Fintech founders warn UK risks losing global crown

By Roger Baird on Tuesday 27 August 2019

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

Digital finance owners call for a secretary of state for technology to combat Brexit and industry complacency.

Fintech founders warn UK risks losing global crown
Image source: iwoca/Christoph Rieche

Fintech founders say the UK is at risk of losing its top spot as the sector’s global leader due to a mixture of Brexit concerns and industry complacency.

Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of British-based fintech owners say the UK is the centre of the global industry, but just 33 per cent believe this will be the case in five years.

The findings come from a survey by lobby group the Digital Finance Forum, which included responses from such leading UK fintechs as LendInvest, Crowdcube, Onfido and iwoca, led by chief executive and co-founder Christoph Rieche (pictured).

Fintech leaders want the UK’s new government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to create a secretary of state for technology to prevent digital innovation from slipping down the national agenda.


Brexit impact

The survey found 69 per cent of founders were “worried or extremely worried” about “the negative impact of Brexit on their business”. The ability to hire key engineers, as well as top product and finance professionals from abroad, was a particular concern.

“The ability of Fintechs to attract and hire talented people is a key challenge identified by the study that the government is asked to address urgently,” said Christian Faes, chair of the Digital Finance Forum, who is also the co-founder and chief executive of mortgages marketplace LendInvest.

The UK is home to several fintech unicorns - private firms with a valuation of over a billion dollars - such as small business lender OakNorth, consumer bank Revolut and money transfer service TransferWise that grew out of the 2008 financial crisis.



However, Faes added: “The UK must not be complacent about being the world leader in fintech - and there’s definitely a feeling from fintech founders, as revealed through this survey, that this threatens to be the case. There is clearly an opportunity with the new government to make the fintech sector a priority again.”

The Digital Finance Forum was formed in 2016, and is an informal dinner and events group for industry leaders.  The full survey can be found here

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