London ‘to remain FinTech hub despite Brexit’
The UK government spread the message that London stands out as the world’s leading FinTech hub amid fears the capital’s future may be threatened by the vote to leave the European Union.
Government spread message at FinTech conference in SingaporeEconomic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby, who is heading a UK trade delegation at a FinTech conference in Singapore, which has attracted 11,000 delegates from more than 50 nations, told CNBC that London still has a great deal to offer to financial technology firms despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit negotiations. He said the UK's independent legal system and effective regulatory regime made London stand out as the world's leading FinTech hub, while its geographical location made it possible to conduct business with Asia in the morning and the United States in the afternoon."(London) is also one of the world's biggest financial centres," Mr Kirby said. "If you are interested in financial services technology, then being close to capital markets is key."
Aware of concerns surrounding BrexitExpressing his confidence in the government's ability to secure a good deal with the EU in Brexit negotiations, the minister added, "We are listening very carefully to FinTech businesses' concerns about access to capital, access to high-skilled labour and also their concerns about Brexit."
Mr Kirby added that building relationships with other FinTech hubs was also crucial, despite industry concerns of a possible brain drain from the UK to the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong."It's fair to say competition is good. What businesses want is more of a parity between regulation so that they can move easily from one country to another," he said.
Nutmeg investment secures position in EuropeMr Kirby's remarks came on the heels of announcement by digital wealth manager Nutmeg that it had raised £30 million in its latest funding round, making it the largest by a UK FinTech company since the referendum.Welcoming the news, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said, "Britain is leading the way forward in global FinTech. It's an industry that is going from strength to strength and today's announcement confirms the UK's position as the global FinTech capital. This is another international investment into a home-grown UK company, demonstrating the UK is open for business."Hong Kong's largest independent financial advisory firm Convoy is investing £24 million and Nutmeg's existing investors have contributed the rest, including asset manager Schroders and leading London venture capital fund Balderton Capital. Nutmeg says the funding will be used to "accelerate growth and expand its offering." Martin Stead, Nutmeg chief executive, said, "This investment cements our position as Europe’s leading digital wealth manager." However, data published this week by Innovate Finance showed a third quarter drop of 26 per cent in FinTech funding for British start-ups, primarily as a result of uncertainty following the referendum vote. Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, commented, “While the UK still attracted a high number of deals for FinTech, there’s been a significant drop in investment year-on-year to Q3 2016. Ahead of the Autumn Statement (next week), Innovate Finance urges the Chancellor to ensure the UK continues to drive investment and innovation, attract talent and maintain an open trading relationship with the EU and globally."
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