A boost for Scotland’s burgeoning financial technology sector was announced today by Royal Bank of Scotland amid plaudits from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the head of the Scottish Financial Enterprise trade body.
RBS said that a new specialist fintech, hub based at the bank’s Gogarburn headquarters, will open its doors to entrepreneurs in the sector this May.
Scotland is already playing an active role in the fintech sectorNicola Sturgeon
It comes exactly a year after the launch by the bank of the Entrepreneurial Spark dedicated space at Gogarburn for Scottish entrepreneurs from all industries.
RBS, still majority owned by the taxpayer and due later this month to unveil its ninth consecutive year of losses since its state bail-out, said the “fintech accelerator” will provide free space and expertise to the fintech industry, which is estimated to be worth £6 billion annually to the UK economy.
Lucy-Rose Walker, chief executive of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “The new space is the first of its kind and will be a centre of excellence right at the heart of the financial services sector in Scotland.
“We’re bringing together industry leaders and networks and marrying that with Entrepreneurial Spark’s tried and tested approach to build, grow and scale businesses – all of that makes this a key milestone in Scotland’s journey towards its ambition of being a world leader in fintech and innovation.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “delighted” that Entrepreneurial Spark was expanding to include space for fintech start-ups.
The latter both provide banks with back office technology and have also come to represent technologies that are “disrupting” traditional financial services. including mobile payments and money transfers.
“This will contribute to the immediate need for physical space for fintech companies while the wider financial services industry continues to work collectively to deliver the fintech strategy,” Sturgeon said.
“Scotland is already playing an active role in the fintech sector and the strategy will further enhance our standing, both nationally and internationally.”
Graeme Jones, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said the creation of a dedicated fintech hub would be “a huge leap” in Scotland’s ambition to become a leading global fintech centre.
He hoped it would be the first of a network across Scotland offering opportunities “to companies large and small, and the ability to fully integrate with wider industry”.
• RBS poured cold water yesterday on weekend speculation the bank was set to slash costs by another £1 billion to £1.5bn, involving up to 15,000 redundancies, amid historically low interest rates and business uncertainty since the Brexit vote.
RBS has cut costs by nearly £3bn in the past three years, involving about 10,000 redundancies. “We don’t recognise this report,” a spokesman said.