Is London the world’s most attractive destination for fintech companies?

Seven Hills survey reports capital is showing fast-growth potential in the fintech sector alongside Edinburgh and Manchester

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More than three quarters of London’s financial technology (fintech) community believe the city is a better incubator than global tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, according to a new survey of technology influencers conducted by PR and campaign agency Seven Hills.

75.6% of those surveyed considered London to be the world’s “fintech hotspot”,  ahead of U.S cities San Francisco (17.5%) and New York (4%).

Respondents believed a combination of the city’s existing financial services infrastructure (81%), access to talent (72%) and geographical position (68%) was giving London’s fintech scene an edge over the competition – with 39% expecting mobile payments to be the fastest growing sector, followed by peer-to-peer lending at 26%.

However it wasn’t just London that was reported to be a fintech hub, 37% of respondents believed Edinburgh was a major contender, with 26% arguing the case for Manchester and 7% for Leeds and Birmingham.

With recent research estimating that the sector is currently worth £20bn to the UK annually, the country’s emerging status as a global fintech leader looks promising.

The research was unveiled at FINTECH 2015 in Canary Wharf, a summit event which brought together tech start-up founders, investors and fintech experts to discuss opportunities and challenges to the rapidly growing sector over the coming year.

Hosted by Seven Hills in association with Tech London Advocates and Level39, the event saw keynote speeches from several industry leaders including “Silicon Roundabout’s reigning queen” Eileen Burbidge; angel investor and co-founder of Passion Capital, and MarketInvoice co-founder and Growing Business Young Gun Anil Stocker.

Tech London Advocates’ Russ Shaw also hosted a panel discussion on the outlook for London’s fintech scene; Claire Cockerton from Innovate Finance said that London’s fintech scene was growing due to “policy makers, great infrastructure, and the increase in incredible innovators”.

Seven Hills co-founder, Nick Giles, commented: “It has become clear that fintech is a sector where London and the UK can not only thrive, but genuinely lead the world.

“We have the talent pool, the infrastructure and the investment base to scale global fintech businesses. Last year, the opportunity around fintech became very clear and we are bringing together some of the industry’s leading players to map out how momentum can be sustained in 2015.”

Speaking at the FINTECH 2015 event, Burbidge said:

“More and more people are coming to London to work in the fintech space – it’s not just a PR messaging line. Tech people understand that this is where you need to be, take Nutmeg for instance they initially raised funding in America but came to London as the regulatory environment is stronger. Estimates say there’s now around 150,000 people in London working in fintech-related services.

“[That being said] we have to keep up the talent pool; immigration is a difficult subject in the run up to a general election but it needs to be addressed. We also need more success stories […] to wave the flag for London’s fintech industry.

“I’m very excited about London’s fintech scene, I’ve been very bullish in the past and said it was recession proof.”

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