London is still number one for fintech – and now we're going global

Lawrence Wintermeyer
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Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta
London is one of the coolest places on earth to live (Source: Getty)

Ten weeks on from Brexit, the City is back to business following the summer, and the fintech community is as busy as ever working through its plans for an ever-changing world. While the uncertainty of Brexit may loom for some time, London is still the number one fintech hub on the planet.

We have created an ecosystem that is the envy of the world thanks to our innovative entrepreneurs, our collaborative financial institutions, our savvy investors, all levels of government being engaged in fintech policy, and our regulators being committed to competition and innovation.

Fintech is a shining beacon of success, not just in the creation of London’s world-leading digital ecosystem, but for the positive impact it has had on the UK economy and for delivering greater competition for consumers. The London ecosystem has the “fin” of New York, the “tech” of the West Coast and the policy-makers of Washington, all within a 15 minute journey on public transport.

This all rolls up into one of the greatest connected global cities in the world with all the key ingredients for digital success: capital, talent and demographic diversity. London is one of the coolest places on the planet to live.

But UK fintech has world-wide ambitions. And that’s why we are now taking our knowledge, members, partners and network global with the creation of two major initiatives to ensure the UK community has sight of opportunities in other hubs and markets. We also want to ensure that global entrepreneurs and investors are aware of the great opportunities in the UK – and the talent this city continues to attract.

Today we are in New York City to launch Innovate Finance’s East Coast programme. Our aim is to promote greater connections between the UK and US fintech communities and to bring together key influencers to engage on issues such as policy, regulation and investment – the three major challenges for the growth of fintech.

The US is an important market for UK firms wishing to expand. The programme helps them to meet and collaborate with the fintech community in New York and to create connections that can help them grow. Earlier this year, we also launched a new TransAtlantic Policy Working Group (TPWG) in Washington, along with leading US fintech companies, to foster an open and inclusive dialogue with respect to the policy-making environment in the UK, US, and around the world.

Times Square Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The US is an important market for UK fintech firms (Source: Getty)

The TPWG will be convening in New York for its third meeting to share fintech best practice between UK and US regulators, and to focus on how to build a truly innovative regulatory environment in which fintech can continue to flourish on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yet America is not the only fintech hotspot: our movement is truly global – and London must do its part as the world’s leading fintech ecosystem to bring together the players that are helping to advance the sector and to support the growth of other regional hubs.

In partnership with SWIFT Innotribe, therefore, last week we launched the Global Fintech Hubs Federation, an independent network of fintech hubs that aims to foster innovation and collaboration across the world’s financial services industry.

Read more: Northzone raises €300m fund and is eyeing London fintech startups

The federation provides a platform to share knowledge and build an inclusive network, encouraging engagement and the sharing of best practice, as well as building bridges. It has launched with representatives from over 24 established and emerging fintech hubs including from Australia, Canada, China, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and Switzerland.

Commenting on the launch of the federation, Fabian Vandenreydt, global head of securities markets at Innotribe and The SWIFT Institute, explained that, as the fintech sector develops globally, it has never been more important to encourage discussion and collaboration within the financial industry. Everyone must play a part by leveraging their networks and expertise for the benefit of the banking and startup communities.

We couldn’t agree more. Coordination and cross border dialogue between emerging fintech startups, established fintech companies, financial institutions and policy-makers remains key for the long-term success of our sector.

As we kick off our activities here in New York, we raise the flag to all the fintech talent and innovators that have come from London and across the UK to crack the US market. We hope to support their growth – in America and elsewhere.

Our sector has come a long way and its size and influence will continue to grow. We’ve created two powerful initiatives that will enable our members to connect with the rest of the world, while also helping to advance the international fintech sector and shape a better and more inclusive financial services future that we can all be proud of.

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