Blog > English

5 Aspects of UK’s Fintech dominance: No. 5 – Regional Fintech Hubs

In our final post on the UK Fintech series, we’ll look at the country’s strong regional Fintech hubs and how they each play a role in making the country a true “nation of innovation”(Fintech UK Proposition Report).

In the South, London is well-known as, not only a UK Fintech hub, but also as the global Fintech capital.

The city has the world’s largest financial services sector, a solid tech industry and ideal global positioning. All of the Fintech factors we’ve discussed in our previous articles are concentrated in this global city, including talent, capital, demand regulation and infrastructure.

It’s also home to some of the world’s biggest funded Fintech startups, such as OakNorth (valued at $2.3 billion and focuses on startup banking and lending), Tandem (a challenger bank that acquired Harrods Bank Limited) and eTorro (a social trading and investment platform valued at close to $1 billion).

But London is just part of the UK story and there are several other Fintech powerhouses dotted across the country.

Edinburgh

The Scottish capital is the Northern financial stronghold for the UK and employs 86,000 individuals in banking, asset management, asset servicing, insurance and pension funds. It’s the biggest financial services hub outside of London and, with $1 trillion of assets under management, also one of the biggest asset management markets in Europe.

It’s well-known as a student town, with no less than 6 universities, including the world-renowned University of Edinburgh, which is one of the top 20 universities globally. The city has the highest proportion of students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)subjects than anywhere else in the UK.

Prominent Fintech startups in the city include Nucleus (a wrap platform designed for financial and investment advisors, and manages over $13 billion of client-money), FreeAgent (cloud-accounting and money management software for SME’s that was taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland) and Lending Crowd (an peer-to-peer lending platform and the first online crowdfunder in Scotland).

Manchester

Another thriving student town, Manchester boasts the largest student population in Europe, consisting of more than 105,000 students across four major universities. The city’s also got a strong finance, banking and insurance sector worth almost $4 billion, employing 96,000 people.

Manchester has been named as one of the top 30 cities for investment globally with an economy estimated to grow 2.4% faster per year than anywhere else in the UK by the end of 2020.

Its home to the $1.2 billion MediaCityUK (an international business hub for innovation and technology), AccessPay(a leading real-time and cross-border payment provider), WorldPay (a company that focuses on payments processing technology and solutions), VST Enterprises (an intelligent leger system to revolutionize digital transactions), and Hello Soda (a big data analytics platform whose partnerships include Visa).

Leeds

Leeds has the second largest economy in the UK (with London being the largest). The city is a hub for mortgage platforms and retail banking, including 30 national and international banks.

It’s also a leader in big data and hosts a large startup hub, Nexus, within the grounds of the University of Leeds. Nexus incubates 60 startups annually. Dotforge is another accelerator program in Leeds, and the first to launch outside of London.

First Direct, the UK’s original challenger bank, is headquartered in the city. Leeds is also home to the Equiniti Northern Tech Hub and Equiniti Credit Services (loan and credit management technology that oversees more than $26 billion in credit assets), and NorthInvest (an early-stage startup investment company).

Liverpool

Liverpool is the leading location for wealth management in the UK and also hosts the Hartree Centre, a research centre founded by the government and IBM to focus on high-performance computing and data analytics.

The University of Liverpool is one of the top three centres in the UK for Computer Science related research with a strong focus on areas such as AI, VR and cybersecurity.

Unique tax incentives like the 5% rate relief for businesses within the city’s Enterprise Zone also adds to Liverpool’s status as a perfect regional Fintech hub.

And the first Fintech North conference took place in Liverpool in June 2018 focussing on the growth opportunities as well as available resources for Fintech expansion in the northern regions of the UK.

Other up-and-coming regional Fintech hubs in the UK include Cardiff (Wales), Glasgow (Scotland), and Bristol, Bath and Exeter (England).

Working together

We’ve looked at the UK’s Fintech dominance by breaking down the well-balanced ecosystem into its various building blocks, including the demand for Fintech services, the capital investment into Fintech services, the supporting infrastructure and regulation, the supply of Fintech talent, and finally the support from strong regional Fintech hubs.

But more than just these five aspects, what truly makes the UK a Fintech leader is the combination of Fintech startups, traditional financial institutions, such as banks, accelerators, network groups and investment firms, all coming together and working toward the common goal of creating a successful, more transparent and more robust financial sector for the future.