Icon Solutions UK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Icon Solutions UK's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Icon Solutions UK is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Darren Capehorn, co-founder
and director of services
We promote an open culture,
embracing diversity and excellence
For over nine years, Icon Solutions has been working
closely with many of the world’s leading financial services
companies. The award-winning fintech company has a
strong track record for enabling global financial institutions to
rapidly capitalise on the latest innovative technologies to reduce
costs, boost revenues, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Darren Capehorn, a co-founder and director of services, explains
how the firm continues to grow its reputation as an industry
leader through an open approach to IT.
Icon Solutions was born out of a management buy-out of an existing IT services
company, made possible when the parent company, worried by the impact of
the financial crisis, decided to move away from this line of business. Having spent
23 years as one of the biggest buyers of financial IT services, I was well aware
that there were traditionally three options available to banks seeking help in this
area. Firstly, there were large tech companies who sold tech for tech’s sake. Then
there were the large business consultancies who couldn’t tell you what solution
to deliver, but were great at telling you how to plan and measure progress in
delivering it. Finally, there were the large commodity resource suppliers who, given
a good steer, could deliver more cheaply.
We therefore decided to push forward as an IT consultancy firm boasting a
combination of advisory skills and expertproject delivery, rooted in a deep
knowledge of both technology andthe financial services domain. We were experts
in a niche market and clients recognised the benefits of dealing with a company
that clearly understood their needs, over more generic consultancy houses who
»Director of services: Darren
»Operations director: Ben
»Commercial director: Tom
»Established in 2009
»Based in Wimbledon
»Services: Payment and
specialist technology solutions
for global financial institutions
»No. of employees: 120
»One of the LSE’s 1,000
Companies to Inspire Britain
in 2018
»Environmental presence: Icon
Solutions operates a 100%
carbon-neutral policy
»Icon Foundation: A non-profit
foundation supporting over 20
smaller global charities
Icon Solutions
Highlighting best practice
may have had more resources but also
had a diminished understanding of the
We have successfully grown the
business by 30 per cent year on year,
and we are proud to list multinational
banks among our clients, including
HSBC, Citibank, Wells Fargo,
Lloyds Banking Group and Bank of
America. Today the original band
of 17 people is now 120 strong,
turning over more than £20 million
and with representatives in the US,
Latin America and Europe. Operating
under the mantra of “complexity
simplified”, we continue to solve
financial institutions’ technology
challenges with simplified solutions,
while simultaneously helping clients
capitalise on the fintech opportunities
of tomorrow.
Size doesn’t always matter
Many observers believe that having
a small firm poses considerable
challenges and risks. For us, mitigating
that risk by rapidly growing wasn’t an
option – the reason we knew clients
would value our services was because
the calibre of resources we offered
were not in vast supply, which in turn
meant attracting them to Icon would
not be cheap.
We recognised that our clients
could benefit from our smaller size,
providing we maintained laser-
vision in a niche area. Our size
allowed us to adapt in a fast-moving
landscape consisting of far-reaching
and potentially costly responses to
regulatory, technological and market
demands. We became recognised as
thought leaders on industry trends,
rather than a team who simply
capitalised while our clients drifted
from one fad to the next.
The second road to Damascus
Instant payments may sound like an
obvious service to be able to offer,
but it is only in the last few years,
since regulators and consumers both
became stakeholders, that the need
to deliver this service has come to the
fore. All this disruption is happening
against a background of old and
deteriorating banking hardware –
which was designed decades ago
when the idea of transferring funds
without a visit to the bank was the
domain of sci-fi films.
Today, we are recognised instant
payments experts, having worked
on some of the biggest global
implementations of these systems.
With a world-class team to call on, our
philosophy of “complexity simplified”
and the drive to further modernise
the industry, we were able to break
new ground with our response: a
dedicated and innovative instant
payments solution, IPF. It was initially
met with scepticism by vendors who
only offered expensive and inflexible
“rip-and-replace” style of responses.
IPF is a much subtler approach; a
suite of products that allow business
to carry on with minimal system or
service trauma by offering a cheaper
and dedicated solution, incorporating
the latest technologies, ISO standards
compliance and maximum flexibility.
IPF is designed to offer instant
paymentfunctionality without risking
The three founding
directors of Icon Solutions
We are
experts, having
worked on
some of the
biggest global
the quality of service that such highly
visible 24/7 solutions necessitate.
If we hadn’t been an agile, responsive
company with unparalleled expertise
in this domain, we wouldn’t have
had the ability or appetite to invest in
such a unique approach, nor would
we have continued to help clients
implement alternative and complex
There are currently over 40 countries
with instant payment schemes around
the world with several more in the
planning stage – the requirement
to move money fast is here to stay.
Technology will continue to develop
and banks and merchants will
introduce more new products and
services that consumers simply can’t
live without. Icon is currently working
with top-ten global banks across
Europe and the US to not only meet
the payment challenges they face
today, but to also provide flexible
and future-proofed solutions for
tomorrow’s emerging needs.
More than just payments
As well as our successful payments
offering, we are currently driving
significant growth in other areas:
specifically those where we consult
and deliver IT strategy, architecture
and design for multinational banks.
This is born out of our unparalleled
experience in updating and future-
proofing banking IT systems.
Our non-payments services encompass
APIs, digital consulting, regulation and
IT transformation, where we design
and implement technology architecture
to meet a business’s operational needs.
Furthermore, as our services capability
grows, we are continuing to codify our
knowledge and skills into a suite of
processes, templates and metric-driven
tooling, in order to both maximise
and demonstrate the benefits we are
delivering to our customers.
A streamlined future
We want to continue to build products
and provide services we would choose
to use if we were our clients. The
freedom to maintain this approach
is only made possible because the
development of our product lines is
entirely self-funded. This means we
can continue to run exciting projects
in-house, enabling us to attract and
retain the best talent available in our
chosen markets.
Our ideas are proven – and so is our
ability to get things done quickly and
innovatively. As the financial sector
continues to be driven by technology,
we are confident that we have the
team and the vision to help our clients
with their unique demands and to have
global impact. We aim to continue
optimising and implementing the
latest emerging technologies to solve
pressing issues in the financial sector.
After all, we settled on the name Icon
for a reason.
Our ideas are
proven – and
so is our
ability to get
things done
quickly and
Our consultancy services
include digitisation,
regulation and IT


This article was sponsored by Icon Solutions UK. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy