Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – The Home For FinTech

I’ve always been sure that Scotland is a natural home for fintech growth and innovation and my journeys over the last few weeks has reinforced this belief in so many ways.

The home of fintech really came alive for me during the meeting last Friday to discuss the development of the Fife FinTech Academy with Iain Shirlaw, John Mcfarlane, Krystyna Marett and Ann Salt.

Developing the skills for a bright fintech home of the future is crucial and the Academy initiative with an initial focus on financial payments will ensure the Fife region continues to lead the way globally.

You’ll be hearing more details on this following the launch event as a curtain raiser for FinTech Scotland Fortnight in September.

However, in the meantime the fantastic news from the global fintech player Renovite Technologies to expand further is testament to Fife being a key area of Scotland’s fintech home.

Innovation Home

Meeting new and established fintech firms demonstrated that innovation is alive and well in our home. For example, the credentials and track record of Inside Secure were wonderful to hear about when I caught up with Douglas Kinloch and Neal Michie at their Glasgow office one evening.

I’m excited about connecting the Inside Secure team with the fintech payment firms in Fife to take advantage of collaboration opportunities.

Similarly, from our meeting recently with David Eccles from Wallscope we can see potential to drive innovation in the home by making connections with key stakeholders

The value of an innovation led home was very much in abundance when Mickael and I met up with Mark Doherty, Stephen Pollock and Jason at Avaloq yesterday and then had the chance to join their ‘All Hands’ meeting. Fantastic people with a fabulous working environment.

As initial founding partners of FinTech Scotland, Avaloq play a significant role in Scotland and globally and it is exciting working with them to support their growth and people development plans.

During their session, I was asked whether we can measure the real level of innovation taking place in Scorland.

This gave me the opportunity to highlight the ‘innovation audit’ work we have been progressing with the Scottish Government CanDo team along with a couple of other sectors. I’m looking forward to progressing this work with June Love, Joanna McKenzie and the team.

Sharing the exciting innovation happening in our Scotland fintech home is always a privilege and on Wednesday there was the opportunity to do so with Scottish Government Minister Kate Forbes and UK Treasury Minister John Glenn.

Wonderful to hear the broad range of fintech leaders share how they are reinvesting financial services as well as candidly expressed the challenges in driving forward innovation in financial services.

Thank you to all who joined me for the Ministerial visit to Fintech Scotland, you all did the fintech community proud. Big thanks also to Shery, Fiona and Niamh for making everything run so smoothly.

Later that day I ran over Glasgow to join the MBN Solutions and DataLab fabulous event for data scientists to share thoughts on why fintech is a wonderful home to develop a career path in Scotland.

Many thanks to Paul Forrest, Mickael Young, Rob Huggins and their super team, sorry I had to rush off at the end to get back for my daughters 18th birthday!

In a slightly different part of the fintech home, catching up with Suhail Ahmed of Advisory Direct and then later that day with Eleanor Tucker of GangHut at the Product Tank event highlighted to me the power of new collaborations in the fintech home.

Collaboration Home

The subject of collaboration opportunities was very much on the agenda with my catch up with Nucleus Financial chief executive David Fergusson, and of course, chair of FinTech Scotland

David rightly challenged me on whether larger enterprises were genuinely innovating and embracing collaboration opportunities in the market with fintech firms.

There are some terrific examples happening such The ID.Co work with CYBG and the Castlight Financial team with HSBC.

Meeting up with Philip Grant of Lloyds Bank Group and then separately also with Sarah Barry of Sainsbury Bank highlighted that the banking sector is seeing the value in fintech collaboration to strengthen our collective home.

Meeting Colin Carmichael from our strategic partner Sopra Steria allowed us to develop plans to progress this and, furthermore, identify new emerging collaboration opportunities.

For example, my meeting with the Hymans Robertson team John Taylor, Scott Finnie and Barry Smart made it clear that there are fintech collaboration opportunities very much in the pensions and employee benefits space going forward.

Fintech collaboration can go beyond the various financial services sectors and so it was good to meet up last week with Christian Beveridge and Derek Toal of Virgin Media explore cross sector opportunities. Great to hear about their role at the FinTech Summit in September.

