I believe for Scotland to become a true world leader in fintech requires three ingredients: funding for fintechs, world-class expertise getting attracted and retained and a pinch of luck.
Access to funding to truly scale great companies is crucial to disrupt and grow the ecosystem here in Scotland. Fixing a broken financial services industry doesn’t come cheap.
In terms of expertise we’re well placed already to benefit from people who have decades of experience and know-how from within the incumbent financial institutions.
Encouraging collaboration between them and technological innovators is going to attract more world-class expertise.
Decisions made at a UK or EU level are largely out of our control, the results of Brexit negotiations and potential second independence referendum create uncertainty.
A little bit of luck would be helpful. Although one thing is for sure regardless of whatever is thrown at us, Scotland’s fintech innovators are not going to sit around complaining. They are too busy innovating.
Fintech provides a global opportunity but if Scotland is to grab a share of that we need to move quickly.
Potential fintech start-ups must bring together deep domain knowledge, technology and marketing expertise plus a clear understanding of the international market opportunities they can address.
Scottish businesses like Nucleus and ShareIn are already disrupting traditional markets and it would be great to see a host of new companies coming through.
We have one of the best start-up ecosystems in Europe, with access to smart, skilled people.
Creating dedicated fintech collaboration space and venture funding would help create a clear focus, but we also need to concentrate on innovation, encouraging people to think differently and challenge existing business models.
Opportunities exist both in simplifying traditional financial services, providing a range of apps that users can then bring together to suit their own financial requirements, and also in providing new ways of securely handling very complex, highly regulated areas by harnessing the power of data science, and advanced software technologies.
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