The UK is the world’s number one hub for financial services and Fintech. While traditionally London was considered as the world’s foremost banking centre, it has now grown far beyond this scope—it’s not only archaic financial institutions that have made the UK their home, and it’s not only London that matters anymore. With the penetration of internet, and particularly mobile internet, the centre of gravity in the financial services industry has shifted from face-to-face meetings and telephones into online platforms, and the UK is not planning to stay behind.
The UK is incentivising startups
The UK government, which is amidst one of its most crucial moments in the last decade with its faltering Brexit negotiations, is doing everything in its power to remain attractive for overseas entrepreneurs, boasting “one of the lowest tax rates in the G20”. There is also a list of very effective grants for startups that make sure young entrepreneurs are incentivised to engage in their own ventures. The UK realises that at the end of the day, funding British startups will result in a healthier economy that constantly creates employment.
In conjunction with the full-fledged governmental support, there is massive support in the form of financing from the private sector (venture capital). Fintech ventures prove to be very successful because they help clients mitigate costs while streamlining processes that were traditionally complicated with banks. International money transmitter Transferwise has raised $282m just in its last round, and its rival World Remit has raised more than $150m in previous rounds—both are prime examples.
Fintech in the rest of the world
The UK is not alone in putting Fintech in the spotlight. The market is brimming with promise in the US, Europe, Australia and Canada.
In Australia, Fintech is a national priority, and it reflects in recent agreements made with Indonesia and the UAE. It also offers a high variety of grants for young entrepreneurs, and very high levels of interest from venture capital firms. Only recently, one the most prominent VCs in Australia said that “Blockchain is as big as the internet”. Among the top 10 startups in Australia by SmartCompany.com.au, you can find 2 Financial startups and another one focusing on Blockchain energy.
Canada does not fall much behind Australia and the UK. Although it is not traditionally a startup nation, there are consistent and steady VC investments in Fintech, as well as some government grants (although not as diverse and inviting as in the UK or Australia). The thing that makes Canada successful is perhaps how open Canadians are to financial innovation. One of the biggest banks in the country named Tangerine Bank is, in fact, an “online-only” bank. There are no branches nor any need to physically show up at the bank to perform any action. Tangerine Bank has hundreds of thousands of clients, and at least tens of thousands more who use financial products like their credit card.
Potential for India
Although India has some of the most impressive technological workforces in the world, considering the vast size of the country, Fintech is still very heavily underdeveloped. Attracting overseas Fintech startups, as well as providing local entrepreneurs with the education and the financing required to make a dent in the Finance world should be a top priority for the government. There is absolutely no reason for other countries—which are far smaller and less technologically advanced—to be lightyears ahead of India when it comes to Fintech.
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