For me one of the exemplars of collaboration is JP Morgan, reinforced in my conversation with Douglas of Inside Secure.

So it was a privilege to plays a role in last weeks JP Morgan FinTech Roundtable with a broad spectrum of guests from the asset management sector. Thank you to Stephen Flaherty, Sandy Brodie and the team, much to take on board on how to unlock the collaboration potential in our home.

In this respect, I am delighted to have worked with Scottish Enterprise to welcome the Vivolution team as the FinTech Scotland Network Integrator and into our home to foster the collaboration and support fintech firms in Scotland with growth.

Home of Excellence

Building a home of excellence for fintech firms is a key objective and the expertise of the Vivolution team will support fintech firms with funding and commercial development.

It was good to talk this all through at the FinTech Practitioners Group Meeting recently and it was terrific to have such a great attendance from the community, even if it was a bit of a squeeze!

Thank you to everyone who came along and your valuable contributions and feedback, next main meetings in October will focus on funding sources and options plus a fintech home ‘social’.

Our appreciation to Anneli Ritari-Stewart and the team from our strategic partner Dentsu Aegis for hosting and making us all feel so much at home in Scotland’s epicentre of digital and marketing. And of course, wonderful to see the Whitespace team now part of the Dentsu Aegis family and in the fintech home.

A few days before the Practitioners Forum, we had the latest Open Banking Excellence meet up, great conversation and super to see even more new faces. Thanks again to James Varga for hosting.

Developing the Open Banking Centre of Excellence continues to be a key priority working with the inspiring Gavin Littlejohn plus a core team from the University of Edinburgh. Thanks again Damien, Douglas, Kevin and Triinu Hansen

Really useful meeting with Colin Garland, director of the Competition and Markets Authority on the subject of the centre of excellence strategy and plans, thanks Colin very much appreciated your enthusiasm for this initiative and great to hear about your expansion plans in Scotland.

Similarly, it was tremendously useful to catch up with Simon Thompson, chief executive of the Chartered Bankers Institute who have a key role to play in the emergence of a global open banking centre of excellence. Very much appreciate your insight and engagement Simon, looking forward to collaborating further on a local and international level.

International Home

Another of our key objectives is to embrace the global fintech opportunities for our home here in Scotland and sharing the story to gain interest in what we are doing is something we always grasp.

So, it was brilliant to be given the opportunity to present to some significant Middle east and Far East sovereign fund and institutional fund investors who were being hosted by the University of Edinburgh

Thank you to The ID.Co, Money Dashboard and Sustainably for supporting me with the conversations as well as George Baxter, chief executive of Edinburgh Innovations for including us in the opportunity.

The recent late Friday afternoon meeting with Kent Mackenzie and Chris Brown from our global professional services partner Deloitte got me excited on how we can develop the fintech home on a international stage going forward.

Reinforced this last two weeks with international conversations on our fintech home stretching from as far away as Rhode Island, USA and as near as Ireland. Thank you Paul Snape and David Clarke I look forward to seeing you both during our Fintech Fortnight with your colleagues.

We are delighted that Scottish International Week led by global leader Russell Dalgleish starting 17th September coincides with Fintech Fortnight and we look forward to welcoming many global guests to our fintech home during this time.

A huge thank you to everyone across the community who is contributing to making FinTech Fortnight happen in a few weeks time and the great support from our friends at Visit Scotland.

On the subject of international themes, many congratulations to my global mentor Promilla Caughey on taking up a new role with the Scottish Government, a fantastic career move and so well deserved.

Running for Homes

I’ll be running for homes on Sunday as I take part in the 15 mile urban rush race from South Queensferry to Holyrood for the charity Shelter Scotland.

The Shelter Scotland fight to address the impact of homelessness has always meant a great deal to me and this is my small way of contributing to their great work. Everyone deserves a home that is safe and secure.

This will be a great practice race ahead of my marathon in two weeks time just prior to the official start of FinTech Fortnight on 17thSeptember. Until then!