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The AltFi view on naysayers: Fintech’s coming home

Putting aside football, fintech has reached the financial finals and has already won.



Fintech sceptics have levelled the same criticisms for the best part of a decade against disruptive financial start-ups. It usually takes the form of a predictable handful of sentences: 

“These firms are losing money”.

“What will happen in a recession?”. 

“What happens when the taps are turned off”. 

“Banks can swallow up fintechs as soon as they want”.

“Big Tech will blow fintechs out of the water in an instant when they get around to it”.

The sceptics are very quickly losing the argument, however. Take the fintech Wise (formerly known as TransferWise), which made the move to becoming a public company via a spectacular £8bn direct listing in London last week. 

Shares are already up some 20 per cent, now valuing the company at nearly £9.6bn. 

Fintech coming home has got nothing to do with England losing the Euros (sigh!), however. Or any nationalist fervour for that matter. Fintech doesn’t belong to any particular jurisdiction.  

In fact, one of the most positive things about fintech beyond offering consumers better financial services is its global nature. 

Any successful fintech, unicorn or otherwise, has certainly benefited from global capital flows, an international workforce and talent pool or an addressable global market for their product. Quite often it’s all three. 

Wise in fact perfectly illustrates the point. Started in London by two Estonians, Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, the firm helps people around the world send money cheaply and efficiently to other people around the world. It has a very diverse workforce in its UK headquarters as well as hubs in New York, Mumbai, Melbourne and Tokyo. Its investors are also from all around the world.

Rather though, fintech is proving its sceptics wrong. It is changing the world and is proving its sustainability. Fintech is coming home. 

The AltFi Leader is a new weekly view for 2021 from our editorial team. We’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, feedback and constructive criticism:

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