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Edinburgh and Scotland: A global FinTech hub

Stephen Ingledew: Chief Executive FinTech Scotland

What is fintech?

Fintech is the fusion of new innovative technologies with the financial services sector and the way people and businesses engage with money.

Scotland has a long standing reputation of financial innovation that have changed the way people engage with money, from cash machines to the invention of the PIN number.

Many of the technologies we use to deal with our finances today have their roots in Scotland and indeed Edinburgh.

What we’re witnessing today however fintech as both an economic and social movement, creating better consumer outcomes, increased financial inclusion as well as a growing financial services sector.

FinTech Scotland

FinTech Scotland was established in early 2018 with the ambition of positioning Scotland as one of the leading fintech hubs in the world.

Scotland is already recognised as a significant global financial hub with Edinburgh being the second financial centre in the UK after London.

Today, talented people, a supportive business environment and a vibrant tech scene are helping position Scotland as one of the top fintech destinations in the world as well as being voted one of the top places to live in.

To help Scotland achieve its ambition FinTech Scotland was established through a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the financial services sector and University of Edinburgh.

FinTech Scotland is an independent body and acts as a strategic enabler ensuring that Scotland seizes the fintech opportunity for all and achieves critical mass in the sector by encouraging financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion as part of the country’s broader digital economy objectives.

The FinTech sector in Scotland

Scotland is home to nearly one hundred small and medium sized fintech enterprises, with the biggest concentration in Edinburgh and the number of firms is growing

Growth in the Scottish fintech sector is very strong and in January 2019 FinTech Scotland confirmed that the number of innovative fintech SMEs based in Scotland has grown by three times in twelve months due to new companies being forms, international firms relocating to Scotland and existing businesses developing fintech propositions.

Edinburgh’s attractiveness

Edinburgh has many incubators and accelerators run by private organisations as well as universities. In those innovative spaces, fintech firms can work with academics, mentors and established brand to develop their solutions. Amongst those places we’re proud to be home to the UK’s largest incubator, CodeBase.

On the skills side of things, Edinburgh has got many universities. Amongst them Edinburgh Napier, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt are embracing fintech and have developed new curriculum to satisfy the growing demand from the sector.

The University of Edinburgh’s acclaimed School of Informatics is one of the most important in Europe and home to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world allowing for greater innovations.

Edinburgh, a fintech collaboration scene

Edinburgh is home to a thriving financial sector. From banks to asset managers, from insurance to pension providers, many British and International companies have their head office or a major presence in Edinburgh. Companies such as RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, The Prudential, Tesco Bank, Baillie Gifford and more have made Edinburgh their home.

What it means for the fintech sector is a great potential for collaboration. FinTech Scotland plays a key role in creating an environment where innovators and established firms can collaborate and work together to drive innovation and growth

The Future

We are very excited about the future for fintech in Scotland. Supported by the Scottish Government, the sector is receiving great financial support and the City Region deal means millions will be invested in the Edinburgh and the central belt to increase our data capabilities and infrastructures. This will fuel further innovation and growth

The development of Edinburgh Futures Institute will be a huge stepping stone towards enhancing our position as a global fintech centre, providing even more collaboration opportunities and allowing access to world class research and data infrastructures.