Anna Laycock

Anna Laycock

Executive Director, Finance Innovation Lab

Synopsis

Bringing together finance, innovation and society, Anna helps both fintech companies and established financial players be successful, embrace technology, and be better corporate citizens. By examining the disruption the financial sector faces, she examines how businesses of all types can be more innovative, more collaborative, and reflect their employees values. She also looks at the specific businesses disrupting financial services, who they are, what they do, and their influence.

Biography

Anna Laycock is a fintech and innovation expert, and the Executive Director of the Finance Innovation Lab. The Lab operates at the intersection of finance, innovation and society. They research, work with partners, and develop ways in which both fintech companies and established players can create technological solutions, and continue to innovate, whilst avoiding repeating the mistakes that have dogged the sector in recent times.

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. For new companies, this means ensuring they don’t simply become like the established players in the market. 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. She looks the implications of increasing digitisation and at the lessons and effects of everything from banking apps to blockchain 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 sector. 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 and rewarding for all involved.

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