Scottish fintech sector balloons in 2018

Out-Law News | 16 Jan 2019 | 4:14 pm | 1 min. read

The Scottish financial technology (fintech) sector has grown threefold in the last 12 months, with an increase in the number of firms established in Scotland to more than 80.

According to FinTech Scotland, the growth was driven by new start-ups and existing fintech firms moving to Scotland, as well as early-stage Scottish technology companies expanding into financial services.

The firms are operating in four main areas –financial payments; financial engagement; protection of financial data, and enabling customer financial management.

FinTech Scotland was founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative between financial services firms, the Scottish government, and the University of Edinburgh. It aims to facilitate growth in the sector by fostering a connection between entrepreneurs, large financial services firms, the public sector and academia, giving access to funding, developing research hubs and developing skillsets in Scotland.

At a recent meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board, FinTech Scotland chief executive Stephen Ingledew outlined the body’s key objectives for 2019. These included enabling business readiness through access to funding and support services; developing consumers’ insight and engagement opportunities; developing more collaboration opportunities with the financial services sector; developing skills and entrepreneurs together with universities and colleges; building visibility for financial services firms and the fintech community; and helping firms access international opportunities and encouraging inward investment.

Fintech law expert Yvonne Dunn of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "It is clear that Scotland is pulling ahead of the pack when it comes to establishing a high growth fintech ecosystem outside of London. Scotland has had great success in attracting new fintechs and growing existing fintech businesses, across a range of fintech areas."

The Scottish fintech community is very energetic and engaged and collaborates well. It is well-placed for further success and growth in 2019," said Dunn, who is a Fintech Scotland board member.

The news of the growth in Scotland follows an announcement last year that the UK’s Fintech Delivery Panel, which includes members from across the financial services sector, would draw up new standards to help major banks and insurers to collaborate with fledgling fintech companies. The standards are due to be released by the end of the year.

More recently, a report produced by European financial supervisory bodies said regulators needed to work more closely together to help emerging fintech companies scale up across the continent.