Could the UK’s Open Banking crown be toppled?

Ellie Duncan, ,
21 Nov 2023

Raidiam, Open Banking Limited and UK Finance debated whether the UK has lost its crown or maintained its reputation as the “poster child” of Open Banking, during a Powerhouse Debate at Open Banking Expo UK and Europe.

Henk Van Hulle, chief executive officer of Open Banking Limited, told delegates that the UK has “a world class trust services framework” built over the past six years.

He suggested that, rather than losing its crown, the UK is going through “a regulatory pause” and that it will “accelerate again because we have to take stock, and we can now learn from others, which we hadn’t before”.

“We are not slipping, because we really are consolidating a lot of views in the industry,” Van Hulle said. “There is more to it, not only than looking at what we do today… but also we try to join the dots with all the other initiatives beyond Open Banking.”

Marie Walker

Marie Walker, open futurist at Raidiam

The panel debate, which was moderated by Joy Macknight, editor at The Banker, also heard from Marie Walker, open futurist at Raidiam, about which countries might be vying for the UK’s crown.

“The UK was definitely the poster child and I will use the word ‘was’. Every jurisdiction was looking at how the UK implemented it and that was the blueprint,” Walker said.

“I will argue that Brazil as a data-sharing ecosystem is vastly in excess of scale, adoption and scope, to the UK.”

She added: “What’s interesting in terms of that crown is it’s UK fintech that is exporting its capabilities around the world.”

Phillip Mind, director, digital technology and innovation at UK Finance, told delegates: “In some respects, we led the way and you can see the UK’s standards have been adopted in other jurisdictions.

“In the early days in 2018, our APIs were among the first to open up and in payments, with variable recurring payments for sweeping use cases, we’re leading the way.”

However, Mind added: “Part of our success has been driven by regulatory mandate, but the problem it leaves us with is we now have to retrofit a commercial model over the top of that and that is a challenge.”

They were joined on the panel by Victoria Roberts, director of Victress Communications, and Raminta Bartkiene, project manager at the Bank of Lithuania.

Henk Van Hulle

Henk Van Hulle, chief executive officer of Open Banking Limited

Commenting on the UK’s fintech sector, Roberts said: “When you look at the kind of fintechs that we’ve got in Open Banking in the UK, quite a significant proportion of them are infrastructure providers.

“At the point that your ecosystem contains so many infrastructure providers, there’s so much opportunity for other fintechs to come in and lay new products and services on top of that.”

When asked by Macknight about the other countries that are implementing Open Banking, Raidiam’s Walker acknowledged that “we are going to see some new ecosystems launch within the next 12 months that will have capabilities in excess of Brazil, for example”.

“We also see a lot of emerging markets who are taking baby steps, but they’re quite a long way off in terms of being able to enable data sharing that has positive outcomes for consumers, because there simply isn’t the maturity in the financial sector,” added Walker.

Listen to Marie Walker on the Open Banking Expo Unplugged podcast, alongside Liz Crews, sales director at Raidiam, discussing the creation of data sharing ecosystems.