As Brexit looms, UK fintech founders are pessimistic about the country's ability to remain a world leader in the field, according to a survey from the Digital Finance Forum.
Of 50 financial technology company founders surveyed by the Digital Finance Forum, 63% say the UK is the global leader in fintech. However, only 33% are optimistic that this will still be the case in five years.
Brexit uncertainty is a factor in the founders' concerns about the future, with over two thirds of respondents saying they are worried or extremely worried about the impact of the EU exit on their businesses. At the same time, most are more optimistic about their businesses now than they were at the start of the year.
Linked to Brexit, 61% cite the difficulty of “hiring enough good people” and “hiring engineering and product professionals” as hurdles that threaten to dampen the UK’s fintech dominance. More than a quarter are also worry about a lack of access to capital.
To help tackle these issues, two thirds of those quizzed want the government to improve the visa system now to make hiring from abroad easier and faster.
Almost half of founders call for a Secretary of State for Technology to represent technology industry interests at Cabinet level and alleviate the burden of sharing fintech responsibility between the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Nearly half also want changes to regulations to allow fintech firms to better compete with incumbents. Specifically, many want Open Banking to be expanded to cover data from more sectors, such as insurance and utilities.
Christian Faes, chair, Digital Finance Forum and CEO of LendInvest, says: "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."