Source: HM Treasury
HM Treasury appointed Fintech Envoy for Northern Ireland, Andrew Jenkins has said the sector has the potential to create a significant number of jobs in the coming years in Northern Ireland.
Jenkins was giving evidence to the Stormont Economy Committee on Fintech in Northern Ireland in which he outlined the bourgeoning sector, its rapid growth potential, and the challenges which it is currently facing due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Fintech is one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy, encompassing innovation in financial services including digital banking, payment technologies and crowdfunding platforms. Some of the most active areas of Fintech innovation include Blockchain technology, Cybersecurity, AI and RegTech.
During lockdown, the role of Fintech has come into sharp focus with many people making online transactions at home, companies investing in e-commerce and people buying from websites / signing up for products from financial institutions. All of which is enabled by Fintech. Growing out of the Financial crisis in 2008, Fintech has shown that it can quickly adapt to meet the needs of business and consumers in a safe and swift manner.
Northern Ireland is regarded as a world-renowned driver of the Fintech sector and has been named as one of the leading global Fintech locations of the future, in the 2019/20 fDi league table alongside cities including Singapore, New York and London. 40,000 people in Northern Ireland are employed across the financial and professional services with 1 in 4 of these employed in technology roles.
In recent weeks, several major investment and job announcements have been made in the Fintech space by Riskonnect, Cygilant and Vox Financial Partners.
Speaking after briefing the Economy Committee, Andrew Jenkins, Fintech Envoy for Northern Ireland said:
“As we begin to plan for the economic recovery and developing an economy that is future proof, Fintech must be central to this. The resiliency, adaptability and innovation at the heart of the Fintech sector will be crucial for our economic prosperity in the coming period and I was particularly encouraged by the Committee’s understanding and desire to advance the Fintech agenda.”
“The announcement by three different Fintech companies in recent weeks of new jobs is really encouraging and shows that our sector can not only sustain jobs but create them and therefore we must harness this potential.”
“Interestingly, one of the recurring reasons investors give for investing in Northern Ireland is the talent on offer. There is no doubt we have some of the most talented and skilled people coming through our excellent colleges and universities, but we have more to do if we are to reach our potential. By focusing on this area and building a truly diverse and inclusive sector there is no doubt that we will remain a global leader for many years to come.”
“Despite all of this, it is important to acknowledge the effect Covid-19 has had on the Fintech start-up community particularly around Peer-to-Peer Lending, Retails Investments and SME Lending. This has been a difficult time all round and now more than ever we need the government to recognise the challenges being faced by these innovators and risk takers who are the future of our economy.”
“As Fintech Envoy, I made it clear to the Committee that I was committed to dedicating my time to signposting businesses to the funds and sources of finance which are required to start up, grow and develop. Only by working in collaboration will we be able to reach our true potential.”