I’m a strong believer in the rule that politics and business don’t mix. However, as the EU referendum draws closer, businesses need to speak out. Leaving the EU would be harmful for UK fintech as it would create more borders, at a time when we need fewer.
Without doubt, the world is a much better place when people are united rather than being kept apart. At Azimo, we’re in the business of connecting people all around the world, helping them to send money to each other via our fast, secure and low-cost service. In our London office, 77 per cent of our workforce was born outside the UK and that cross-cultural diversity is what makes our business thrive.
Brexit would kill London fintech
The fledgling fintech industry is currently booming in the UK. As a sector, we’re just getting started and Brexit would stop that development in its tracks. It’s no secret that hundreds of UK fintech businesses, from payments and lending to insurance and asset management, enjoy the UK’s clear, forward-thinking regulatory regime. What people might not know is that nearly all of those companies also depend on the ability and legal right to “passport” those services to the rest of Europe. If we do leave the EU, it’s very likely that those rights will end and that will mean moving some, and in some cases all, operations to elsewhere in Europe.
The talent pool will dry up
Leading a fast-growing fintech business, I’m continually reminded that success ultimately boils down to being able to attract the most talented people, no matter where they’re from. Research from University College London shows that European migrants are far from a drain on UK finances; in fact, they pay more in taxes than they take out in state benefits. That contribution – valued at some £2bn a year – is aiding Britain’s economic growth. If Brexit wins on June 23, though, that talent pool is sure to dry up for UK-based companies.
The Vote Leave campaign has done plenty of scaremongering, arguing that being part of Europe takes away the UK’s right to self-determination. They’re convinced by the notion that cutting off our ties to Brussels and shutting our borders will increase our freedom, but walking away in a misguided display of jingoism is not the answer. On the contrary, the right to live and work in another 27 countries, increase our free trade market ten-fold and partner with our neighbours in an institution formed to prevent another war gives us a far greater chance to defend both our national and individual freedoms.
It's time politicians, entrepreneurs and business leaders all started focusing on bringing people together, not keeping them apart. It's better for business and better for the country as a whole.