Fintech first for Scotland as consumer panel rolls out

FinTech Scotland has launched a consumer panel in what is being billed as a UK first for the financial technology sector.

Stephen Ingledew is FinTech Scotlands chief executive. Picture: Contributed

The move aims to connect consumer and citizen advocate groups into the fintech community with the emphasis on “citizen financial inclusion, problem solving and innovation”.

The industry organisation said the new panel would provide ease of access to a public and consumer voice for fintech innovators, while building an “inclusive network across consumer groups, innovation and technology”.

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Recent research suggested that 24 per cent of UK adults have little or no confidence in managing their money, with 18-24-year-olds rating themselves as the least confident.

Stephen Ingledew, FinTech Scotland’s chief executive, said: “This is an important aspect to the work of FinTech Scotland. Fintech provides a major opportunity to improve the way people can engage with their money and finances.

“The consumer panel aims to bring people directly into the conversation and increase inclusion within fintech and the financial services industry more broadly. It will give greater access to customer insights enhancing the focus for good customer outcomes which is our definition of what the fintech movement is.”

Founding members come from a range of consumer advocate organisations, the third and public sectors, as well as academia.

Those participating include Money Advice Scotland, the Scottish Government, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh, the Big Issue, the Money and Pensions Service, Step Change, Age Scotland, Fresh Start Edinburgh, Passion4Fusion and Mental Health and Money Advice.

Money Advice Scotland chief executive Yvonne MacDermid said: “Working with fintech propositions will help the debt advice sector connect with more people in a range of different ways and enable consumers to gain confidence in using digital applications.”

Fintech Scotland was established by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the financial services sector and the University of Edinburgh.

In May, Scotland’s burgeoning fintech community hailed a growth milestone with the country now home to more than 100 fintech firms. At the start of the year it was announced that the number of firms had trebled to 75 over the 12 months since the formation of FinTech Scotland.

The growth in the number of fintech businesses is said to have been fuelled by a combination of new enterprises being created, international firms locating in Scotland and existing technology companies developing new fintech propositions. A fintech festival is taking place this month.