Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – Amazing FinTech Atmosphere

I’ve been very much energized this by the hugely positive atmosphere around the broad range of fintech initiatives and activities across Scotland in this last couple of weeks.

An innovative and ambitious atmosphere fueled by collaborative and inclusive actions that is propelling the fintech activity across the country and globally every day of the week.This terrific atmosphere was very much apparent at the magnificent RBS ‘Future of FinTech’ event and competition on Monday which had everything to make it very special evening.

An inspiring host, Lou Smith, an engaging and insightful leadership panel, Ana Stewart, David Fergusson, Gerry McCusker, Daniel Glazer and Government Minister Kate Forbes, all contributing adding to a real feel good atmosphere.

Then there were the fantastic pitches by Cyborn, Money Matix, Scoop Markets, Trade in Space, Aveni, Soar and Broker Insights, all of whom brought a real innovative edge to the atmosphere

Congratulations to Fraser Edmond with the Broker Insights team and Rob Sampson with the Trade in Space team for being the terrific winners amongst the winners.

A big thank you to the RBS and FWB Park Brown team for a fabulous event bringing alive Scotland’s great fintech examples in a super collaborative atmosphere.

Collaborative Atmosphere

This collaborative atmosphere was in also abundance at the Scottish Financial Services annual dinner event last Thursday in Glasgow with over six hundred in attendance.
A terrific buzz throughout the evening and many congratulations to the Award finalists, Origo, Previse, CYBG plc CopyLab and Barclays, the overall winners for 2018
It was an inspiring evening and wonderful to experience the hugely positive vibe emanating from Jim Pettigrew and Sue Dawe in their speeches which recognized the fintech progress Scotland is making.
A massive thank you to the legendary Graeme Jones the brilliant teams at SFE and EY for a genuinely uplifting occasion.

The collaborative atmosphere was also very much apparent the previous evening at the Fintech Practitioners Group meet up in Edinburgh.
I always come away from these gatherings enthused by the conversations with the brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs from across Scotland’s fintech community.
A collaborative atmosphere fueled by great conversations with a very broad cross section of innovative people such as Stuart Lunn from LendingCrowd, Anthony Rafferty of Origo, Joe Sluys from Square Book and Catherine Bell of Lightbox Reward as well as Hannah and Peter from wallet Services, amongst many others.

I have often referenced the fact that the collaborative atmosphere and opportunities extend beyond the financial world and this last fortnight has given further evidence of this.
For example, on Tuesday it was the latest LawScotTech Board meeting expertly chaired by Paul Mosson.
I very much value the opportunity to contribute to this valuable initiative and the far reaching impact it will have in Scotland and how I can share the collaborative learnings from the fintech sector.

Similarly but in a different field, it was very exciting to discuss the progression of potential Scottish Government and fintech collaboration opportunities with Trish Quinn, Hugh Wallace and team on Thursday this week.

On a broader vein, I was delighted last week to hear the official announcement that I have been invited to be a member of the Regional Enterprise Council to help shape the significant Edinburgh and Regions City Deal investment.
I’m looking forward to joining the highly respected leaders on the Council and share how fintech and financial services sector can continue to play a major cross sector innovation role in driving inclusive growth.

Innovative Atmosphere

There are many exciting initiatives across the country that are further enhancing the innovative atmosphere.
Earlier this week it was valuable to have time with Morgan Gillies from the European Institute of Innovation Technology (EIT) about setting up a Scotland digital satellite office with a focus on fintech.
This will join the other existing ten satellite offices spread across the European Union but will be the very first with a fintech focus reflecting the exciting innovative atmosphere being created in Scotland’s financial services.

It was good to catch up with Colin Tate at Sainsbury’s Bank to share the initial plans which will have a major impact on growing talent and investing in fintech innovations.
University of Edinburgh will work with us on this and it will be an opportunity to connect into some of the ground breaking technology developments taking place on the campus.

For example, it was very productive to meet up with Professor Aggelos Kiayias and team on Tuesday evening to consider the application of their blockchain developments in fintech.

