In the wake of the Brexit vote to Leave, FemTechLeaders interviewed Emma Lindley to share her thoughts on the impact the results of the referendum will have on Fintech and Banking.

What do you think the short term and long term consequences for Fintech will be in the UK after the Leave vote? 

In my experience working with the Fintech community in the short term I cannot see how the decision is going to be anything but damaging.

With so much Fintech talent coming from the EU, there will be uncertainty, and potentially a brain drain back to the countries staying in the EU. And internationally, investors will pause to see what happens next and some fledgling Fintechs looking for investment might not make the next round.

So in the short term the decision is bad for Fintech.

In the longer term the affects will depend on the Article 50 and how the trade negotiations roll out. 

The potential for becoming a member of the EEA or remaining in the Single Market (like Switzerland) are both possibilities. This isn’t going to make many of the leave campaigners happy, but it could preserve our economy in an open digital market. 

We need a period of calm, strong leadership and a clear plan.

What is your take on the result of the vote and the politics leading up to it? 

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the person who has nothing to lose” – in the aftermath of the EU referendum I have thought about this quote constantly. 

Many who voted out have nothing to lose, they’re from places that were once supported by industry and now have very little underpinning their economic outlook, they have low income and high unemployment – ironically however they are often the places most supported by EU funding. 

We’ve seen a dangerous political game played out from a bunch of ex Etonianians who in my opinion couldn’t be more out of touch with the general electorate. I feel a large part of this has been a protest vote which should have been saved for the general election. 

However, with very little real data presented as part of either campaign the British people were left to make their decisions based on propaganda from MP’s and the press, along with fear, uncertainty and doubt. 

The decision to leave the EU has been made, and the fall out both on a financial and societal scale has been catastrophic.

“We need to get back to the good old days and make Britain GREAT again” are the types of comments you hear from Leave voters. 

I’m not sure if they’ve noticed but the UK is not a manufacturing powerhouse anymore….. we are a digital, financial services and trade powerhouse….

What is the best/worst thing about the result of the referendum?

For me the best bits of the referendum were many people actually going out to vote (it’s clear after the “pencil” debacle that many had never voted), so actually getting out there and voting is good.

The worst bit was / is the xenophobia, I can’t stand it, and it makes me feel ashamed to be from the UK. The reality is that if people voted leave on the basis they think there is now going to be zero immigration from the EU, they are going to be disappointed.

You specialise in Digital Identity and Privacy, what do you see the referendum doing to change the trajectory of how the UK will deal with both? 

From a digital identity and privacy perspective there were two pieces of legislation which would have come into effect in 2018. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which gave more protection around data breaches and increased consumer protection.

Sensibly the UK Information Commission (ICO) has already released this statement. This is a clear indication that the ICO plans to continue with the implementation of data protection reforms based on GDPR. This is positive.  

“If the UK is not part of the EU, then upcoming EU reforms to data protection law would not directly apply to the UK. But if the UK wants to trade with the Single Market on equal terms we would have to prove ‘adequacy’ – in other words UK data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation framework starting in 2018.”

The other piece of legislation was eIDAS, which ensures that people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (eIDs) to access public services in other EU countries where eIDs are available.

This regulation would have underpinned cross border trade increasing free movement and competition.

Focused on public services eIDAS at the moment the idea was that it could be opened up to private sector. There was testing completed earlier this year (2016) under the Open Identity Exchange looking at opening a UK bank account with a digital identity from Europe. 

This would have potentially opened up the market for financial services in the UK, allowing EU citizens to much more easily get through identity checks. 

This would have reduced cost and improved on the current customer experience, and had the opportunity to increase revenue for financial services in the UK. 

How eIDAS is supported after Brexit is yet to be seen – we need to see the timing and decisions around Article 50 to really know.

Read the full post and other interviews from leading women working in technology.