Switch to digital economy sees surge in number of Scottish fintech firms: new report

Scotland has seen a surge in the number of companies focused on financial technology amid an acceleration in the move to a digital economy.

Industry organisation FinTech Scotland said the fintech community had now reached 190 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), compared to 147 this time last year, and just 26 firms when the industry body started four years ago.

The growth comes alongside an Innovate Finance announcement last week that investment in fintech firms across the UK jumped by more than 200 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year.

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Fintech Scotland said its activities have been bolstered by increasing collaboration with 30 “strategic partners”, across financial services, global technology and professional services, academia and the public sector.

Stephen Ingledew and Nicola Anderson of industry cluster organisation FinTech Scotland.

This has enabled the fintech cluster to “deepen its impact” with successes noted in the growing number of business partnerships between the larger financial institutions and Scotland’s fintech SMEs.

Nicola Anderson, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “Our Fintech Scotland journey will make a further leap forward this year when we unveil our ten-year fintech research and innovation report, an industry led roadmap which will set out a framework to shape the future of financial services and the fintech in the digital economy.

“It will be central to our 2022 plans and builds on the growing investment across fintech in Scotland. I am passionate about ensuring our cluster leadership role continues to make a significant positive contribution to impactful innovation, the climate agenda, diversity and inclusion, as well as demonstrating how fintech can solve real societal issues.”

Stephen Ingledew, executive chairman of Fintech Scotland, added: “I’d like to pay tribute to my Fintech Scotland colleagues for their drive, relentless endeavours, creativity and leadership over the year. I’m hugely proud of our progress and recognition across the UK and look forward to continuing our collaboration with fintech SMEs, strategic partners and many friends in the wider UK fintech movement as we drive the impact of innovation.”

Edinburgh-based FinTech Scotland was founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative by Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, the University of Edinburgh, the 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 January 2020, FinTech Scotland was formally recognised for the development of the fintech cluster in Scotland and accredited with the bronze label for Cluster Management Excellence by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis.

In September, the industry body announced an SME advisory board made up of leaders from the fintech entrepreneurial community.

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

Ingledew 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.”

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