Leeds is ‘a prime location for FinTech innovators’, says new report

PRESS RELEASE: 2nd November 2018

A new report into the Leeds City Region FinTech ecosystem has highlighted significant growth potential for FinTech, driven by the established Financial Services sector’s increasing desire to engage with FinTech innovation.

The report details the output of an extensive analysis by Whitecap Consulting, a regional strategy consultancy headquartered in Leeds, and has been supported by a number of key organisations in the Leeds City Region including Leeds City Council, CYBG, First Direct, Yorkshire Building Society, Bruntwood, Equiniti Credit Services, Nexus (University of Leeds), Leeds Beckett University, and FinTech North.

Based on research conducted over a period of several months, the report finds the Leeds City Region FinTech ecosystem to be in a strong position in terms of its Financial Services, data and technology sectors, with a clear demand for FinTech innovation and partnerships from established Financial Services and technology organisations with a presence in the region. The research also identifies the Leeds City Region has yet to fulfil its FinTech potential given the current low numbers of FinTech start-up and scale-up firms, and a lack of hubs and workspaces dedicated to FinTech in the region. To this extent, the ecosystem is only partially formed, and has substantial potential for growth.

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, says:

“Leeds City Council is delighted to have supported this FinTech ecosystem research. It is of strategic importance to the Leeds City Region and further strengthens the Financial and Professional Services network. There is much to be proud of in the region and we have a great story to tell. The Council, universities, schools, innovators and entrepreneurs have all played their part in creating growth to date. I believe this ecosystem research will provide further momentum to encourage investment in Leeds and the city region as a FinTech centre of excellence, presenting a significant opportunity post-Brexit.”

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, says:

“For many years, Leeds City Region has had a vibrant and diverse Financial Services industry which has been supported and enhanced by its data, technology and digital sectors. We are delighted to have worked with key stakeholders from the Leeds City Region to produce this report, which it is hoped will set a foundation for future growth for this exciting and rapidly developing sector.”

The Leeds City Region is the UK’s largest economy and population centre outside of London. It is home to 119,000 companies with an economy valued at £66.5bn per annum, of which Leeds itself accounts for an estimated £21.3bn. In comparative terms, Leeds has a large banking sector when compared to London, with proportionally more than twice as many banking jobs within the workforce as Greater London. The new report estimates there are currently 2600 people working in FinTech in Leeds, representing approximately 5% of the total financial sector employment. This suggests substantial upward potential when compared with London, where FinTech has been estimated to account for over 15% of the financial sector workforce.

The report outlines eight key findings and recommendations in relation to FinTech in the Leeds City Region, all of which are based on the output of a comprehensive data gathering process which included 47 interviews with key regional stakeholders, surveys completed by a further 97 individuals, and extensive supporting research and analysis. 


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