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How the UK Has Set its Sights on Becoming a Fintech Haven in the Wake of Brexit

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Significant policy changes and reform of London’s company listing regime in the wake of Brexit is set to spark a “digital big bang’ in the UK in a bid to accelerate the growing fintech industry within the nation — according to a recent, government-commissioned review.


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The report, published in February 2021, highlights that Brexit’s regulatory uncertainty and growing global competition could undermine the UK’s position as a leader in the world of fintech unless action is taken.

The review was carried out by the former Worldpay chief Ron Kalifa and is one of a number commissioned by the government to help strengthen the UK’s status in the world of finance and technology.

As things stand, the UK is a European leader in terms of the number of companies operating in fintech and new fintech endeavors starting out. However, complications arising from Brexit may lead to the loss of ground between the UK and the likes of Germany and France as one of the world’s favorite destinations for establishing a fintech endeavour.

Both finance and technology sectors are under greater pressure from rivals since the UK’s exit from the European Union at the start of 2021, but it’s possible that Brexit could provide a little more freedom to convert the nation into an even more appetising prospect to retain and build on the support of the developing fintech industry.

With global fintech revenue expected to reach more than $300 billion by 2022, there’s plenty of justification behind the UK prioritising its fintech industry as a key area to retain businesses and work on attracting fledgling companies. Let’s take a deeper look into how the UK looks to capitalise on the growing fintech market in the wake of Brexit.

Passport to Fintech.

The UK government will utilise a visa scheme that’s targeted at fintech professionals in a bid to fill any emerging gaps in the sector’s workforce as a result of Brexit causing a loss of access to the EU’s significant skills base.

The move has already been greeted by the fintech industry, in which many players had been concerned about access to skilled workers before the conclusion of the Brexit process.

According to a Sunday Telegraph report, chancellor Rishi Sunak will soon announce a plan to help the UK fintech sector to retain the talent it needs to continue as a world leader in the industry.

It’s hoped that the fintech visa programme will help the UK to keep its place as a prosperous location for fintech unicorns to flourish. After the exit from the EU, the UK lost its automatic right of professionals across Europe to work in the country. During the same time, many skilled European workers have left the UK due to the climate of uncertainty and negativity prompted by Brexit.

With global competition for fintech talent within the sector, cities like London face fresh competition from European destinations like Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam – which are becoming increasingly popular for fintech professionals with the right to work across the EU.

This exodus is exactly what the UK is looking to prevent, and the danger posed by the situation has been underlined by Ricky Knox, CEO at fintech bank, Tandem, who said: “Tech visas are a great thing and essential if we are going to keep a competitive tech and fintech sector,” he added. “Over half of our coders are from outside the UK and some have already left due to Brexit.”

Room to accommodate crypto.

Another aspect of the review has called on the UK to revise its approach to the regulation of crypto-assets as a means of welcoming more fintech businesses in the future.

Recent restrictive measures by UK regulators involve bans on the sale of crypto derivatives and an anti-money laundering register that have created a somewhat hostile environment for blockchain or decentralised finance fintech businesses to set up camp in London.

The review points out that other markets have been pressing ahead with the development of crypto-specific frameworks, like the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets proposals. It also states that the UK needs to act quickly to revise its position on these matters before competitors begin to overtake the tech hub.

“A bespoke regime for crypto assets should adopt a functional and technology-neutral approach, in line with the principles of the current regulatory framework, as well as the concept of “same risk, same regulation”, while being tailored to the risks arising from crypto asset-related activities,” the report states. “It should also be flexible enough to deal with future challenges — such as how Decentralised Finance (DeFi) should be regulated.”

In addition to this, the review also recommended that the UK carries on in its participation of the Global Financial Innovation Network — a working group of national regulators — and to lead the way on crypto policy and regulation moving forward.

One particular sector that could benefit the UK is decentralised finance, better known as DeFi. In a market that’s grown from less than $1 billion to around $40 billion in under a year, fintech surrounding DeFi apps that are built on cryptocurrency blockchains could be the key to ensuring sustainable growth as technology continues to transform the financial landscape.

The rise of the IPO.

The government has also identified public listings as a key way to help generate better financial stability. Already, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly met with executives from Deliveroo, Revolut and other tech firms in order to convince them to list on the London Stock Exchange.

Again, the recent report suggests a reduction in the percentage of shares in the hands of public investors to avoid diluting the early backers of fintech startups – as well as “golden share’ or dual-class share structures that could allow founders to better retain control of their firms and remain safe from hostile takeovers.

This call for a listings reform in London may have come at an ideal time, as firms like Deliveroo, Wise and Darktrace all rumoured to debut in 2021. Elsewhere, other firms like Revolut, OakNorth and Checkout.com have found themselves in the midst of IPO speculation as financial and tech firms valuations have grown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This move may draw significant levels of investor interest back to London. Although many IPOs today are focused on institutional investors, there are companies that can allow individuals to participate in initial public offerings that would otherwise be inaccessible. Freedom Holding Corp. (FRHC), a NasDaq listed company, has a platform called Freedom24, in which individuals can apply to participate in the IPOs of their choice — albeit at a financial threshold of at least $2,000.

There are more traditional organisations like Fidelity that also offer general public participation — however, only at the much higher threshold of $100,000 to $500,000 in household assets.

Another traditional platform is TD Ameritrade, which is owned by the giant Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW), allows IPO participation for selected account holders. The threshold is pretty high, though. To be eligible to take part in IPOs, your account must have a value of at least $250,000 or you must have completed 30 trades in the last 3 months.

The true value in these London-listed IPOs could be found in the UK’s plan to build its appeal as a fintech haven in the wake of Brexit. With a sustained buzz around financial technology and more accommodating regulations, 2021 is set to be a significant year in the battle to keep talent from leaving these shores for the lure of the EU.

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Entrepreneurship

10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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