The pathway to national digital connectivity, based on the historical development of our National Grid, and how Open Banking has both pioneered technical methodology and operational standards for the future.
Having expressed our support for this Treasury initiative on a number of occasions we thought it useful to share some of our views on how Workstream Three could make a significant impact on not only how financial services are managed and delivered across the UK but also on how the resultant connectivity could underpin the delivery of a fully holistic consumer centric financial management solution.
Workstream three focusses on national connectivity, and that excites us. Even those of us who have not worked in that particular sector of utilities know something of how the supplies are stored and managed so that, barring accidents or forced majeure, power is available 24/7. We all appreciate how utility operators access the grid in order to distribute power to businesses and consumers across the whole of the UK. Seamless (well most of the time!), secure with strict safety controls in place together with on-going management of peak and trough demands on the network. For consumers it’s just something that happens from the flick of a switch for lights to the push of a button for the fire.
If national connectivity to fintech services runs along similar lines then our vision for a consumer led holistic solution to financial management can become a reality.
The Directors of DIGIMASS were privileged to be part of the implementation of Open Banking (OBIE) and saw first-hand how the deployment of this technology could both enrich and support consumers and businesses. Open banking provides a centralised technical platform where all parties follow the same structures and rules. It’s an ecosystem for the financial services community with the needs of the individual consumer a priority.
At DIGIMASS we saw the potential to extend the development of open banking to a broader ecosystem encompassing all aspects of the consumers financial lifestyle spanning financial services, utilities, local/national government and beyond. A fully inclusive ecosystem delivering seamless access and management of finance, debt and savings.
Our interests, like the Chancellor’s lie in the financial health and wellbeing of all consumers. Reports pre Covid 19 regularly quoted more than 8m people in debt and some 10m+ having less than £100 in savings.
For those people who were already financially stretched, furlough has potentially reduced their income by 20%, with that figure increasing during September and October to 30% and 40% respectively. Many more have or will loose their jobs and this places the free debt advice sector under extreme pressure to assist the ensuing millions of people who will require their expert support going forward.
National connectivity should have the consumer at the heart of its development and if it does, it will enable both consumers and their advisers instant access to a single view from multiples sources of a consumers complete financial profile. Perhaps more importantly it can provide consumers with a range of tools and services that can help reduce over indebtedness permanently.