FinTech Scotland reports 50% surge in financial tech firms during pandemic

Scotland’s fintech sector has boomed during the pandemic with a surge in the number of smaller financial technology businesses amid wholesale changes in consumer behaviour.

The number of fintech-focused small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has increased by more than 50 per cent during the past 18 months with the FinTech Scotland entrepreneurial community growing from 119 in March 2020 to 181 today.

The growth is said to reflect the increase in demand for financial technologies as more and more of the economy and society adapts to a digital environment driven by the challenges of the Covid crisis.

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News of the growth came as industry body FinTech Scotland announced an SME advisory board made up of leaders from the fintech entrepreneurial community.

Financial technology, or fintech, has become a key growth area for the digital economy. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Initially, the new board will focus on providing impetus on skills development, experience when it comes to accessing funding and commercialisation opportunities.

Stephen Ingledew, executive chairman at FinTech Scotland and chair of the fintech advisory board said: “There is growing recognition of the valuable role fintech has in contributing to the digital economy, therefore, formally bringing together a prominent group of entrepreneurs signifies Fintech Scotland’s ongoing commitment to ensure the best support is available for innovative enterprises in Scotland.”

The board includes a “diverse” range of founders and leaders: Jude Cook (ShareIn), James Varga (DirectID), Loral Quinn (Sustainably), Anthony Rafferty (Origo), Pardeep Cassells (AccessFintech), Andrew Duncan (Soar), Andrew Veitch (EedenBull), Stuart Lunn (LendingCrowd) and Russell Jaques (Fin-Q).

Cook, who is a co-founder of ShareIn, said: “It’s great to see more entrepreneurs joining the FinTech Scotland community. Scotland is such an interesting place to be in the run up to COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow in November. Fintech has a vital role to play as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Nicola Anderson, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, added: “We are focused on supporting fintech innovation in Scotland and the number of fintech SMEs establishing themselves here is a testament to the talent and experience across the cluster.

“This board helps us build on that talent and expend the practical fintech expertise that continues to build and evolve in Scotland.”

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 May, FinTech Scotland announced that it was developing a ten-year roadmap to help drive a “digital enabled net zero economic recovery”.

The business-led research and innovation blueprint will support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy and aid the development of fintech 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.

FinTech Scotland said the new roadmap would advance the Scottish fintech cluster in a number of ways, including developing “priority innovation themes”.

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