June 23, 2024

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Revolut’s U.K. boss says London risks losing its crown as the global center for fintechs

2 min read

The new UK boss of Revolut Ltd. is calling for action to shore up London’s place as the global center for fintechs.

With Paris and New York competing to host promising finance startups, London is at risk of a growing drift of workers away from the city, according to Francesca Carlesi, who joined Revolut in December. This week, she signed up to a new “Unicorn Council” of the UK’s largest fintechs, set up by trade body Innovate Finance, to push the government on startup-friendly policies.

London took the lead on digital bank launches after the financial crisis, but “something has shifted in the last two or three years,” said Carlesi. Still, she suggested the city remains on Revolut’s radar for an eventual initial public offering, despite the complaints of co-founder Nik Storonsky about British regulations holding back businesses.

“The UK is our home and is also one where a lot of our investors come from,” Carlesi said in her first interview in her new role at one of Europe’s biggest fintech businesses. “We know that companies are always better off to list where their biggest market is.” For now, though, listing is not the focus and a decision will depend on various factors, she added.

Global investors such as Sequoia are showing interest in the region’s fintech scene, yet such firms want to see that “companies that are born here are nurtured to potentially become global leaders in the sector,” Carlesi said.

For now, her focus at Revolut is helping the firm tackle a string of problems with its accounts, controls management and culture as it heads into a third year of waiting for a banking license in the UK, its main market.

“We are determined to do the hard work to get there. We’re taking it one step at the time and we’re moving in the right direction,” Carlesi said.

Shared Vision

Before joining Revolut, Carlesi co-founded digital mortgage lender Molo and sold the majority of the business a year ago to…

Katherine Griffiths, Bloomberg

2024-03-06 05:34:10

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