Posted 19 July 2016
A Chinese innovator has topped the most recent Fintech 100 list. Only 18% of the innovators listed are UK-based, meaning that every other region of the globe is ahead of us. On a positive note, we have some leading innovators based in London, and there’s plenty of hard work going on in the UK.
However, it’s clear that more needs to happen to establish the UK as a world Fintech leader, and there are external forces to consider when looking at what’s holding the UK back. So what’s missing from this equation, and how could we put our island back on the Fintech map?
Business and Government support
To be a world Fintech leader, the UK needs to establish itself as a leader in research and development (R&D). This requires a lot of support – financial and otherwise – from governing organisations. Government grants for this field, and tax breaks for Fintech businesses who invest in R&D would be ideal. This would give the Fintech cause the boost of resources it really needs to become world class.
Education and skills
In a fantastic bit of news, The Telegraph reported last year that engineering, computer sciences and business were among the top ten subject choices for university undergraduates. There's also been a noticeable increase in young people, particularly women, pursuing qualifications and careers in technology and business in recent years.
But does the UK play host to enough experienced and qualified people in these fields? People capable of innovating, building, promoting and selling Fintech and businesses? Our standing on the Fintech 100 list suggests it does not. The introduction of all these skills into the national curriculum could make a subtle but fruitful addition. It's time to set a standard of business and technological knowledge among new generations.
Cybersecurity is a real concern for businesses and the public, and more work is needed to regulate the uses of new and emerging technologies. We're also seeing that the law seems to be getting tangled up with disruptive Fintech without taking any proper actions to control it. To put it simply, our financial legislation needs a full review.
A revision of financial legislation, which aims to ensure consumers aren’t being conned with new technologies and processes, could give the UK Fintech market the momentum that it needs. A Government nominated supervisor of such legislation, who is capable of keeping on top of the fluctuating nature of technology and innovation, would be a worthwhile addition to this scenario.
No matter how isolated it can feel on a little island separated from the rest of the world’s marketplace, the UK’s outlook needs to widen. Branching out is now essential for us. Without building international relationships within the technology community, we're quite isolated. A strong business network needs to form, joining us to the rest of the world and making it known that we're willing to make an effort. We need to get out there to receive investment and interest in our Fintech and R&D industries. It's time to introduce ourselves to our international partners and show them what we can do.
The UK is more than capable of taking its place as a Fintech world leader, but changes must happen first. We need to unite in a commitment to position the UK Fintech and R&D industries closer and more comparably to our competitors in Europe and beyond.