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FinTech Success for Wales: “This is Just the Beginning”

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Monday night saw the coming together of Wales’ most prestigious business leaders in an exciting FinTech Wales event. With the energy in the room palpable, the tech giants talked of an end of ‘siloed thinking’ and the beginning of one strong voice for the financial technology industry in Wales. If the digital pioneers can secure this, it could lead to a dazzling future for the country’s tech innovation and employment opportunities.

“Thinking that FinTech isn’t important is crazy. FinTech is the future, with Wales becoming the dragon behind it”.-Sina Yamani, Managing Director of Lynq, a leading Cardiff-based Open-Banking and Blockchain technology firm

Wales is in the driving seat for FinTech innovation, pumping £8.5 billion into the economy

From grassroot foundations to a powerhouse of innovation, the Welsh FinTech sector is a success story to be proud of. Now employing around 40,000 people, this thriving tech ecosystem contributes an eye-watering £8.5 billion to the economy. It’s an exciting time for Wales, which is now quickly becoming one of the most competitive and fastest-growing locations for the FinTech movement in the UK, second only to London.

Spearheading the movement are FinTech Wales, who are at the forefront of the campaign, creating a collaborative hub for its pioneers. Together, the finest FinTech firms, from the start-ups to the giants are working together, to continue driving Wales forward as the centre for new intelligent innovation.

Richard Theo, UK Government’s FinTech Envoy for Wales and co-founder & CEO of the Welsh online personal investment service Wealthify, based in Cardiff commented:

“FinTech in Wales is thriving, but it’s just the beginning. To propel this industry, we need to power up our skills, community and awareness”

FinTech Wales pushes for enhancing skills, community and awareness across the sector to continue the success

In a strong opening speech, Fintech Envoy for Wales Richard Theo looked back on the country’s extraordinary journey into the previously unknown world of financial technology. From “behind the curve” to “leading the way”, Theo emphasized the impressive distance covered by the FinTech movement in Wales. He also looked to the future, pointing to three key objectives enhancing: Skills, Community and Awareness.  This set the tone for the event, with keynote speakers Partner at EY Anita Kimbers and General Secretary for FinTech Wales Gavin Powell emphasising the need for customer-centric collaboration.

The driving ambitions for the future of FinTech Wales:

1.   Bolstering skills: More employment opportunities for young people

Nurturing digital skills across Wales is fundamental to keep the momentum going, particularly for young people. As the darlings of the digital era, Millennials and Generation Z will be crucial for the future workforce. Enhancing these skills across schools, higher education further education and mentoring programmes now could prove to be the investment of the century for Wales’ future.

Scott Jones, board member for FinTech Wales and MD at Cardiff-based WordPress agency, Illustrate Digital commented;

“There is a real concentration of growth here. It’s exciting for young people – both those now moving back to Cardiff and those moving here for the jobs. There are so many opportunities across this sector in Wales”.

2.   Embracing Community: Creating new digital innovations by working together

“FinTech Wales is a great way for people to come together and invest in Welsh entrepreneurship”– Carol Hall, Business Development Manager for the Development Bank of Wales, a bank based in Cardiff, offering financial support for businesses

Working side by side with your competitor may go against the grain in some industries, but FinTech Wales want to be different. Together stronger, all the speakers called for more collaboration across the eco-system to develop truly extraordinary tech.

“The sheer numbers are brilliant. There is such a variety of organisations here, and all these vibrant pockets of innovation are coming together. FinTech Wales brings it all together into fantastic opportunities for growth”– Mark Evans, Chief Technology Officer of Hodge Bank, a savings and business bank founded and based in Cardiff

3.   Increasing awareness: FinTech Wales grows with support, retweets and shares

Everyone has a part to play in supporting Wales’ exciting new role in the FinTech space. Sharing across social media and promoting the cause creates a snowball effect of success and momentum, which is vital to continue the drive.

John Paul Barker, Regional Leader West & Wales at PwC, a multi-national professional services firm said

“It’s all about breeding confidence within the FinTech sector, which is great to see in happening here in Wales”

The FinTech success story continues to gain momentum in Wales…

With the service sector being a staggering 80% of the UK economy, and financial services bringing in £132 billion annually, FinTech Wales has hit upon a great opportunity. As Wales nurtures more and more tech firms to life, the organisation’s General Secretary Gavin Powell called for more collaboration and conversations between players.

Gavin Powell, General Secretary FinTech Wales commented

“The Financial and FinTech world is an exciting ecosystem, with pockets of strategy existing between members. Could we make Wales the example to follow? Adopting a stronger united voice and agenda will allow us to nurture new ideas, attract new investments, protect our anchor companies and provide resilience against economic challenges. FinTech Wales are ready to take the challenge and ignite collaborations which will make history in the sector in Wales”.

With the end of siloed thinking and an all-encompassing FinTech movement, Wales’ story in the world of digital innovation could be just beginning. With this much optimism and energy in the air, Wales might just have the world at its digital feet.

Article written by Hannah Duncan, Founder of Hannah Duncan Investment Content.