The atmosphere for innovation was very captivating when listening to the new exciting fintech entrepreneur Nick Panteli of Attollo and very much looking forward to see the team develop in the coming months.
Nick is based at the RBS accelerator as with a number of exciting fintechs in the community such as Nexves and Money Matix.

Separately in the previous week it was great to catch up with Adam Pollock and Robert Walker on connecting into the fintech ecosystem to develop mutual innovation opportunities.

A key element of building on this innovative atmosphere is to help improve the connectivity between investors and innovators in fintech.
On this, Nicola and I had a very constructive meeting with Kerry Sharp of the Scottish Investment Bank.
We are working on an action plan with our colleagues at Scottish Enterprise and Vivolution to make a step to ensure funding is not a constraint to fintech innovation in Scotland

The innovative atmosphere was very palpable at the fantastic official launch of the latest CivTech accelerator programme and listen to the truly inspiring innovative firms who are part of the latest cohort, many of whom will shape future fintech developments.
Such as Douglas Trainer from Diddo and David Alexander from Mydex amongst several others, all of whom value the inspirational leadership from Alexander Holt in making CivTech such a massively important programme in Scotland and on the global stage.
CivTech is going from strength to strength and with Alexander and brilliant colleagues such as Vicky Brock there are some exciting opportunities to combine with fintech to drive inclusive growth.

Inclusive Atmosphere

Developing an inclusive atmosphere through investment was the focus of the Ethical Finance Forum conference last week.
It was a pleasure to share the conference stage with global leaders Gail Hurley from United Nations, Modupe Ladipo from Prosperar and Farrukh Khan of Acumen.
Thank you to Chris Tait, Hugh Wheelan and colleagues for bringing such an important event to Scotland and giving further recognition to the fact that Scotland is very much international in its outlook on all things fintech, finance and wider economy.

Later in the week Marloes Nicholls and the Financial Innovation Lab team joined us in Edinburgh for a productive workshop with key stakeholders on the subject of fintech and social inclusion opportunities. Great examples from Georgia Stewart of Tumelo and Jenni Inglis of Mydex.

On Monday I was able to talk more on this theme of customer inclusion and the role of fintech with the University of Edinburgh business school students.
Many thanks to the fabulous Professor Tina Harrison for inviting me to share the examples over the two hours on how fintech can reinvent how consumers engage in financial services.

Thursday evening, Mickael I made our way up to Dundee to present to over a hundred students on how fintech is helping financial services become a more inclusive sector for careers.
We were joined by the brilliant Derek Smith of Lloyds Bank, Gareth Stubbs of Insureapps and Douggie from RBS who all did a fantastic job in sharing how fintech is creating new opportunities for all.
Big thanks to Deji Alonge the President of the Social Science students at Dundee for organising and leading the event with the Business Society and the investment society. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to returning, next time with the award winning Broker Insights as well.
It was a super journey home on the train with Derek and Mickael and we treated ourselves to a small gin and tonic to savour the atmosphere of Scotrail jounrey back south to Edinburgh!

The growing talent base from the range of universities is a significant strength for Scotland especially with the encouragement for more people to come to Scotland to study and work.
This was a key theme of my conversation with Keith Robson last week in discussing how we work with M&G Prudential to develop the people skills and inclusion for a fintech future. Looking forward to taking this forward with the exciting plans the team have.

Of course our role extends beyond universities to work collaboratively with other key stakeholders to drive the diversity agenda.
For example, great to have the coffee interview with Aileen O’Hagan of Equate Scotland on the practical steps we can take to drive inclusion

On a broader level, it was really wonderful to catch up this week with the inspiring Kelly McIntyre of PetroStars and share our passion for making things happen through inclusion in the wider economy with fintech playing a key role.

Running Atmosphere

One of special things about participating in running races around Scotland is the terrific atmosphere at every event, whatever the weather.
This was certainly the case last Sunday for the Jedburgh half marathon where we started with bright sunshine for ten minutes and then a hail storm for the remaining eighty minutes!
However, this did not dampen the uplifting spirit amongst the runners and motivational marshals who were just fantastic.
I finished with a gallop and that means I feel ready for a marathon in two weeks time!! Until then..