The state of play
The financial technology (FinTech) industry is flourishing in Europe, increasingly seen by national governments as a strong future growth driver.
A 2015 survey by Financial Services Ireland, a crosssector industry association, showed job growth in technology-led financial services was 34 percent between 2009 and 2012.
The Irish government identifies international financial services (IFS) as a priority sector for future growth. In the IFS 2020, a strategy paper to promote international financial services, the Irish government set out its vision to focus on niche specialization and innovation within all sub-sectors of IFS, including FinTech.
In Sweden, capital Stockholm attracted city the second highest value of FinTech investments in Europe over the past five years.
In 2014, investments in Stockholm-based FinTech companies reached $266 million, representing almost 20 percent of total investments in the FinTech industry in Europe, according to Business Sweden, a public-private partnership which aims to help every Swedish company “reach their full international potential” and to “attract foreign direct investments in Sweden.”
In 2014, FinTech accounted for 32 percent of Sweden’s total $826 million in investments in private firms and the industry employs some 4,600 workers, Stockholm School of Economics data reveal.
The UK is also catching up in the FinTech game and vying to be the world’s largest tech hub, beating even Silicon Valley.
Joelson Wilson, a UK law firm specializing in startup legal documentation, says FinTech attracted more than 360 billion pounds ($509.7 billion) of investment in 2015.
Government promotion agency London & Partners said technology firms secured $1.6 billion in venture capital financing in the first nine months of 2015, or 10 times higher than the figure in 2010.
Global think tank Oxford Economics says the number of technology businesses in London will rise to 45,000 in the next decade and generate economic activities worth over 12 billion pounds.
In Hong Kong, Cyberport will set aside a dedicated 3,000 square meters of co-working space called “Smart-Space” and roll out a designated program to provide support to 150 FinTech startups over the next five years, the government Budget for the 2016-17 financial year pledged.
Ireland, the UK and Sweden sent high-level ministerial delegations to Hong Kong to promote their FinTech services industries and explore possible cooperation with the SAR in this field.