Hong Kong fintech chooses Edinburgh for European base

Charmaine Lo, CEO of Actelligent, with David Leven of SDI. Picture: Contributed
Charmaine Lo, CEO of Actelligent, with David Leven of SDI. Picture: Contributed
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A Hong Kong-headquartered fintech is to establish its ­European headquarters in Edinburgh, providing a fresh boost for Scotland’s fintech community.

Scottish Development International (SDI) has announced that Actelligent will create a technology base in the Scottish capital, in a move that represents the first inward investment into Scotland by a fintech firm from Hong Kong.

The project, which follows efforts by SDI to encourage companies from the region to base their operations in Scotland, will receive £305,000 of regional selective assistance funding from Scottish Enterprise and support the creation of up to 20 new fintech jobs.

Actelligent is currently developing an online platform that acts as a hub between investors, private fund managers and retail investors, and aims to connect these with new opportunities in overseas markets.

It plans to make the Edinburgh office its UK and European base, from which it will build a team of software engineers and architects to support the technical development of its online platform, with technical compliance and financial experts to support its analytical and research services.

The news follows research from Fintech Scotland earlier this month revealing that the number of Scottish fintechs had grown threefold in the last year, now totalling more than 80 firms.

Actelligent chief executive Charmaine Lo said: “We’re delighted to be the first fintech company from Hong Kong landing in Scotland with the help of SDI, and we have been overwhelmed by the level of support we’ve received.

“Edinburgh has a huge capital base and has always been one of the largest fund management hubs.

“This, combined with the availability of a skilled workforce and our ability to partner with the University of Edinburgh, one of the best ­universities in natural language processing and machine learning, made Edinburgh the natural choice for our new UK base.

“We look forward to expanding our business in the UK and becoming a member of the fintech ecosystem in Scotland.”

David Leven, head of Greater China for SDI, said: “Today, Actelligent joins the growing list of fintech firms operating out of Scotland, having been attracted by Edinburgh’s growing reputation as an international leader in this field.”

The announcement comes as it emerges that Edinburgh is the UK’s second biggest tech hub, while Glasgow is the fourth, with both cities beating the likes of Oxford and Cambridge.

Research compiled by RS Components ranked London as the top tech location, with Manchester in third place and Brighton in fifth.