Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – Collaboration, the Fintech Fuel…

This last two weeks has further shown me how collaboration across a range of people and organisations is helping to fuel a vibrant and growing fintech environment in Scotland

Excitingly, this collaboration goes well beyond the traditional boundaries of financial services and embraces a diversity of people who share a common purpose in driving progressive change.

For example, the opportunity to share my thoughts at the recent Digital Cities event, expertly organised by FutureScot, was ideal in highlighting how fintech innovation can support public sector digital objectives.

This conversation continued when I met up with the brilliant Alexander Holt to talk about the very successful CivTech initiative, with stage three of the programme about to be announced in early June.

We both share a strong view that collaboration provides a real opportunity for fintech enterprises to further develop financial services and public sector innovation by working in unison focused on good social outcomes.

City Collaboration

Innovative collaboration also requires active engagement with a broad range of stakeholders across our cities and it was good to talk through data driven innovation ideas with Liz Mcareavey at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce a few days ago.

This citywide collaboration was also very much in evident in the discussions at the University of Glasgow and Chamber of Commerce event on Wednesday on the ambitious plans for the ‘Innovation District’ over the next few years.

Such collaborative partnership between public, private and the academic sector will provide further impetus for the City being a major innovation hub and I look forward to exploring further how fintech enterprises can participate in this significant development.

Last week, I enjoyed the conversation with Mark Napier of JP Morgan on how City wide fintech collaboration can drive innovation as well as progress our mutual inclusion and diversity objectives. I’m looking forward to sharing more at the Glasgow Economic Leadership financial services meeting next month.

The collaboration ‘fuel’ was also very much in evident when I caught up with Professor Jim Macdonald, Adrian Gillespie and Tim Bedford of Strathclyde University as we explored how fintech could embrace opportunities of working within their world leading Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow City centre.

Very excited about the opportunity of fintech playing a key role in enabling this citywide collaboration with Scotland’s world leading universities playing a central role and working with international thought leaders such as Danial Broby, who shared with me the latest thoughts on blockchain.

Talking with Maggie Craig and Alan Drainer at the Financial Conduct Authority this week, the opportunity to build even closer collaboration with the regulator as we develop the university led citywide initiatives will further enhance the innovation environments we can create in Scotland.

Creative Collaboration

Making collaboration work in practice requires creative and courageous interaction and this was certainly brought alive to me when meeting with John McHugh and `Alison McHugh of Gigly at the end of the day in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Their businesses Gigly and Adlantic are such amazing enterprises, focused on creatively addressing people’s financial needs through proactive collaboration and it was a privilege to hear the wisdom and passion of two such inspiring leadership role models.

Hugely motivating, massive thank you John and Alison for bringing alive how fintech is making a difference (and for the tips on being a better swimmer!)

My meeting last week at Codebase in Edinburgh with the engaging Trish McClay, Simon Lewis, Graham Cambridge, the Barclays team working with fintech people, was all about creative collaboration in action with great new firms such as Mark for Market. Thanks Andy Cunningham for arranging such a super session.

The role of creative collaboration in a highly regulated sector such as financial services is key to unlocking the opportunities going forward and I shared some thoughts on this with the annual gathering of the Group Internal Audit team at RBS.

Very much appreciated the engagement from the session and thanks to Martin Ambrose for inviting me to share how risk management, audit and fintech innovation can positively work together in a collaborative environment.

Creative collaboration also very much applies to the subject of cyber security and it was valuable to have distinguished guests at the joint Cyber Scotland and FinTech Scotland dinner on Thursday evening.

Cyber and fintech are areas where Scotland has the potential to excel and it a terrific roundtable conversation with Minister Derek MacKay and a cross section of investor community on how we can maximize the opportunity. Thank you to the fabulous Evelyn Walker and Martin Beaton as well as BTO for organising a splendid evening with an abundance of collaboration spirit and ambition.

Working with our recently announced strategic partners, Deloitte, Pinsent Masons, Dentsu Aegis and Sopra Steria, we are looking forward to progressing a number of other strategic fintech themes that Scotland can showcase around the world through global collaboration.

In this respect, I am very fortunate to be mentored by Promilla Caughey, who provides such fresh insightful counsel on navigating the international opportunities and global contacts in this changing world. Great to see you again this week Promilla and thank you for joining me on my meeting engagements in Glasgow.

Global Collaboration

Global collaboration has always been a key objective of FinTech Scotland and so it was great to be invited by SDI colleagues Racquel Largo Martinez and Laurent Melin to join a presentation in Barcleona for senior people from the banking community.

There was much interest in how we are developing Scotland’s fintech ecosystem. albeit, my participation was via Skype as much as I would have loved a visit to the beautiful European city at this time of year!

The presentation highlighted to me once again how the fintech community in Scotland is very much taking a leadership role when it comes to Scotland wide and global collaboration.

Further reinforced by Mickael and Graham Hatton of SDI, who did a fabulous job along with the engaging Myles Stephenson of fintech firm Modulr in sharing with a big London audience at Scotland House on how we are making a mark in the global fintech scene.

This is also very much the thinking behind the Open Banking Centre of Excellence developments and it was good to agree some constructive steps on how to progress with Gavin Littlejohn and Kevin Collins, from the University of Edinburgh Data Innovation Programme last week.

The recent announcement by Phil Grady and Martin Leonard at the brilliant Castlight Financial on their collaboration with global banking player HSBC is a really great example of the valuable work being driven forward by Scotland’s fintech enterprises and leaders. Fantastic news.

Of course, the global collaboration goes beyond open banking and a terrific example last week was the University of Edinburgh Business School event on Social Finance and Finance Technology.

I was delighted to share thoughts on how fintech in Scotland can contribute to the broader social finance agenda along with some excellent speakers from around the world.

Well done to Marcel Lukas, Augosto Rocha and Arman Eshraghi for a very innovative and collaborative event, possibly the first of its kind in the world, again Scotland leading the way.

Of course, my fortnightly blog can only skim the surface of the scale of fintech activity taking place across Scotland. Therefore, I delighted to see the comprehensive fintech supplement from Scotsman newspaper appear this week bringing alive the unique opportunity we have to make a difference in Scotland and globally

Very much appreciate the work by David Lee and Ian Davey in bringing alive Scotland’s fintech opportunities and community. Another brilliant example of the value in engaging collaboration.

Marathon Collaboration

As my mind turns to my marathon in Edinburgh this weekend, it strikes me how my running success is also dependent upon great community collaboration.

Yes, running is very much an individual sporting activity focused on physical and mental endurance but the ability to successfully complete the 26.2 miles also relies on the extensive collaboration of the race organisers, fabulous volunteers, sponsors, cheering supporters, fellow runners and, of course, family

For me, a marathon is as much about an inclusive community and collective collaboration as it is about personal endeavour and performance. This is also so true of what we are trying to achieve with fintech in Scotland.

Give me a ‘fintech cheer’ if you are out and about on Sunday morning and see me as I join the many thousands of runners enjoying every minute of this super Edinburgh marathon race, it may just be the extra bit of encouragement I need at that point!

Until next time.