Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – FinTech Momentum and More
This fortnight has further reinforced the massive momentum behind the plethora of fintech initiatives across Scotland and wearing my running shoes has been essential to keep up with the pace!
What is especially exciting about this momentum is the diversity of participants engaging in the fintech opportunity, all embracing our mission of making a better world for all through financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion.
For example, I was very much energised on meeting David Duffy, chief executive of Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank Group last week, hearing how a major financial institution was very much pioneering to embrace the fintech momentum.
Key to this is the open and progressive way in which the CYBG leadership engage with smaller entrepreneurial enterprises to ensure effective collaboration, fueling new innovation for the Bank.
This collaborative momentum was also very much in evidence at the Baillie Gifford Fintech Event on Wednesday, held at the impressive new Tynecastle Park.
Anurag Agrawal, Adrian Fern and the team put together an excellent programme bringing together the expertise of Baillie Gifford with a range of entrepreneurs from the Scottish fintech community to share insights and mutual opportunities.
Importantly this collaboration extended to involving other key partners on the day such as DataLab, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Business Network and Scotland IS.
It was super to share the stage with Keith Phillips from the Investment Association and hear about their exciting fintech accelerator initiative, Velocity, which we will be collaborating with the team on to link in the Scottish fintech community.
On a broader level, it was great to demonstrate the collaborative momentum with the announcement of Prudential as a strategic partner to Fintech Scotland.
David Macmillan, the managing director for the wealth solutions division, has significant international experience in fintech innovation in the investment and pensions sector and we are looking forward to engaging his innovative team with the fintech community.
Building on the collaborative momentum was very much key to the meetings with the HSBC team led by Colin Halpin who is brilliantly leading inspiring collaboration initiatives in respect of future skills and education, all are imperative to fintech longer term success.
On the subject of skills, it was very poignant to have an advance start to FinTech Fortnight on Thursday in the Kingdom of Fife with the launch of the FinTech Skills Academy.
The community led momentum behind setting up the Fife FinTech Skills Consortium to develop the skills base is really impressive and it was a massive privilege to be at the event hosted by Paywizard in Kirkaldy.
Very much inspired by the people leadership by Jim Tomaney and Jamie of Renovite Technologies as well as Iain Shirlaw and Krystyna Marett to making this happen. Very much an initiative we hope to build upon.
It was great to share thoughts with the Fife fintech community on how we can build on this momentum and further reinforce the region as a leading driving force of innovation working with Fife College and Fife Council.
I must admit it was a bit of a rush over the bridge to Kirkaldy on Thursday as I was speaking at the Inspiring Futures annual Scottish conference beforehand in Edinburgh. This tough was no dress rehearsal!
Thank you to Anna Halliday and the team for inviting me to share with their professional education audience of teachers and career advisers on how the world of fintech was relevant to everybody and the importance diversity of skills the sector needed to thrive in the future.
Hopefully, one day, maybe some of the young people they are guiding on their career journeys will join a fintech skills academy or firm so we can maintain the momentum of innovation across Scotland
Importantly, the focus of the people momentum is also on diversity, for example in progressing a much better gender balance in the skills such as technology that are key to the future of fintech.
So it was fantastic to attend the Women in STEM event last week at Codebase, expertly organized by Lisa Thomson and the PurposeHR team. Terrific to hear from Marcus Corner on how the practical steps the fintech firm Modulr are putting this at the forefront of their people development.
This is also a key strategic theme I very much look forward to further working with Aileen O’Hagan and the Equate Scotland team on to ensure there is continuing momentum behind the question of gender diversity in fintech and broader financial services.
At a strategic level there are a number of initiatives which are gaining momentum across the fintech community.
For example, it was terrific to catch up on Monday with Anthony Rafferty, Ken May, Michael Roe and Iain Muir at Origo on their brilliant leadership in respect of the high profile pensions dashboard initiative.
A challenging but hugely valuable strategic project which will have a direct impact on millions of people in the future as well as importantly playing a key linkage to the open banking developments.
Open banking continues to be a strategic priority and great to be working with Andy Maciver and Gavin Littlejohn in crafting the market positioning for this hugely significant development.
It was also invaluable as always to get the insightful strategic feedback and thoughts from Ian Mckenna of FTRC last week in London on this whole area and share our mutual enthusiasm on how open banking presents a massive opportunity to reinvent financial services.
Infact, it goes beyond financial services and meeting with Lucinda Rivers and Daniel from UNICEF reinforced to me the broader opportunities of strategic collaboration for fintech.
Executing strategic opportunities with Scotland’s fintech community was top of the agenda in meeting Myron Hrycyk and Colin Carmichael of Sopra Steria in London and I am excited about how we can accelerate the strategic momentum working with the University of Edinburgh.
This will be further complemented by of our recently announced academic and industry fintech initiative with the University of Edinburgh being planned for November which will play a key role in driving forward the strategic fintech momentum.
The strategic momentum also extends to working across sectors to develop broader innovation opportunities in Scotland and it was great to continue this conversation with Trish Quinn, Hugh Wallace, Sarah Thomson, Ian Spencer and Promilla Caughey from their respective Scottish Government teams
The strategic opportunities on a global scale are also very important to our ambitions and in this respect I have very much valued the engagement of the Deloitte team of Kent Mackenzie, Chris Brown, Daniel Cheddie and Noornet Singh. Excited about we further build Scotland’s fintech visibility on the world fintech stage.
The momentum behind Scotland’s fintech visibility is certainly growing and it was fabulous to see a number of people from fintech community profiled on BBC Scotland News this week with its special news item on the fintech momentum in Scotland.
Terrific TV interview pieces with Steve Tigar of Money Dashboard, John McHugh of Gigly and Tynah Matembe of Money Matix, huge pride in how their fintech innovation was shared across the national audience.
The Money Matix also had the opportunity to showcase on the big stage at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh where their fintech innovation received a wonderful response.
Congratulation also to Loral and the team for moving into your new home in Leith, it has been wonderful have you all live with us this last month inside our FinTech Scotland home. We miss you already.
On an academic level this visible momentum is going to continue with the launch of the very first Journal on Financial Technology and it was great to catch up this week with Jamie Gabbay from Heriot-Watt who is leading on this, more to come on this soon.
I am planning to take all this momentum into my running this weekend with a marathon race in Lancaster although as I write this blog I am not sure if that is now going to be realistic!
I’ve been hit with a bug this last week and I am wondering whether I can do the 26.2 miles justice or whether I should defer to another race in a few weeks time!!
Some family time on Friday night will allow me to make a decision. What I do know is that I will need to be ready to join the fantastic fintech community and friends across Scotland on Monday for the start of FinTech Fortnight.
Absolutely amazing the programme of events and activities out together by everyone plus so pleased we are able to welcome so many international guests from all parts of the globe during the two weeks.
I hope to see as many of you as possible over this next fortnight and thank you again for making this all happen.