Introducing Smart Data Foundry
Smart Data Foundry is the new name for the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence
From start-up, we’ve focused on unlocking Open Banking and Open Finance data as a force to improve lives.
As we have grown and scaled, it’s become clear that to deliver our missions we need to look at data beyond the world of finance, in areas such as energy and health to address issues such as the cost-of-living crisis, the impacts of poverty and climate change.
Our new name matches that outlook.
The origins of Smart Data Foundry
Smart Data Foundry was born out of the Open Banking industry.
In 2018 new regulation came into effect that enabled people to move their consented banking data easily and securely across banks and other providers and from banking app to banking app.
One of the main motivating aims of the UK government was to increase the levels of competition in the UK market, in particular, to enable some of the new Financial Technology (FinTech) start-ups to start to collaborate or compete with the big high-street banks and deliver new innovations to the financial world.
The big promise of Open Banking – and later the idea of Open Finance (which extends the technology and the regulation beyond cards and current accounts into all aspects of financial life) – was that it would enable all sorts of new services.
The benefits were not just the delivery of more convenient banking, but also the unleashing of the data created in day-to-day financial transactions in order to put it to good use.
This last promise has been harder to realise. Partly because innovating around any kind of data is complex and partly because some of the exciting and interesting things you can do with data carry plenty of risks of compromising privacy or enabling financial crime.
Collaboration to create a new organisation
About the same time that Open Banking first launched, three teams came together with one idea of how to help bring the promise to life. The University of Edinburgh, FinTech Scotland – the organisation supporting the Scottish FinTech cluster – and FDATA (Financial Data and Technology Association), the global association for companies operating in Open Banking.
They conceived an idea for building an organisation that could enable private sector, public sector, and the voluntary sector to collaborate around unlocking financial data for good.
This is the Smart Data Foundry purpose.
In the beginning…
When the organisation was first established, it was called the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE), given our role in driving benefit out of Open Finance data.
Since then, the Open Banking and Open Finance world is inspiring data sharing movements in many other sectors: energy, telco, transportation, for example. People are now speaking more and more about smart data as the way to encapsulate the world of benefits from wider data sharing and consumption.
We were also finding that, while there was much value in unlocking financial data, some of the biggest challenges facing us today: inequality and poverty, climate change, helping small business recover and survive, all require bringing together many sorts of data.
The creation of Smart Data Foundry
As we come into 2022, we wanted to reflect our original purpose but on a broader platform and so we are launching under the name of Smart Data Foundry. An organisation designed to unlock financial data for good – not only to do good but also to create social impact that lasts for good.