Chinese insurance giant backs ex-Barclays chief's start-up

A giant Chinese insurer and a major international consulting firm are buying stakes in the financial technology start-up founded by Antony Jenkins, the former Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) chief.

Sky News has learnt that 10X Future Technologies, which was set up by Mr Jenkins last year, will announce this week that it has raised more than £30m in funding from ‎Ping An Insurance and Oliver Wyman.

The deal, which will include strategic partnerships with the two companies aimed at accelerating 10X's expansion, ‎will represent a bold new phase for Mr Jenkins' ambitions.

10X, which uses cloud-based technology to construct digital banking platforms, ‎is among a host of new British fintech companies attempting to navigate a fast-changing industry.

Traditional high street banks are wrestling with the legacy costs of branch networks that are expensive to maintain during a period of declining customer usage.

They also suffer the accompanying headache of public and political opprobrium as they move to close branches that no longer cover their costs.

Mr Jenkins believes that 10X can help banks manage data far more efficiently, improving both clients' experience and the profitability with which they can be offered new products and services.

Its first corporate client, announced last year, is Virgin Money, with a new digital offer likely to launch from the bank backed by Sir Richard Branson in 2018.

The recruitment of Ping An (HKSE: 2318-OL.HK - news) and Oliver Wyman as strategic investors is a coup for 10X and Mr Jenkins, the company's executive chairman.

Sources said on Tuesday that the partnership with China's second-largest insurer would help 10X to expand in Asia - a key target region for the fintech company.

Ping An employs nearly 320,000 people‎.

Oliver Wyman, which has a large financial services practice, will forge an important alliance with 10X, according to insiders.

Sir Hector Sants, the former head of the City watchdog, now works for Oliver Wyman, having been recruited to a senior role at Barclays by Mr Jenkins.

Since leaving Barclays in 2015, Mr Jenkins has been an outspoken critic of banks' "antiquated" IT systems and warned that the industry is facing an "Uber moment" in terms of disruption by more nimble competitors.

In addition to 10X, Mr Jenkins chairs Currencies Direct, the foreign exchange group, and Business in the Community.

A spokesman for 10X declined to comment on Tuesday.

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