The new report is the result of a collaborative research project which was funded through sponsorship and support from organisations including: Osborne Clarke, Amdaris, Cardstream, Integration Works, Invest Bristol & Bath, RSM UK, University of the West of England (UWE), and FinTech West.
The report finds the FinTech sector in the South West is estimated to be generating more than £1 billion of GVA per year for the regional economy, with an estimated regional FinTech workforce of nearly 19,000. The region is home to 193 FinTech firms, with core strengths in payments, WealthTech, and lending, and a strong ‘FinTech for good’ theme running across the propositions of FinTech firms, especially in WealthTech.
Julian Wells, Director and FinTech Lead at Whitecap Consulting, says:
“The UK’s FinTech sector continues to grow despite the challenging economic environment, and our research shows the South West is highly active in the sector. In February 2021 the government published its strategic review of FinTech (the Kalifa Review), which highlighted Bristol & Bath as one of the UK’s 10 key FinTech clusters. Our analysis identifies continued strong growth in that region, but the story of FinTech across the South West spans much further afield, and we’re proud to put the spotlight on the whole region via this new report.”
Mark Wesker, Corporate Partner, Osborne Clarke, says:
“As the main sponsor of this report, and hosts of the recent FinTech West conference in Bristol, we are proud to have supported this project and to help shine the spotlight on the substantial and varied range of FinTech activity across the South West. Osborne Clarke has grown from its South West roots to become a leading international legal adviser for FinTechs and we are keen to support the industry.”
The South West is increasingly linked into national FinTech activity. Earlier this year it was announced that the University of Bristol is among four universities that along with FinTech West will lead a first-of-its-kind £1.8 million research programme to accelerate innovation adoption in SMEs and mid-tier financial services firms. Funded by Innovate UK/ESRC, the innovation adoption accelerator, ‘Future Finance’, will work closely with smaller financial services firms to understand the challenges they face and explore how technology and innovation can help.
The South West also has a leading role in the ongoing engagement with the new Centre for Finance, Innovation & Technology (CFIT), including the involvement of numerous regionally based organisations in the initial CFIT coalition, which focuses on Open Finance.
Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of CFIT, says:
“It is exceptionally motivating to read this report which highlights the crucial role the South West is playing in advancing the FinTech sector and bolstering the financial well-being of the broader community. The various regional initiatives and activities over the last few years have clearly had a strong positive impact on the region. The South West is home to some of the UK’s most prominent UK FinTech brands, as well as some of the most esteemed universities and educational institutions in the country. With a vibrant pipeline of skills, key strengths in payments, WealthTech and lending, as well as a new ESRC-funded national FinTech accelerator, it is an area with much to offer to the national agenda.”
The report is Whitecap’s 14th published report on regional FinTech activity in the UK. The firm has analysed more than 1,000 individual FinTech firms based outside London over the last 3 years, including approximately 650 in the last 12 months.