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FinTech Awards Wales – Exclusive Interview: Confused.com

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Matt Hyde, Director of FinTech Awards Wales Meets:

Louise O'Shea,

CEO of Confused.com

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As part of a our new interview series, Matt Hyde, Director of Recruit121 and FinTech Awards Wales, talks to professionals in Wales’ thriving FinTech Sector. This week Matt caught up with Louise O'Shea, CEO at Confused.com.

Tell us about your main focus at Confused.com.

Our customers are at the forefront of all we do. Since the beginning when Confused.com started up in 2002, the sole purpose has been to help solve genuine customer problems by providing clarity in an often confusing industry.

Now that we’re facing a cost of living crisis, our customers need our help more than ever. Plus with so many other things adding to life’s daily confusions, what we do at Confused.com is make our customer journey as quick and easy as possible. And we are continuing to help our customers across more and more products and areas of their journey.

Another key focus of ours at Confused.com is our people. We believe that if you love what you do, you’ll do it better. Which is why we put so much emphasis on making Confused.com a great place to work. We invest in our staff and their futures, both in their professional and personal lives.

What impact do you feel FinTech Awards Wales are making in the FinTech sector in Wales?

The FinTech Awards Wales are a time to celebrate and recognise great achievements. Recognition is a core part of our ethos at Confused.com and being able to do this across the Welsh FinTech sector is an extension of that. We see participating in the Awards as being part of what makes Confused.com a great place to work and they are a special moment in our calendar.

Role models, representatives and spokespeople are vital, especially in an industry that’s typically been London centric and male-dominated. FinTech Awards Wales offers a platform for our role models to use their voices and encourage more people into the Fintech sector in Wales. The Awards recognise the people who have a willingness to learn and grow and are passionate about the industry. We need these people and their talents for the Welsh FinTech sector to be able to grow, therefore a forum to celebrate them is key.

Why have you chosen to support the Awards and in particular be the primary sponsor?

Confused.com was one of the first FinTech companies in Wales and we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to ensure Fintech flourishes in Wales for the good of all.  Our current team and alumni are all passionate about growing Fintech within Wales and encouraging more people into the sector. The Awards are a great event and provide an excellent opportunity to amplify the work of different organisations and people. Plus, we love having fun at Confused.com and the Awards is definitely an occasion to have a good time!

How do you feel the Welsh economy has fared post Covid and what predictions do you have for the next 12 months?

The COVID-19 pandemic is still seeing an impact on the Welsh economy even as we are stepping into the new normal. Remote working, especially, has impacted Welsh companies. Where we previously benefited from a pool of talent in Wales that needed to work in Wales, now our people can work for any company anywhere. While this is great for individuals it makes it harder for companies in Wales to attract and retain the excellent talent we have here. Interestingly, there’s also the start of a boomerang effect. Those who opted for remote working for companies outside of Wales are now wanting to be present and connected with their colleagues again and looking for work more locally. They realised what they were missing!

The cost of living crisis faced by all will also impact businesses, be that because their costs may go up or demand for their products and services may go down.  As we’ve seen in the FTSE, company valuations may reduce and new investment capital becomes harder to obtain. This could lead to some businesses struggling in the coming years, it’s important to always consider that when you’re looking for a new job.  Over the years Confused.com has stepped in a number of times to recruit people who’ve had to be let go due to company closures and I expect we’ll see more of that in the near future.

What is Confused.com doing today to support the FinTech in the future?

Confused.com was a founding member of FinTech Wales, a not-for-profit that’s growing the FinTech ecosystem in Wales. We’ve recently followed in Admiral Group and Principality’s footsteps in partnering with the FinTech Wales Foundry programme. The Foundry provides world-class mentorship and support for start-ups.

We’re also passionate about growing Welsh talent. We support the Cardiff Commitment, offer numerous graduate programmes, and most recently we’re exploring a scheme that will specifically train female developers. There’s so much demand for great tech and data talent, and we want to ensure that this talent is diverse and careers in tech and data fully inclusive.

Finally what’s the best advice you were given and what advice would you give?

A great mentor taught me to always be flexible and open when it comes to opportunities because they often arrive when you least expect them. Throw yourself in and be as hands on as possible, even if you’re unsure about whether or not you can do something. You only regret the opportunities you don’t take, so don’t let them get away from you. Thanks to that mentor I am today the CEO of Confused.com!

The advice I would give is to understand what motivates you personally and therefore professionally. Tap into it and use it to drive you forward. Stay true to it and it will help you to navigate the difficult decisions you are bound to face.