Home Policy & Governance UK financial regulator establishes innovation advisory group

UK financial regulator establishes innovation advisory group

Financial Conduct Authority: the advisory group has cast-list of 'fixed' and 'rotating' members | Credit: FCA

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced the membership of a newly formed innovation advisory group.

The watchdog announced it was setting up the group in July last year to ‘deepen engagement with industry and inform the FCA’s forward-looking work programme’. It invited a number of ‘key stakeholders’ to take part but in November began to welcome expressions of interest from people wanting to join on a rotating basis. 

Seven members have been picked to join the group for an initial one-year minimum term. They will work alongside five representatives from trade associations who have been appointed as fixed members. Ninety-six applications were received.

The London-headquartered authority wants the group to ‘provide early input into planned initiatives, bring to the FCA’s attention to key issues or concerns impacting the fintech and RegTech [regulatory technology] sectors, and identify opportunities for continued innovation in financial services, and collaboration between the industry and the regulator.’

In undertaking these activities the watchdog states that the group will ‘help the innovation department achieve its objective of promoting competition in the interest of consumers.’


FCA’s innovation commitment

The dozen external members (listed at the bottom of this article) ‘bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in areas that are closely aligned to the innovation department’s workplan for 2023, including artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, competition, digital markets, financial inclusion and sustainability,’ states the FCA in its announcement of the innovation advisory group’s make-up.

The group is due to convene for the first time this month and will meet thereafter at ‘regular intervals’ – expected to be about three times annually.

When welcoming expressions of intertest in joining the group the FCA stated that it was not inviting firms that require authorisation to conduct their activities to join the advisory group ‘though we may occasionally invite firms such as these to take part in sub-groups’. 

The group will be chaired by Ravi Bhalla, who heads the FCA’s innovation department. He joined the watchdog almost two years ago from Lloyds Banking Group. Other key players in terms of innovation at the authority – whose chief executive is Nikhil Rathi – include Jessica Rusu, who is chief data, information and intelligence officer; and Ian Phoenix, who is director for intelligence, digital and innovation.

The FCA, which chairs the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) – a grouping of more than 70 international peers – organised an ‘Innovation Open Day’ event in July 2022, with Bhalla telling the audience that the regulator was “increasing [its] commitment to being more innovative, adaptive and assertive in the digital age”.

Fixed members (five people):
* John Allan, head of innovation and operations unit, Investment Association
* Jason Boud, co-founder and chief executive, RegTech Associates
* Adam Jackson, director of policy, Innovate Finance
* Phillip Mind, director of digital technology and innovation, UK Finance
* Ian Waterworth, director of technology and operations, Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)
Rotating members (seven people):
* Pinar Akman, professor of law and director – Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance at the University of Leeds
* Ghela Boskovich, founder of FemTechGlobal & head of Europe, Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA)
* Tom Bull, partner and head of fintech growth, Ernst & Young LLP
* Esra Kasapoglu, director of AI and data economy, Innovate UK
* Etay Katz, senior partner – financial regulation, Ashurst LLP
* Massimo Preziuso, lecturer in sustainable financial technology, University of Salford
* Alastair Reed, principal policy adviser – money, Which?
* Ravi Bhalla, head of innovation, data and technology department, FCA




The Global Government Fintech Lab 2023 will be held in Dublin on Thursday 18 May 2023. The Lab, our one-day event for senior public servants interested in exploring and implementing fintech solutions, is being organised in partnership with Ireland’s Department of Finance. The event, which is free to attend for all public servants, will feature keynote speeches, panels and breakout sessions focused on fintech-related opportunities and challenges for those working in central government, agencies and other public authorities.