Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD was in Killorglin Co. Kerry this morning to launch FINTECHNEXT – a financial technology (fintech) research collaboration between technology company Fexco, University College Cork (UCC) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
The €3 million investment in the project will be provided by Science Foundation Ireland and Fexco in equal parts with critical knowledge and expertise provided by researchers at the Cork University Business School (CUBS) within UCC.
The collaboration will see a team of 12 newly appointed researchers led by UCC, partner with Fexco in the delivery of applied and funded research dedicated to disrupting 3 key fintech verticals; Treasury & FX, Digital Taxation, and Corporate Asset Administration.
The proposed outputs of the collaboration include commercially viable fintech prototypes and associated intellectual property as well as a dedicated fintech knowledge repository centred at UCC.
The ambition and scope of the project will create new knowledge as a platform from which Fexco will spearhead regional and rural development through economic impact, job creation and training. The output of this initiative has the potential to significantly increase the competitive advantage of the region in two key development strategies: building on Fexco’s strengths investing in growing the sector globally as well as diversifying the economy of the region from its industrial past.
The research team will be co-located between Fexco Headquarters where the company already employs over 1,000 of its global 2,300 strong workforce and UCC. This collaboration, led by Professor Philip O’Reilly of CUBS, aims to stimulate the joint development of innovative solutions that will put Ireland on the world map as a fintech innovation hub. In July 2018 Fexco announced plans to recruit 175 additional high-skill staff to expand its research, development and information technology capabilities.
Speaking at the launch of FINTECHNEXT, Minister Paschal Donohoe TD said:
‘Technology is significantly transforming and disrupting the financial services ecosystem. We need to invest in collaborative research projects, such as FINTECHNEXT, to give Ireland a competitive advantage in emerging technologies. This ambitious project aims to drive real opportunities here in Kerry and is an excellent example of how investing in innovation will support higher value jobs in our rural regions. I congratulate all of the partners - Fexco, UCC and SFI.
‘The IFS2020 strategy, which Fexco has actively supported since its inception in 2015, underpins the need for increased regional International Financial Services activity. The new IFS2025 Strategy, which Minister D’Arcy is due to publish soon, maintains, strengthens and builds on that stated aim. FINTECHNEXT aligns itself perfectly with this objective.’
Denis McCarthy, CEO Fexco said:
‘Investment in research is key to developing and delivering the next generation of products, services and innovations that will disrupt the fintech sector, an industry that has been critical to the continued growth and development of the South West of Ireland and of Fexco.
‘Fexco will enjoy a dual benefit from this project, the first is the opportunity to be at the forefront of identifying new trends and technologies that could create new markets for our business and the second in welcoming a team of world-renowned research experts to the organisation. Fexco’s staff, including myself, stand to learn a huge amount from them, and I want to wish all of the partners in FINTECHNEXT every success.’
UCC President, Professor Patrick O’Shea added:
‘‘UCC is Ireland’s leading university when it comes to industry collaboration and this outstanding partnership with Fexco contributes towards developing a world leading fintech sector in this region and nationally. This is a great example of the way the public and private sectors can invest together in innovative research with potentially valuable commercial applications.’
Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said:
‘‘I am delighted to join Fexco and UCC in launching FINTECHNEXT. Fintech is an important and rapidly growing industry sector and it’s particularly gratifying to see FINTECHNEXT based in rural Ireland. Transforming how we deliver financial services like digital taxation, treasury and asset administration requires innovation from our excellent academics and collaboration with expert industry partners, like Fexco. I wish the UCC researchers and industry partner Fexco every success with this exciting venture.’
The FINTECHNEXT collaboration will run for four years from 2019 to 2022.