In what can only be described as the Oscars of the FinTech world, June saw the launch of the sixth annual FinTech50. Startups and established players from the industry descended on Silicon Valley Bank in London, eagerly awaiting to hear if they’d made the list this year. From RegTech to blockchain and insurance to pensions, the final 50 truly covered the entire spectrum of FinTech innovation.
Aside from being a night to celebrate the hottest European FinTechs, what the event really symbolised is how the industry is still shining bright. Despite tough regulations and directives coming into play this year, namely the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Payment Systems Directive 2 (PSD2), players in the field haven’t let this stand in the way of success.
Quite the opposite, in fact, with many businesses using their expertise to help businesses tackle the challenges that these regulations pose. As a result, RegTech stood out at this year’s FinTech50, with 8 organisations falling into this bracket, including ClauseMatch, that manages the implications of regulations and AML screening and monitoring solution, ComplyAdvantage.
It’s also probably timely to mention the ‘B’ word here. Just two years ago, the future of the UK FinTech industry was put under the spotlight after the vote to leave the EU, with concerns around losing talent placed front and centre stage. But again, the FinTech50 highlighted that even Brexit hasn’t stopped FinTechs in the capital from excelling, with over 50% on the list calling London their home. Just a few leading the way in the UK are online mortgage broker, Habito, remittance service Azimo and Curve, which connects consumer accounts to one card.
And it’s not just the FinTech50 that proves London is still a FinTech stronghold. We also saw UK International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox launch an initiative aimed at bringing together academics, experts and businesses to attract investment into the FinTech sector. This followed on from Prime Minister Theresa May announcing that more than 1,600 jobs will be created as part of a £2.3 billion of private equity drive into the technology industry more broadly.
So while UK Government Digital Secretary Matt Hancock said that “we’re in a good place” when it comes to tech and FinTech, I would argue that he’s being somewhat modest. With investment in UK FinTech up £1.7bn since June 2016; traditional players consistently launching new initiatives, like HSBC investing heavily in AI and digital innovation; and of course, the high number of London-based businesses included in the FinTech50 this year, I’d say we’re more than just “good”.
More widely, the European FinTech scene is definitely booming too, despite challenging regulations and directives. From APIs to AI – there really is no stone unturned when it comes to the skills that businesses in the space have mastered.
One thing is for certain, whether it’s UK specific or European wide, the buzz at the FinTech50 launch shows that the future is bright for FinTech, and we’re proud to be the partner of an organisation that is testament to that fact.
Gemma Lingham, Corporate Communications