NI fintech envoy stresses potential of NI fintech sector

  • Photo: Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, Fintech Envoy for NI, Andrew Jenkins & Angela McGowan, Director of CBI NI

    Andrew Jenkins, the Fintech Envoy for Northern Ireland, has met with and briefed a cross-section of leaders from business membership organisations, banks, fintech companies and local government.

    Envoy Jenkins, who is also the director of Arity which is part of the Allstate Corporation, was appointed by the HM Treasury in September. He has recently outlined the worth of the fintech sector to the NI economy and the potential which exists for further growth.

    The business briefing also heard from the Rt Hon Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell who was visiting the city as part of a series of engagements.

    Fintech is one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy, encompassing innovation in financial services including digital banking, payment technologies and crowd funding platforms.

    40,000 people in Northern Ireland are employed across the financial and professional services with one in four of these employed in technology roles, according to Invest NI.

    Northern Ireland has also been named as the third global fintech location for the future in the 2019/20 fDi league table which includes cities such as Singapore, New York and London. Major international banks, insurers and fintech companies in the region include Allstate, Citi, Liberty IT, PwC, The CME Group, FSCOM and Datactics.

    RELATED: NI recognised as key UK Fintech hub by new NI Fintech Envoy

    Envoy Jenkins highlighted that a number of impediments needed to be addressed if the growth and potential for fintech in Northern Ireland was to be fully realised. This includes focusing on the skills and talent agenda and signposting start-ups to access of finance.

    During this first engagement with business leaders he said his strategy includes further solidifying “Northern Ireland’s place as a fintech centre of excellence” and acknowledging “the huge potential which exists right across the country.”

    Envoy Jenkins addressing business leaders

    He added that “despite being streets ahead of other regions, the fintech sector here has so much more to offer” and commented: “Currently the fintech sector generates revenue of £6.6bn pounds to the UK economy but with the right workforce armed with the necessary skills, the sector’s revenue will rapidly expand. Nurturing this talent is a significant challenge but I am committed to engaging the relevant groups to build and sustain an ecosystem of talent and skills which will allow innovation in the fintech sector to flourish.

    “Another important issue is that of funding and I will be dedicating my time to signposting businesses to the funds and sources of finance which are required to start up, grow and develop. My next step is to bring forward a regional strategy and to engage with the wider fintech sector and business groups to realise the economic benefits and potential associated with the industry here in Northern Ireland.

    “I am also looking forward to hosting the Fintech National Network Symposium in Belfast, in June 2020 which will allow us to further showcase the world-leading fintech sector in Northern Ireland.”

    RELATED: UK's black female FinTech leader Valerie Moran stresses importance of diversity

    Rt Hon Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell also said his message was clear to local firms: “Join me on overseas delegations and join me at international events in the city. I’ll be visiting around 25 countries across six continents in my year, as well as hosting hundreds of global firms in the city looking to the UK for innovation, such as at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in April next year.

    "This kind of collaboration between our two great cities means that we can better harness our fintech strengths, maximise opportunities available to us and strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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