Scotland is home to more than 2,000 financial businesses and over 3,650 professional services firms making it one of Europe's leading financial hubs and the second largest in the UK, following London.
The country’s financial technology (fintech) sector is thriving and is continuing to grow exponentially. Mickael Paris, Marketing Director of FinTech Scotland discusses the work of the sector and Scotland’s aim to be one of the top fintech centres in the world.
Mickael Paris, Marketing Director of FinTech Scotland.
About FinTech Scotland
FinTech Scotland is an independent, not-for-profit body established by the country’s financial services sector, universities, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
Founded in January 2018, the organisation works to secure Scotland’s place as a top five global fintech centre. It unites entrepreneurs, the established financial sector, the public sector, accelerators, investors, consumer groups, technology and service firms, universities and skills agencies.
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.
Scotland’s fintech sector
Scotland is known for being a global financial hub and the sector employs more than 161,00 people. The country is also home to the world’s first Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE), based within The Bayes Centre at The University of Edinburgh.
In 2020, a consortium made up of FDATA, The University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and FinTech Scotland secured £22.5 million of UK Research and Innovation funding to develop create GOFCoE to boost financial technology innovation and deliver social and economic benefits around the world including how best to use open finance.
The country is also home to over 170 fintech companies from start-ups to global multi-million-pound businesses. Earlier this year Singapore fintech firm, TranSwap, launched a new research and development centre at The Bayes Centre. This will enable them to work alongside each other and develop new technologies.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, FinTech Scotland, ScotlandIS and the Law Society of Scotland’s LawscotTech set up a working group to stimulate the country’s digital economy and develop cross-sector collaboration.
The group aims to bring leaders together from across the industry with a variety of disciplines and expertise to share learning experiences and solutions to help accelerate innovation and help businesses and individuals adapt to new working practices as the world recovers from the pandemic.
Scotland has distinctive advantages in terms of its existing collaborative business culture, access to government and funding agencies, its raw talent and history in global sectors such as finance, health, data, advanced manufacturing, energy, engineering and legal and other professional services.
Inclusion for all
Last year InChorus, a coalition of different FinTech companies, launched its FinTech for All Charter an industry wide commitment to create a diverse and inclusive sector.
The five-point charter asks business to pledge to tackle harassment and promote inclusion by:
- Having one member of its senior executive team accountable for inclusion and diversity
- Creating and promoting an effective harassment and bullying policy
- Developing employee awareness around what constitutes harassment and encouraging inclusive practices
- Providing a range of appropriate reporting channels so that employees can speak up safely
- Ensuring that action is taken as per their harassment and bullying policy
In February FinTech Scotland and several Scottish fintech firms signed the FinTech For All Charter (InChorus web page). The industry led initiative is a commitment to use diversity and inclusion and promote this as a force for innovation and growth.
The Scottish fintech community became the biggest contingent of signatories to sign the pledge since its launch in 2020, reaffirming that the Scottish fintech community is focussed on making fintech a force for good.
A global movement
FinTech Scotland is connected to international fintech hubs all around the world.
In the past 3 years partnerships were established with Findec in Sweden, Japan Fintech, Fintech Tokyo, Fintech New Zealand and many more.
Closer to home the cluster management organisation is part of the Talent Route, a group of 16 European fintech hubs that collaborate on fintech initiatives, helping drive innovation and collaboration across borders.
The future of fintech
As the fintech sector continues to grow and become a desirable career path, some Scottish universities have created their own courses.
In February 2021, the University of Aberdeen joined The University of Strathclyde, The University of Edinburgh, the University of Stirling and The University of Glasgow and launched its MSc Financial Technology Course.
It is a very exciting time for the fintech sector in Scotland and over the next 10 years, the Centre for Financial Regulation and Innovation expects the industry to continue its growth trajectory and create a further 15,000 roles.
FinTech Scotland participated in both The Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review and the UK Fintech Sector Review to help drive the fintech movement even further. Scotland is in a really good place with many of the recommendations already being looked at and FinTech Scotland is working with other parties in developing initiatives around skill provision, fintech investment and Research & Innovation.
To find out more about FinTech Scotland visit - fintechscotland.com