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. Plus there’s plenty of hard work going on in the UK.
But it’s clear that more needs to happen to establish the UK as a world Fintech leader. 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
For a start, 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 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 needs to become world class.
Education and skills
Last year, The Telegraph reported that engineering, computer sciences and business were among the top 10 subject choices for university undergraduates. That's fantastic news. There's also 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? Our standing on the Fintech 100 list suggests not. Introducing 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. We need to regulate the uses of new and emerging technologies. The law is tangled up with disruptive Fintech without taking action to control it. To put it simply, our financial legislation needs a full review.
A revision of financial legislation, which ensures consumers aren’t conned with new technologies and processes, could give the UK Fintech market momentum. A Government nominated supervisor of such legislation would be a worthwhile addition. Someone capable of keeping on top of the fluctuating nature of technology and innovation.
The UK might be an island, separated from the world's marketplace but its outlook needs to widen. Branching out is essential. Without building international relationships within the technology community, we're isolated.
A strong business network needs to form, joining us to the rest of the world. We need to make it known too that we're willing to make an effort. 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 position the UK Fintech and R&D industries closer and more comparably to our competitors in Europe and beyond.