Belfast climbs 51 places in new global fintech report

  • Belfast has risen 51 places to 134th on the global league table of financial technology companies, according to a recent report from findexable.

    The global fintech index algorithmically ranks cities and countries around the world according to the number and success of their fintech firms. 

    The 2021 report also ranks Belfast 54th in the Europe rankings.

    The news comes as the fintech industry worldwide is booming. Mastercard data shows that in the first quarter of 2020, there was a larger shift to digital payments in 10 weeks than there had seen in the preceding five years.

    This speaks to one of the report’s larger themes, which is that fintech is bridging gaps in consumers’ lives, many of them revealed or made more urgent by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    London remains the second most active fintech city in the world, behind San Francisco, but findexable's findings show that the fintech space in the rest of the UK is expanding rapidly.

    However, there is a significant gap between major players and the next generation of innovators in terms of funding that needs to be addressed to keep the industry moving forward with new ideas. There also remains a gap between the customers of fintechs – women are often early adopters, while emerging markets are sources of giant user bases – and the people leading them.

    The 2021 Global Fintech Rankings

    The 2021 Global Fintech Rankings, powered by Mambu, identifies emerging hubs, fintech companies and trends.

    The Index algorithm ranks the fintech ecosystems of more than 264 cities across 83 countries incorporating data from findexable’s own records and collated and verified by its Global Partnership Network, including Crunchbase, StartupBlink, SEMrush and 60+ fintech associations globally. 

    The index was first published in 2019 and has seen a huge uptake by the fintech industry.  

    RELATED: Belfast ranked third Fintech location of the future for 2019/20

    The latest report showed huge growth in the number of countries and cities being listed: more than 50 new cities and 20 new countries joined the index for being home to at least 10 fintechs.

    It also found that even during a year of significant economic downturn and serious disruption, fintech companies were being launched and major investment was being made in the sector, more than doubling the value of fintech unicorns as a group from $199bn to $440bn.

    “The UK continues to be a major player in fintech, but unlike the larger finance sector it is moving away from being largely London-based," findexable’s founder and CEO, Simon Hardie explained. 

    "We are seeing how investment in creating technology hubs in secondary cities is translating into the creation of thriving communities and viable companies. We have even seen fintech companies emerge in towns like Macclesfield, Ashford, Caerphilly and Inverness.”

    He adds: “It is part of a greater push toward bridging the gap between companies and their customers that we have identified happening across the world since the annual report started in 2019, but which has accelerated in the last 12 months as a result of the pandemic driving more people to use digital finance.

    "Where there are more customers there will be more businesses, and in an innovation-driven sector like fintech that translates to greater chances for new ideas that can shake up the entire industry.”

    RELATED: Belfast ranked in top 10 Tech Cities of the Future

    For the purpose of the Index algorithm, fintech is any business that applies a technologically enabled innovation specifically geared for the provision or distribution of financial services.

    The country and city rankings were calculated from a total score comprised of a combination of three metrics:

    • Quantity – Size of fintech ecosystem and supporting structures – number of fintechs, fintech hubs, co-working spaces, accelerators, global influencers and population (countries only)
    • Quality – Impact/performance – size and growth of fintechs (e.g. number of unicorns), investment, events, value generation, international collaboration, website ranking
    • Environment – ease of doing business, critical mass, regulatory environment – regulatory interventions to improve competitive environment, incentives for start-ups, internet censorship, payment portals, fintech courses.

    To learn more and download a copy of the report, visit:

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