Despite Brexit: London Remains Top European Destination for Fintech

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: City workers walk past the Lloyds building in the financial district, also known as the Square Mile, on January 20, 2017 in London, England. Following the announcement by Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May that Britain will leave the single market, financial organisations such as UBS …
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The UK remains Europe number-one fintech hub in Europe, coming second only to San Francisco, the home of Silicon Valley.

Despite Project Fear predictions that the United Kingdom leaving the European Union would damage business and the British economy, the latest Global Fintech Rankings has put London as the top city in Europe for fintech (financial technology).

According to the rankings compiled by Findexable and reported by City A.M., the UK leaving the bloc and the Chinese coronavirus pandemic have had little impact on the status of the capital for fintech startups.

Other cities across the UK were listed on the ranking, including Manchester at 34 (up 19 places) and Cambridge at 38 (leaping up 55 positions), with researchers also predicting growth in Birmingham and noting the presence of fintechs in Brighton and other ‘secondary’ hubs outside of London.

Findexable’s CEO Simon Hardie remarked on the diversity of cities — including in former industrial heartlands and deprived cities — becoming hubs for fintech services: “The UK continues to be a major player in fintech, but unlike the larger finance sector it is moving away from being largely London-based.”

“We have even seen fintech companies emerge in towns like Macclesfield, Ashford, Caerphilly and Inverness,” Mr Hardy told City A.M.

The report was published on Wednesday, June 23rd, on the fifth anniversary of Britons voting 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the European Union. Brexit leader Nigel Farage said of the anniversary: “Five years ago today the British people rejected the establishment and voted for independence. It should become a national holiday, our Independence Day.”

Technology is not the only industry to see a boost post-Brexit, with Nissan stating in January, days after the UK finally left all of the EU’s institutions, that it was “satisfied” with the UK-EU trade deal.

Nissan’s UK Managing Director Andrew Humberstone also doubled down on the Japanese company’s commitment to manufacturing cars, such as the Juke, the electric Leaf, and Qashqai, in Sunderland, England.

Reports from last month claimed that Nissan is in talks to build a gigafactory (a plant that builds electric car batteries) in the UK. Reports from the Financial Times at the time claimed Nissan wanted the UK to be the main electric producer outside of Japan.

While the company would not confirm reports, it pointed to Sunderland as an important hub for producing electric cars.

In February, reports revealed that some 1,000 financial firms based in the European Union were planning to open offices in the UK for the first time, which signals that European financial services firms “recognise London’s potency as a global financial centre and want to be able to conduct business here”, according to Mike Johnson, a managing consultant at the financial consultancy firm Bovill.

That same month, the  Schroders’ Global Cities Index revealed that London had risen from second to the top city in the world in which to invest. Schroders’ portfolio manager Hugo Machin said at the time that his company “weren’t surprised to see London regain first place in the Index” and that while Brexit had generated some uncertainty, London’s “underlying fundamentals remain attractive to investors”.


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