Fintech companies from across the world have recently pushed significant investments in London. Last year, the UK outstripped all of its European counterparts for fintech investment and even as recently as recently as Tuesday US fintech Motive Partners opened in Canary Wharf.
Whilst there has been a concerted effort on behalf of governments in France and Germany to create a fintech base, only London has the ability to be the “epicentre” of financial services in the region. Motive Partners Rob Heyvaert said earlier this week “you can’t claim to be an important investment management or private equity player in financial technology if you’re not at the epicentre, which is London.”
Heyvaert’s company focuses on furthering fintech investments. Thus far, Motive has invested in companies including data algorithmics company LMRKTS and an unnamed private banking platform.
The aim is to invest in up to four more companies by the end of this year, with a particular focus on financial infrastructure. The new London office will facilitate projects between established and new fintech players, and fintech teams including those of RBS, Mastercard, and Allied Irish Bank will be based there. Motive Partners’ decision to open an office in London points to the city’s ongoing strength as a hub for fintech activity.
Speaking at our International FinTech Conference in London this morning. I’ll be showcasing the UK as a thriving global centre for #FinTech investment and launching our first-ever FinTech strategy. #IFTC2018 pic.twitter.com/QdtjTfvkip
— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) March 22, 2018
But the question is why and how will this sprawling mass of glass innovation hubs remain so central in financial services post-Brexit?
First and foremost there is already an established Open Banking Policy in the UK. Whilst of course each EU country must use the PSD2, they can also use it in their own way. The UK’s decision to implement Open Banking in January this year makes it a front runner in this space. The goal of Britain’s Open Banking Standard is to clear the way for financial-technology companies to use that information to create powerful apps that will provide a host of services such as managing multiple bank accounts, finding loans and handling accounting. Companies in the UK now have experience with the law and its implementation, likely making them attractive partners to foreign fintech companies.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is very supportive of fintech. The FCA will help increase competition in the country, especially in light of its looming EU departure. As such, it seems likely that the FCA will continue to promote fintech innovation within the UK. This will further ensure that fintechs remain keen to setup shop in the country.
“The beauty of London is that there’s a large pool of technology firms AND financial services together.”
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) March 22, 2018
London has the established infrastructure to ensure it remains the fintech capital and Brexit isn’t likely to scare off foreign fintech companies anytime soon. In addition to the UK’s long reputation as a fintech center, companies like Motive Partners that are willing to pour hefty funds into fintech firms will probably only strengthen its appeal.
Estonian bank LHV, who opened an office in London just last week, are another indication that this is still a strong place to invest and fintech accelerators and hubs are constantly being launched. Brexit will create remarkable opportunities for fintech but it is highly unlikely that London will see its place on the world stage diminish.