London tech sector under threat from lack of investment in talent, technology and innovation

Fintech, machine learning and data analytics expected to receive most investment over 2017, but cyber security "urgently" needs investment

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London’s position at the forefront of global finance is being threatened by a lack of investment in talent, technology and innovation, according to a new report from Level39.

The survey of Level39’s 900-strong community found that most think a shortage of talent is the biggest threat to banks and financial institutions in the UK (19%), followed by a lack of investment in research and development (17%) and digital disruption (15%). International competition (15%) was also highlighted as a major risk to the capital’s financial sector.

Financial technology (26%), machine learning (22%) and data analytics (20%) were the three verticals expected to receive the most investment across the tech sector in 2017.

30% of those surveyed said UK banks and institutions urgently need to invest in cyber security in order to “regain a competitive advantage”, yet only 13% thought that it would outperform other verticals for investment this year. Data science (28%) and financial inclusion (17%) were also cited as areas in need of funding.

90% of respondents agreed that if banks work together with London’s tech community to overcome obstacles and invest in these areas, the capital will have an ecosystem capable of “producing a critical mass of globally successful tech start-ups”.

Ben Brabyn, head of Level39, commented: “London is a global financial powerhouse, but its dominance in financial services is under existential threat. Failing to address these billion-dollar problems will send the industry hurtling towards a cliff-edge. The time for spectators is over – banks need to open their chequebooks and invest in the tech startups offering the innovations they need.

“Investment from the world’s largest financial services IT budgets will realise the potential of billion-dollar ideas in fintech, cyber security and financial inclusion. By connecting ambitious individuals in finance with ambitious entrepreneurs, London will send a clear message to the global finance community – this is the home of innovation and billion-dollar opportunities.”

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