Mark of excellence
European recognition for Scotland’s fintech cluster
Stephen Ingledew: ‘a symbolic flag we can fly’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Scotland’s growing financial technology sector has become the first in the UK, and only the third in Europe, to receive formal accreditation as a cluster of excellence.
The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) looked at 36 economic indicators before making the award.
The Scottish cluster was founded as an independent industry organisation by the financial services sector, universities, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, and is overseen by FinTech Scotland.
Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “The global financial services sector is being transformed by technology which is providing a range of benefits such as speeding up transactions, making payments more secure and helping avoid problem debt.
“Scotland is already at the forefront of these developments, which has helped attract major investments from large financial companies including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase as well as a number of fast-growing international fintech enterprises in the past 18 months.
“This accreditation will further increase our international profile and is another step towards the goal of being ranked among the world’s top five fintech cluster nations.”
Stephen Ingledew, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “We are very proud of this cluster excellence recognition. It is a symbolic flag we can fly which will increase our reputation amongst firms and investors across Europe, USA and the Far East.
“Scotland is increasingly being recognised as offering the innovation, skills, culture and expertise that global fintech enterprises and investors seek.
“As well as awarding the accreditation, ESCA’s benchmarking report details actions FinTech Scotland can lead to further develop the nation’s fintech cluster and global engagement which in turn will help shape our priorities for 2020 and beyond.”
The number of small and medium sized fintech companies based in Scotland has risen by more than 60% in the past year, from 72 to 119. The fintech cluster also includes multinational financial services firms, technology and professional services firms, universities, consumer groups, regulators, investors and public agencies.
The financial services sector in Scotland directly employs more than 84,000 people.
Economic clusters across all industries and sectors have been proven to grow faster than the mainstream economy. Clusters on average employ 25% more people, pay on average up to 11% higher salaries and gain from higher international recognition and engagement.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Lord Mayor of London William Russell are co-chairing a green finance roundtable today in Edinburgh, bringing together prospective and current investors in the sector and prominent business leaders.
Representatives from organisations including HSBC, J.P. Morgan, L&G Investment Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments will discuss issues such as how to attract investment for green projects in Scotland and the role of government regulation.