Vibrant Economy Blog

Fintech: The new financial establishment

Nick Page Nick Page

Fintech has grown out of the 2008 financial crisis to become the leader of the UK services sector. Innovative, inclusive and with the pursuit of growth at its heart, fintech is the future industry re-defining how consumers and companies alike deal with all things finance.

From deal-enabling robots at UBS to smart payment systems on every UK high street, fintech’s growth has caused delight and concern as commentators and customers debate how the rise of financial technology will affect them.

We have launched our Fintech Inquiry to explore the people, policies and potential behind the ‘new financial establishment1  The purpose of the inquiry is to help clients turn financial technology to their advantage and because the innovation and purpose inherent in fintech makes it a key contributor to a vibrant economy.

Since launching the inquiry, we have engaged fintech founders and innovators in conversation about their views on the current financial landscape in the UK. Over the coming months, we will continue to gather entrepreneurs and business leaders across the country and ask them what fintech’s progress means for all of us. Check back here for our updates or sign up to alerts here.

The rise and rise of fintech 

Fintech’s proven ability to innovate traditional financial practices has made it a fast-growth industry. The UK treasury estimates it is worth £7 billion to the economy and responsible for the employment of 60,000 people. Meanwhile, its simplicity makes it a force for good as it can help the unbanked access services for the first time. Currently some two million UK adults still do not have access to banking services.

Chris Pond, Vice Chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission and an early participant in our inquiry explained how these two trends combine to give fintech its edge: “What many of the fintech operations can offer is a freshness and a lightness of foot. This can be of huge benefit to the conventional financial services sector.”

Fintech is the new finance

Christian Faes, CEO & Co-Founder at LendInvest speaking at our Fintech Inquiry event earlier this year said: “I think we are going to move towards a point where fintech just becomes finance… everyone in a couple of years will expect financial services to be fully tech-enabled.”

The growing expectation that services should be digitally delivered opens up space for financial businesses to thrive. As the UK is the third largest banking centre globally, the opportunities for fintech firms are vast.

These businesses are also in a position to restore trust to the financial services sector, which has suffered since the 2008 crash. Research shows that more than 50% of customers in Western Europe are more likely to refer a friend to fintech over their primary bank2. What’s more, if fintech can keep up its global growth, it can help the world’s two billion unbanked open an account with ease and derive the associated benefits – secure savings and opportunities to borrow – that are often taken for granted.

Fintech the challenger

The industry is not without its challenges. Regulation could slow Fintech’s progress, particularly if the regulators cannot clearly communicate the aim and method. The rise of fintech also threatens traditional banks and their market dominance and by 2025, up to 40% of bank revenues could be lost to fintech competitors. Hostility from the world of traditional financial services should be anticipated.

What the inquiry will focus on

Against this unsettled backdrop, we will focus on three key areas during the Fintech Inquiry:

1. The co-opetition era

Corporates are now active in 1 in 4 fintech deals: this inquiry will explore how the relationship between fintech firms and traditional banks cannot be characterised by competition or co-operation, but rather ‘co-opetition’.

2. Regulating for success

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, recently raised concerns around fintech regulation. Speaking at The International Fintech Conference he said: “The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that fintech develops in a way that maximises the opportunities and minimises the risks for society.” 3 This inquiry will investigate what the ‘right’ regulation might look like to ensure fintech is a sustainable success.

3. Boosting financial inclusion

How is fintech helping create a financial system that is fit-for-purpose for everyone – regardless of income?

Explaining the motivation behind launching the Fintech Inquiry, Our UK CEO Sacha Romanovitch said: “The Inquiry will explore what is working brilliantly in fintech, look at our economy’s foundations and the long-standing financial institutions, and identify areas where – with a focus on collaboration – we can build a vibrant economy that truly thrives.”

Get involved

If you would like to get in touch and tell us about your views on the future of fintech, join the conversation online #VibrantEconomy @GrantThorntonUK .

Sources:

  1. Business Insider UK - Fintech is now worth £7 billion to Britain's economy and employs 60,000 people, 2017
  2. BankNXT - Gen Y take on trust, loyalty and banking, 2016
  3. Bank of England - Building the Infrastructure to Realise FinTech’s Promise, 2017