, alongside an initial offering of training programmes in change management, innovation readiness, IP and leadership.

The programme aims to enable the financial services sector to adopt new technologies, strategies, and processes, to increase productivity and profitability, attract and retain new talent and clients, and become more sustainable and inclusive.

Industry partners include NatWest, Deloitte, Burges Salmon, and Hargreaves Lansdown.

Dr Patrick Ring, reader in financial services at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “It is an opportunity to bring together the expertise of academia, industry, fintech and communities to identify barriers to innovation and deliver products, services, skills and training that unlocks greater innovation amongst SMEs.

“In doing so, it also aims to tackle challenges around responsible access and uptake of financial services by underserved individuals and communities.

“I would encourage all organisations who wish to find out more about the project to get in touch.”

Nicola Anderson, chief executive at FinTech Scotland, said: “We encourage both established financial service organisations and fintechs to make the most of the opportunity.

“The programme provides a platform for incumbents to learn about the latest technology advances and collaborate with fintechs from Scotland and the rest of the UK, accelerate innovation and drive better customer outcomes.

“Collaborations between our two Glasgow-based university partners and their English counterparts will enable participating organisations to build networks outside of their regional base.”

Marty Reid, interim executive director at SETsquared, added: “We urge financial services businesses to get involved.

“It’s always hard to find the time to engage in additional activities, but this programme could transform the way you work, and there’s funding available to get involved at the very first stage.

“We’re excited about the potential to roll this out across the UK, as the impact extends not only to the companies it will support but also to improving and opening up access to financial services to the end user.”

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