Matt Hyde, Director of FinTech Awards Wales Meets:
Financial Services Tax Leader at PwC
As part of our new interview series, Matt Hyde, Director of Recruit121 and FinTech Awards Wales, talks to professionals in Wales’ thriving FinTech Sector. This week Matt meets Katharine Adlard, Financial Services Tax Leader at PwC.
Tell us about your main focus at PwC
I am Katharine Adlard, PwC Director and leader of the Financial Services Tax team in Wales & the West, and have worked with businesses in the FS sector for 17 years. PwC are proud of our full-suite local FS specialist team working across Tax, Deals, Audit and Consulting, with experts advising on FS matters in all sectors of the industry based in our Cardiff and Bristol offices.
I mainly advise and audit established, regulated FS businesses such as insurance companies and retail banks / building societies, but am increasingly being called upon to advise new FS startups. I have a hands-on approach and get to know my clients’ businesses in order to ensure we offer them the best service we can, preemptively and proactively.
I have a particular interest in FinTech and how it can disrupt and shake up the traditional FS offering and I have been involved in FinTech West since its inception – facilitating sessions through PwC’s partnership, sharing insight in the industry and contributing to thought leadership including the recent WECA Bristol and Bath FinTech cluster strategy report. To that end, I have recently been invited to join the FinTech West Advisory Board which I look forward to. I also work closely with FinTech Wales, and am currently planning several jointly hosted events for later in the Autumn leveraging the deep understanding of SMEs we have at PwC in the field of cyber security and digital currency in particular. PwC has a large and growing Cyber team in Cardiff, with a centre of excellence for Cyber Security and Data & Analytics – we are fortunate to have many talented individuals within Wales.
What impact do you feel FinTech Awards Wales are making in the FinTech sector in Wales?
The FinTech Awards Wales provides a valuable space to showcase and recognise the best of the FinTech sector among their peers. Building momentum, while bringing FinTech people together, will enhance the FinTech network and community and enable Wales’ successes to be showcased amongst others elsewhere. The Awards, now in their third year and sponsored from the beginning by PwC, grow from strength to strength, and it is great to see businesses we first heard of during 2019 now flourishing – doing exactly what the Awards set out to do which is to provide a platform for success.
Why have you chosen to support the Awards and in particular the Rising Star of the Year Award?
PwC sees both the FinTech and broader technology sectors as key in the future success of Wales – we are championing this through #TechEnableWales, our initiative that brings everything we’re doing in tech under one umbrella. We want to recognise and encourage the fantastic entrepreneurial businesses who bring to life the wide range of solutions provided by FinTech, including a number of disruptors and creative problem explorers. We feel it is vitally important to highlight and celebrate the best of Fintech in Wales, particularly on the back of the momentum gained from the Kalifa report and in the challenging economic environment we find ourselves in.
The ‘Rising FinTech Star’ category resonates with PwC’s vision and community ethos to grow and develop the best upcoming talent. PwC have several programmes that we run to train and encourage people in the industry – including the national #TechSheCan initiative through to our local joint Masters programme with Cardiff University the ‘MSc in Cybersecurity & Technology’. The FinTech businesses of Wales owe their success to the people behind the scenes running the show with passion, innovation, drive and skill and PwC applaud and encourage that.
How do you feel the Welsh economy has fared post Covid and what predictions do you have for the next 12 months?
Clearly there are many political and economic uncertainties surrounding the outlook for both Wales and the UK more generally at present, so businesses would be well advised to prepare for a range of different scenarios. Buying habits are changing and the events of 2022 so far only go to reiterate the challenging times that we live in.
The cost of living crisis will dominate the headlines for the Welsh economy over the next 12 months. UK-wide, consumer sentiment has continued to drop, and there’s evidence that Wales is feeling inflationary pressures particularly keenly. We recently asked businesses across the UK whether they had raised the prices of their goods and services in June; 24% of Welsh respondents had, which tracked above the UK average.
In our view it’s really important for Wales to continue to embrace new technologies. The FinTech cluster is a perfect example for us to punch above our weight and shine on the world stage.
What is PwC doing today to support FinTech in the future?
Supporting innovative businesses is something PwC does well here in Wales. With dedicated local resource supporting both Private Business and Financial Services, we are passionate about making a difference and recognising success. We bring a unique combination of specialists who can talk to all the complexities of start-up business in a financial services and regulatory context.
The Welsh FinTech ecosystem already has a great collaborative style and at our upcoming events partnering with FinTech Wales and Cardiff University we hope to harness what's at the heart of successful FinTech partnerships, and how FinTechs of all shapes and sizes can scale for success. Whether a FinTech just starting out or an established financial services provider, partnerships and collaboration are fundamental to the ability to scale. Putting the right support around an organisation, connecting with regional networks, and finding opportunities to collaborate – with other FinTechs, with incumbents, and even with the regulator – are just some examples of the foundations for success that PwC supports.
Through our links in to FinTech Wales and FinTech West, we are providing resource, experience and insight to the FinTech ecosystem and community, and assisting in training the talent of the future through our #TechEnableWales campaign and other local and national initiatives such as the MSc in Cybersecurity & Technology with Cardiff University.
PwC remains committed to the national FinTech Alliance which we continue to partner as well as running and facilitating our own accelerator programme – Scale | FinTech 5.0 for 2022.
Finally what’s the best advice you were given and what advice you would give?
Support and collaborate with others willingly.
Be bold with your great ideas and seek help on your journey.
Some of the best stories have been borne out of challenge or even failure, so don’t be afraid of that and show passion, determination and resilience to allow you and your ideas to grow.