The business-led research and innovation blueprint will support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy and aid the development of fintech – financial technology – innovation across the UK.
It will implement one of the recommendations highlighted in the recent Kalifa FinTech Sector Review, which referenced Scotland as the second largest fintech cluster in the UK.
A report last year highlighted a jump in the number of “innovative” fintech SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) based north of the Border. That growth has been driven by a flurry of start-ups, as well as a surge in the number of fintech firms moving to Scotland from other parts of the world.
FinTech Scotland said the new roadmap would advance the Scottish fintech cluster in a number of ways, including developing “priority innovation themes” such as financial inclusion, net zero and well-being, aligning research strengths and capabilities with innovation priorities, enhancing Scotland’s national and global reputation for fintech innovation, and influencing future government innovation strategies.
The roadmap is being developed in collaboration with the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) and together they have appointed Whitecap Consulting to progress the initiative.
Nicola Anderson, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “The roadmap will further advance and grow Scotland’s fintech cluster and it will bring insight and specific focus to accelerate fintech innovation.
“Working with Whitecap Consulting and across the cluster we will identify a suite of progressive actions that will enable positive economic outcomes.”
Kevin Collins, chief executive of the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence, said: “We’re delighted to be working with FinTech Scotland and Whitecap Consulting on this roadmap and it is essential to ensuring we prioritise the needs of financial and fintech businesses, including key skills gaps as well as provide an opportunity to align businesses and academics effectively.”
Richard Coates, managing director of Whitecap Consulting, added: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside FinTech Scotland and the GOFCoE team on this interesting project.
“The development of FinTech Scotland’s research and innovation roadmap calls for us to utilise a combination of our core strength in strategy and planning, our extensive work across the UK’s regional fintech ecosystems, and our experience working with and connecting key stakeholders across public, private and higher education organisations.”
FinTech Scotland was founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative by Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
The industry organisation is now supported by a broad range of global financial services, technology and professional services firms as well as the University of Edinburgh and University of Strathclyde, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
In February, it emerged that FinTech Scotland and financial technology firms operating in the country would be backing an initiative to promote “diversity and inclusion”.
The FinTech For All charter is an industry-led commitment to “use diversity and inclusion as a force for innovation and growth”.
The work is being led by InChorus and is supported by a steering committee of members from the FCA, Innovate Finance, FinTech Alliance and Level 39.