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Sums add up for Hammond as he takes stake in ‘ethical fintech’ Algbra

Written by on 07/09/2021

Lord Hammond, the former chancellor, is taking a stake in a London-based technology company which aims to target underserved customers with a range of financial products.

Sky News can reveal that Lord Hammond, who served as finance minister under Theresa May, is among a syndicate of investors who are backing Algbra, a new digital finance provider.

The former chancellor’s involvement has emerged just weeks after he faced a public rebuke from an influential Whitehall committee for using his government connections to assist Oaknorth, another British fintech company.

Lord Hammond insisted that he had emailed a senior Treasury official simply to inform them about the COVID response assistance that Oaknorth – which he advises – was providing to customers.

OakNorth bank HQ in London
Image: OakNorth is based in London

His investment in Algbra adds Mr Hammond’s name to a list of prominent backers, including Alastair Lukies, chairman of the UK Fintech Alliance and founder and chief executive of Pollinate International, another fintech.

Rick Haythornthwaite, the Ocado and AA chairman, is also an investor in Algbra.

“The UK has and will continue to play a significant role in the global financial landscape,” Lord Hammond said.

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“Utilising Britain’s leading expertise across technology, regulation and finance, UK fintechs will enable major boosts not only to the British economy but to infrastructure and economies worldwide.

“I’m thrilled to be supporting Algbra in this endeavour, in particular their quest to make a global imprint on balancing the financial system to be more sustainable and accessible.”

Algbra says it is “dedicated to providing ethical finance solutions and promoting financial wellbeing” and will “serve the world’s underserved and unbanked population to enhance financial inclusion globally”.

The company was founded by chief executive Zeiad Idris and chief operating officer Fizel Nejabat, and will launch in the UK early next year.

Its products will include customer accounts, foreign exchange and remittances with finance products – including ‘ethical’ mortgages – to follow.

Mr Idris said: “Our latest group of investors and advisors provide us with the expertise and guidance to deliver world-class solutions to a global market.

“Their passion for a more equitable and sustainable society is a source of encouragement as we seek to implement our vision.”

 Sky News

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