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FinTech envoys for Scotland appointed to help grow the sector

The new envoys will look to build regional and national FinTech networks to help Scotland take advantage of the UK FinTech boom.

On a visit to Edinburgh yesterday (8 December 2016), the Economic Secretary to the Treasury announced that David Ferguson, CEO of Nucleus, and Louise Smith, Head of Design in Personal and Business Banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, have been appointed as the government’s new FinTech envoys for Scotland.

FinTech is one of the highest growing parts of the UK economy, contributing £6.6 billion to GDP in 2015 and employing over 61,000 people. It encompasses innovation in financial services including e-banking, payment technologies, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, digital currencies like bitcoin, and ‘robo’ advice – automated investment advice delivered using algorithms.

Scotland has a number of large FinTech firms, such as Nucleus, LendingCrowd, The ID Company and Float, and introducing two FinTech envoys will help to build a broader, supportive ecosystem that will support the overall growth of the sector.

As the founder of Scotland’s most successful FinTech company and the executive with the knowledge of how banks undertake digital transformation, David Ferguson and Louise Smith are well placed to propel Scotland’s ecosystem in to its next phase.

Scotland’s FinTech sector is brimming with commercial opportunity. After London, Scotland turns out the most FinTech related graduates in the UK- 12% of the annual pool of 97,000 graduates.

Edinburgh University is the largest informatics school in Europe and 35 per cent of all technology spin-out companies in the UK come from Scotland’s educational institutions.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby said:

I’m delighted that David and Louise have agreed to become the government’s FinTech envoys for Scotland. Their in-depth knowledge of the industry and excellent reputations make them the right people to drive forward positive change and allow Scottish FinTech to flourish.

David Ferguson, CEO of Nucleus, said:

It is a great privilege to have been picked to help support the continued growth of FinTech in the UK. Over 10 years ago we embarked on our mission to challenge the established industry. With technology and transparency at the heart of our thinking, we’ve been fortunate enough to become a successful and profitable player in what we now call FinTech.

One of the hardest things to get right is balancing the responsibilities of looking after people’s money with the agility of the tech sector while also making money and I’m very excited to see how we can help others strike the right balance over the coming years.

Louise Smith, Head of Design in Personal and Business Banking at RBS, said:

I’m honoured to take on the joint role of envoy for Scottish FinTech with David and incredibly excited about developing Scotland as a FinTech Centre of Excellence.

I’ve been involved with FinTech and Digital related activities for over 10 years and more recently with specific focus here in Scotland. I have seen first-hand the great work that it has achieved in putting Scotland on the global technology map, we have such a vibrant and talented community who are working on the very latest ideas, games, apps, systems and design.

Graeme Jones, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said:

There is huge potential for growth in Scotland’s FinTech sector and a number of exciting developments taking place. David and Louise work at the heart of FinTech in Scotland and have the expertise, drive and commitment to provide leadership and make the connections needed for the development of the sector throughout the UK.

On his first trip to Edinburgh, Simon Kirby, the Economic Secretary, visited Nucleus to sign the terms of reference with the new FinTech envoys and discuss the needs of the Scottish FinTech industry going forward.

While in Edinburgh, the Economic Secretary also attended a roundtable hosted by Scottish Financial Enterprise, the representative body for Scotland’s financial services industry. The Minister used the roundtable as an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities of leaving the EU with Scottish business leaders; as well as reiterating the importance of working together as one United Kingdom.

Lord Dunlop, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office will also join the roundtable.

Simon Kirby said:

The financial services sector in Scotland has gone from strength to strength and I’m delighted to be here in Edinburgh meeting some of the people driving this success.

Listening closely to the views of Scottish financial services on the potential impact and opportunities offered by us leaving the EU, is very important to the UK government.

Our financial services sector makes a crucial contribution to our economy and together we will work hard to ensure it continues as the hub for both Europe and the rest of the world.

During the trip, the Minister also meet David Duffy, CEO of Clydesdale Bank, to talk through the challenger bank’s growth strategy and visit Capital Credit Union.

The Economic Secretary’s visit to Edinburgh is the first of three visits he is making to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to showcase the importance that the government places on developing the financial services hubs outside of London.

After London, Scotland boasts the UK’s next two largest international financial hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The sector contribute more than 7% of Scotland’s GDP and employs around 85,000 people, with a further 70,000 working in associated professional services.


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