Why FinTech loves Edinburgh - Kenneth Ross

Financial technology companies had something of a love affair with cities and especially London, the FinTech epicentre, but attitudes are shifting and the cities of Scotland are offering an increasingly attractive location for the burgeoning multi-billion pound FinTech industry. With Edinburgh’s existing long history of financial services, some might say it’s coming full circle.
landscape of calton hill, edinburgh, uklandscape of calton hill, edinburgh, uk
landscape of calton hill, edinburgh, uk

As a FinTech ourselves, Modulr has not only chosen the Scottish capital as the location for our largest office, we’ve invested in it too. We’ve built our technology hub here and created 100 new, highly specialist jobs with more and more Modulites (those that work at Modulr) joining each day from the excellent talent pool at our disposal thanks to a superb educational system. Modulites and Edinburgh are fundamental to Modulr’s role as one of the UK’s leading payments infrastructure players, backed by the venture arms of global payment giants PayPal and FIS, and partnered with the likes of Revolut, QuickBooks and Sage. It ties emerging global investment in financial technology to the Scottish capital.

Beyond the excellent talent pool created by world class universities and long-established professional services, there’s one very compelling reason FinTechs will choose Edinburgh above all others. We believe that Edinburgh offers all the hallmarks required for the future hybrid working model we expect to take hold in the financial technology industry. And at its core, hybrid working offers an improved work/life balance for the digital worker, developers in particular; after all, happy Modulites are productive Modulites.

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Throughout the last 18 months, we’ve seen a growing number of Modulites move out of the cities as they take advantage of this prolonged period of hybrid working. Or, as we’ve come to affectionately call it, code in the Highlands, meet in the city.

The last year has proven beyond doubt that office-based workers can do their job from just about anywhere - none more so than those in the developer community. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, it’s clear that a hybrid working model can, and does, work for the financial technology sector.

As offices have begun to reopen as restrictions ease, we’ve noticed that office days are being used more productively by focusing on employee interaction, team catch ups and workshops; all those things that can’t be easily reproduced by video calls. It’s also made us value coming together in person, and we’ve come to appreciate Edinburgh’s social activities, not least our rooftop office bar overlooking the Castle! Of course, hybrid working doesn’t work for all Modulites. We’ve made sure to accommodate those who want or need to use the office on a more regular basis.

For those Modulites who’ve spotted an opportunity to move further from the city, hybrid working has reduced the frequency of their commutes, making it possible to live in the countryside while enjoying the FinTech careers we’re all deeply passionate about. Living in the city is no longer a prerequisite for working in the City.

Looking at the wider picture, the move towards hybrid working has opened up a greater opportunity to attract talented individuals. As the prospect of an everyday commute reduces, hybrid working enables us to attract talent from further afield.

In short, the hybrid model of working is here to stay and the way we work has changed as we know it. It’s providing further impetus for making the UK’s FinTech scene less London-centric and indeed city-agnostic. As hybrid working becomes the norm for FinTech, Edinburgh holds an enviable position as the best of country and the best of city. Here’s to many more FinTechs who choose to code in the Highlands and meet in the city.

Kenneth Ross, Chief People Officer of Modulr



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