Scotland, Ireland and fintech – the importance of working together
This blog has been written by David Clarke, Policy Director and Founder at Scottish-Irish Finance Initiative.
Fintech is a strategically important industry and can contribute hugely to the development of our native industrial and business environment. Most promising is the development of new companies and most importantly new high value jobs. It is also vital to remember that fintech can be a disrupter and can, and should, create efficiencies that may make some existing roles redundant. With this in mind it’s very important to create the right public policy for the development of the sector.
In order to ensure that the balance of new roles and specialisations works in our favour we need to be certain that we have first mover advantage and scale. The Scottish Government has quite rightly taken a proactive step in encouraging the growth of fintech, most notably with the establishment of Fintech Scotland, to coordinate the activities of the policy makers and the industry to ensure we take maximum advantage at this pivotal growth time for the sector.
But why stop at Scotland’s borders? Those of us that support the Scottish Irish Finance Initiative (our raison d’être couldn’t be more clear – to encourage job and industry growth through cooperation) believe there are huge advantages from sharing expertise and effectively doubling the industry hinterland by encouraging the fintech sectors in both locations to work more closely together.
The combination of expertise, which can be led by both universities and businesses, can of itself helps spawn the development of new technologies and new solutions. We are also strongly of the opinion that by businesses looking further afield (but not that far – a 40 minute flight that’s shorter and easier than any trip down to London!) they can tap potential clients and resources that otherwise would not be available.
Ireland’s existing expertise as one of Europe’s top two fund administration and servicing centres, home to many of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, offers a wealth of opportunity for Scottish fintech companies. Likewise the significant fund management and administration in Scotland extends the potential for Irish businesses.
And at a time when others are putting up trade borders, we reckon that this kind of cooperation sends out a very positive message to the rest of the world and to the large financial institutions that we need to engage with in order to grow our domestic industries.