New body awarded £55m from dormant assets to tackle financial exclusion

Fair4All Finance says it will work to ensure that affordable credit is available for vulnerable people at scale

The government has awarded £55m from dormant assets to a new private sector organisation called Fair4All Finance to tackle financial exclusion.

Fair4All Finance was registered at Companies House last month.

Richard Collier-Keywood, a former global vice chairman of PwC who was appointed a commissioner of the Dormant Assets Commission in 2016, has been named founding chair.

A statement on Fair4All Finance's website said: "Richard has been appointed by an independent panel, chaired by Sir Leigh Lewis, for an initial four-year term.

"Our challenge and the opportunity is to deploy the dormant assets money to ensure that affordable credit, and other financial products and services, serve the needs of vulnerable people at scale."

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced in last year's Civil Society Strategy that it would "direct funds for the establishment of a new financial inclusion organisation responsible for deploying £55m of funding from dormant accounts".

The strategy added the new organisation would seek co-funding from a range of investors, including the private sector, and build partnerships with other organisations, including the Financial Conduct Authority.

The government estimates that more than three million people use high-cost credit even though more affordable options are available.

Collier-Keywood said in a statement: "We are currently a start-up and we have a lot of work to do, not least to appoint a board and leadership team and put together a plan designed to have the greatest possible impact on financial exclusion."

Mims Davies, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said in a statement: "The launch of Fair4All Finance is a key milestone in tackling financial exclusion and distributing funds to help those that need it the most."

Asked for further information including whether the organisation planned to register as a charity and whether it would work with any existing voluntary sector organisations, a Fair4All spokeswoman said it was at the start-up stage and did not have much to add to its published launch statement.
"We are currently drawing up our strategy and will be publishing information on this soon," she said. 
Asked about the appointment of Fair4All Finance and if any civil society organisations were considered for the role, a DCMS spokeswoman said: "The Civil Society Strategy outlined the government's commitment to direct funds for the establishment of a new financial inclusion organisation.
"An independent recruitment process was undertaken to identify the inaugural leadership of the organisation. This was conducted by a panel of five experts headed by Sir Leigh Lewis, former vice-chair of St Mungo's. They selected Richard Collier-Keywood as the chair of the organisation."

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