Regulator identifies UK's new regional FinTech hotspots

The new hotspots for Financial Technology (FinTech) are likely to be the Edinburgh-Glasgow and the Leeds-Manchester corridors according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s director of strategy.

Regulator identifies UK's new regional FinTech hotspots
Scotland and northern England are set to become the UK's new Financial Technology (FinTech) hotspots, according to Christopher Woolard, who serves as the sector's regulator at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Fin and Tech collide

Mr Woolard, the FCA's director of strategy and competition, said in a speech to industry leaders this week that the Edinburgh-Glasgow and the Leeds-Manchester corridors were the latest places “where 'Fin' and 'Tech' collide”.His comments came as a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said that it was essential scientists and technical innovators from overseas be allowed to continue to work in the UK after the nation leaves the European Union.While the cross-party committee welcomed recent government measures to boost science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, it said, “While increasing the STEM skills of our children and students will help meet the needs of the workplace in future, it is also important to make use of existing STEM skills wherever they can be found, including from overseas.”

Secure positions for EU researchers

The MPs also called on ministers to give a “firm commitment to EU researchers working and studying in the UK that they will continue to have a secure position here post-Brexit”.In his speech, Mr Woolard pointed out that the Royal Bank of Scotland had recently announced a plan to open up its Edinburgh headquarters to FinTech start-ups and that the Leeds-Manchester area was already home to such businesses as White Label Crowdfunding and the Nostrum Group.Mr Woolard said that, starting in May, the FCA would start sending its innovation team to both areas for regular visits.

Regulatory conversations

In an interview with Business Insider, he said, “This is about getting our guys out on the road, going to where the firms are. What we're trying to do is do what we've done in London, which is making that regulatory conversation available to firms on a much more informal basis.“We've encouraged a whole range of firms to have a dialogue with us, just to get them going, get them started, and make it quicker for them to get into the market as innovators. That's essentially what we want to replicate in these two areas of the UK. If you simply said, come down to London – it's not that far to come down to London but I think you'd lose some of the informality.”
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Mr Woolard added that he hoped that by making regular trips to regional FinTech hubs, the FCA could encourage growth and investment in these areas.“We shouldn't kid ourselves – we'd only be one small part of that picture, but I think definitely if you were to speak to Leeds or Edinburgh or whoever, they would say having the regulator there in the way that we are planning is definitely a selling feature for them, in terms of encouraging more firms to innovate,” he said.“We recognise that we do have a really important role that can be played in that inward investment or growth story in certain parts of the UK.“I can imagine us working case-by-base across the UK in different locations, but at the moment the places where we think we can make a regular commitment, and therefore make a difference through that, have been the Edinburgh-Glasgow piece and the Leeds-Manchester piece.”For related news and features, visit our Technology section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre

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