Strengthening Toronto fintech ecosystem should be top priority - report

Strengthening Toronto fintech ecosystem should be top priority - report

Toronto has the potential to be a strong fintech hub but, without a clear strategy and private and government support, the Canadian city could also see its position in the global pecking order slide, suggests a new report written by Accenture and McMillan.

The report, produced for the Toronto Financial Services alliance (TFSA), found that the Toronto/Kitchener-Waterloo corridor today benefits from a strong core of financial institutions, top-tier research facilities at local academic institutions, a strong talent base and relatively low business operating costs compared with other global fintech ecosystems.

However, the TFSA says that strengthening this fintech ecosystem must be an imperative for the country's financial services sector and governments in order to maintain and grow the region's international market position.

Currently, the Toronto region ranks in the middle of the pack in fintech ecosystems, alongside Hong Kong and Berlin but well behind the tech centre of Silicon Valley, attractive investment climate of New York and government-backed London and Singapore.

New centres, such as nearby Chicago and state-backed Dubai are emerging, threatening to leave Toronto further behind unless a concerted effort is made by the public and private sector, with the report setting out six key calls to action.

First, established financial institutions, startups and the VC community must improve collaboration; second, access to capital needs to be made easier; third, the regulatory burden on startups should be reduced; fourth, research should be better commercialised; fifth, more effort should be made to attract top talent; and sixth, the region's global fintech profile should be actively built up.

Janet Ecker, CEO, TFSA, says: "We have a strong fintech and financial services cluster in this region, and much is being done by industry and government to build our global leadership.

"But the evidence is clear: We are still in the middle of the pack. Other global centres are not standing still, and neither can we. Strengthening the fintech ecosystem will be critical to the continued success of our global financial industry."

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