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UK Fintech

8 October 2020

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In recent years the UK has emerged to be a global Fintech capital and has become one of the leading places in the world to start and grow a fintech business. The sector is currently estimated to be worth around £7bn to the UK economy, employs around 60,000 people across the UK and has been estimated to have grown by nearly 70% since 2015.

Tech based solutions in financial services have experienced wide scale adoption in the UK with growth fuelled by a favourable start up environment that supports entrepreneurship and innovation.

However, the UK Fintech policy environment means that the UK has a particularly strong competitive advantage relative to other leading Fintech hubs. Some key aspects of this environment include:

  • Talent: across the Fintech workforce the UK is able to draw on considerable financial services expertise with a pool of more than 1.2 million people working in financial services. The availability of tech talent is also strong, drawing from a sizable workforce. This is enhanced by the fact that the UK remains the favoured European headquarters of many international tech firms.
  • Capital: this is available for both early stage, growing and mature Fintech businesses through investment. It is estimated that the UK Fintech sector attracted £4.1bn in venture capital in 2019. Early stage investment is supported by a number of tax incentives such as EIS and SEIS.
  • Policy: The UK has a world leading Fintech policy environment noted for its simplicity, transparency and industry led approach. The environment benefits from a supportive regulatory regime from the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Demand: Fintech demand in the UK is robust, driven by demand originating out of London across many sectors including consumers, corporates and large financial institutions. Consumer adoption of Fintech is becoming increasingly mainstream and with the largest numbers of SMEs in Europe the UK represents a large market with demonstrated willingness to embrace new solutions.

Coupled with this supportive environment is the fact that the UK remains an attractive place for foreign companies to come and do business which is demonstrated by the UK’s consistent place at the top of the rankings for Foreign Direct Investment in Europe. Although the UK slipped to second place in 2019 this is the first time since the survey began in 1997.

There are of course many reasons why the UK is the number one destination of investment. However, its location, global outlook, light touch regulation, language and the ease of set up and doing business are high on the list.

Taken together the Fintech policy environment, the support for entrepreneurship and innovation and the attractiveness for overseas investors means that the UK is the perfect location for Chinese companies looking to expand overseas.