Economy, Finance and Fairness
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Bringing together finance, innovation and society, Anna helps both new fintech companies and established financial players be successful, embrace technology, and be better corporate citizens. She looks at how policy-makers and businesses need to reflect on their roles in global issues such as social justice, climate change and inequality. By examining the disruption the financial sector faces, she considers how businesses of all types can be more innovative, more collaborative, and reflect their employees values.
Anna Fielding is a fintech and innovation expert, with a particular focus on building a fairer, more open, responsible financial system. She is a senior advisor at the non-profit Economic Change Unit, as well as a trustee of the New Economics Foundation. She is also the former CEO of the Finance Innovation Lab. The Lab operates at the intersection of finance, innovation and society, carrying out research and supporting businesses. It helps startups aimed at tackling issues such as climate change and inequality, as well as established financial services to become more responsible corporate citizens.
Having worked for a range of community projects and charities, including Oxfam, Anna joined the Ecological Building Society as their Ethics and External Affairs Manager. One of the early pioneers in the area, the company worked to create an ethical financial services business putting community and sustainability at the core of its agenda. Anna led their communications and impact strategy as well as developing regulation that changed how building societies were owned by their members.
Working in the sector around the time that fintech and disruption within the financial services sector started to gain momentum, Anna moved to the Finance Innovation Lab. Initially working on the organisation’s strategy, she then became Executive Director responsible for new projects, governance and overall strategy and business models.
With particular reference to the fintech sector, Anna considers how businesses react to disruption, how they can embed innovation, and how they can use technology in a creative and socially responsible way. It’s vital for companies to understand that using technology does not automatically mean progressive, inclusive and responsible. For new companies, this means ensuring they don’t simply become like the established players in the market and that they maintain a purpose-driven agenda. For larger companies, it means looking at what they do, their place in the world, their employees’ values, and understanding how technology can reinvent their approach.
Anna looks at the implications of increasing digitisation and at the lessons and effects of everything from banking apps to blockchain, regulation to crowdfunding and considers what works, why, and for how long. Anna suggests that the shortcomings of companies or industries are almost always systemic rather than the fault of a few individuals. In fact, most individuals want to be proud of their work and their industry. By reflecting their values and allowing them to bring about changes, a business will motivate staff, attract talent, and have new ideas. In this way innovation can be not just productive and profitable, but socially positive, purpose-driven and rewarding for all involved.
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