Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – FinTech Across Scotland
This has been especially evident in the last two weeks as I have had the opportunity to see, hear and discuss the fintech progress in a number of cities and regions, all of which are advancing Scotland’s global ambitions.
Meeting Fraser Edmond, chief executive of the newly formed insurtech enterprise Broker Insights was a fantastic way to start the week and hear how data driven innovation is very much alive in Dundee.
Applying new approaches to the use of data in the traditional world of commercial insurance is already setting Fraser and his team on an exciting path to revolutionise how the sector operates.
Of course, NCR are one of the world leaders in applying new technologies to payments and transactions, something they have been doing in Dundee since the 1940’s!
Mickael and I had a fantastic meeting with the senior team of this very important employer in the area but who are also redesigning the world of payments at a global level.
We are very fortunate to have NCR in the Scottish ecosystem and from our conversations on Monday there is much we can progress together. We have already introduced the NCR team to a couple of new emerging Scottish fintechs to develop collaboration opportunities.
Just down the road from Dundee is the region of Fife, which has a long track record of using new technology in the financial services space to be at the very forefront of innovation.
Meeting up with the very knowledgable Iain Shirlaw, the economic development adviser of Fife Council along with serial entrepreneur Gordon Povey of Trisent and Euan Stillie IT director of Ingenico (another long standing ‘fintech enterprise) made it a fascinating afternoon.
There was much to learn about the creativity being driven from the Fife region and we got particularly excited about bringing the potential opportunities alive with blockchain as a significant game changer in Scotland and in our global reach.
The opportunity to connect up some of these developments with the wider ecosystem would even further demonstrate that fintech can play a key economic role across all of Scotland and wider afield.
I am certainly seeing a thriving ecosystem in Glasgow and there are numerous people and organisations making fintech happen across the City.
This was very much in evidence at the fintech event on Thursday where I had the privilege to share the platform with the brilliant Callum Murray, the founder and CEO of Amiqus ID , a fantastic enterprise leading the way in addressing some of the regulatory friction in the financial sector.
There was much to learn from the comments of the attendees, particularly in respect of the importance education and skills development. A big well done to Steve Chown and the RBS team for putting on a terrific event and to the great sessions by Juliana and Lal of Whitecap Consulting.
Of course, Glasgow is also the home of some very prominent global financial institutions who have a significant base in the City. For example, really enjoyed meeting up with Khalid Rafiq and Robert Keenan of Morgan Stanley to hear how they are embracing this age of innovation and how we can share insights to put Scotland even more on the global fintech stage, especially back in the USA.
Whilst talking of Glasgow, I must mention the University Of Glasgow FinTech Society team who I met at our event on Thursday evening.
Fantastic to hear how the team had grown the Society to over 100 in a short period and being embraced by students from all disciplines and nationalities. Really motivational to hear and it gives me great optimism about our future on the global fintech stage.
A massive thank you to David Fergusson and the terrific team at Nucleus Financial for hosting our first ever Fintech Scotland symposium on Wednesday evening.
The theme was collaboration and the real value of working together came through in the excellent presentations by David along with Michael Roe of Origo Services, both of which demonstrated the huge role they play in fuelling the innovation of the pensions and investment sector.
It was also great to have expertise of David Dalton Brown from TISA along to share his examples of how the combined effort can help fintech enterprises can address the regulatory and policy challenges our sector sometimes faces.
I came away from this inaugural symposium reflecting on the diverse range of people all committed to making fintech a success across all of Scotland.
My thoughts on this were then reinforced the following night at our second symposium, this time with the theme of innovation. Two fantastic businesses driving change in the lending space, Ultimate Finance and Orca Money. From different start points, Ron and Iain were just brilliant in showing how to use technology and innovative engagement to meet customers needs.
This was vividly brought to life by Anneli Ritari-Stewart , the wonderful director of Dentsu Aegis iPropect and Keira from Ultimate Finance who explained the importance of innovative and data-driven marketing to to really focus on meeting customer.
Denstu Aegis team were great hosts for this second event. They also bring some excellent international perspectives into the ecosystem that I believe all fintechs, established and emerging, can learn a great deal from.
There has been a strong international element to the conversations and opportunities wherever I have been since being in role and this bodes well as we seek to help fintechs across Scotland grow their global footprint in working with major global players.
Insightful meetings with Mick James of RGAx, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, and Yvonne Dunn of Pinsent Masons, the well respected European legal authority on open banking, reinforced this to me.
The international dimension was very much on the agenda last Thursday, 8th March, for International Womens Day. I had the privilege to join the inspiring Jackie Waring for the Investing Women Ambition and Growth conference. What a magnificent way to celebrate the importance of inclusion.
After the snow put paid to my first race of 2018 a few weeks back, the Alloa half marathon this Sunday is long anticipated.
I’m far from peak fitness but it will be amazing to be with a couple of thousand runners from across at least twenty different countries on the roads of Clackmannanshire, putting Alloa very much on the international stage.
This will then set me up for the Global Fintech Summit in London with Deloitte on Monday and Tuesday where we’ll be sharing Scotland’s fintech story on the stage. A story I’ll also be sharing with guests from Hong Kong and Singapore later that week when back home in Scotland.
I’ve certainly got lots to say on this global stage about what Scotland can do and is doing in the fast moving fintech world and I’m looking forward to sharing opportunities across other regions of Scotland in the coming months. Until next time.