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Santander launches new fund for 'fintech' companies

Santander has launched a new venture capital fund for investing in financial technology (fintech) businesses.

The $100 million fund will be operated by Santander from London but be available to financial technology businesses based elsewhere in the world, the Spanish-based banking business announced on Wednesday. Santander said that the "know-how and innovations" it acquires from its investments will be used to help improve its service to customers.

"The UK is a global leader in financial innovation," Ana Botin, chief executive of Santander UK, said in a statement. "The Santander Fin-Tech Fund builds on our philosophy of collaboration and partnership with small and start-up companies at Santander. In this case our aim is to provide fintech companies with much needed capital, whilst we gain know-how and our customers benefit from the latest thinking."

Santander said that it would give initial focus to investing in financial technology companies that are engaged in "digital delivery of financial services" and online lending, as well as those providing "online systems to distribute financial investment products with self-service and planning capabilities organised around the lifecycle".

In addition, Santander said its fund could invest in financial technology businesses that use "big data analytics" for providing better financial services to consumers.

According to Santander's figures, traditional banks have to-date only invested in 10% of financial technology innovations, whereas venture capitalists have provided 60% of the investment to those companies. It said two-thirds of the financing of financial technology within Europe "originates in the UK".

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