Two envoys to spearhead the development of the financial technology, or “fintech”, sector in Scotland have been named by the UK government.
David Ferguson, chief executive of financial services platform business Nucleus, and Louise Smith, head of design in personal and business banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, were unveiled by Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury, during a visit to Edinburgh today.
The envoys have been given the task of helping build regional and national fintech networks and fostering a “culture of collaboration” to help Scotland take advantage of the opportunities offered in the rapidly-evolving sector.
Fintech, which includes e-banking, payment technologies, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and digital currencies, is one of the fastest-growing parts of the UK economy, contributing £6.6 billion to GDP in 2015 and employing more than 61,000 people.
Ferguson, who heads what is one of Scotland’s most high-profile fintech companies, said: “One of the hardest things to get right is balancing the responsibilities of looking after people’s money with the agility of the tech sector while also making money, and I’m very excited to see how we can help others strike the right balance over the coming years.”
Smith said that Scotland had a “vibrant and talented community who are working on the very latest ideas, games, apps, systems and design”.
After London, Scotland turns out the most fintech-related graduates in the UK, accounting for 12 per cent of the annual pool of 97,000 graduates.
Kirby said: “I’m delighted that David and Louise have agreed to become the government’s fintech envoys for Scotland. Their in-depth knowledge of the industry and excellent reputations makes them the right people to drive forward positive change and allow Scottish fintech to flourish.”