Yvonne Dunn

Yvonne Dunn from Pinsent Masons on Glasgow’s progress as a fintech centre and the benefits of collaboration between emerging new fintech developers and traditional financial services organisations

Over the last few years, UK cities have been in a race to become the next biggest UK fintech centre after London. Many cities have been vying to attract new fintech businesses and investors, build incubators and help to develop the skills needed for a thriving fintech ecosystem. Arguably Scotland is leading this race - and in particular both Glasgow and Edinburgh have grown their fintech propositions and fintech is definitely a space that both cities are excelling in.

Glasgow's International Financial Services District has already attracted more than £1bn of investment. Glasgow is also home to many large financial firms, many of which use Glasgow as a base for their innovation work (JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Clydesdale Bank). Increasingly Glasgow has also been attracting fintechs who want to establish here, such as Castlight and Previse. Glasgow's universities focus on fintech as part of their overall drive around technology with Strathclyde University being the first in the UK to offer a Masters in Fintech.

Yvonne Dunn

As well as growing the fintech businesses themselves, fintech has also had knock-on benefits for those who support the sector, such as lawyers, consultants and accountants. For us as lawyers at Pinsent Masons, the fintech revolution offers great opportunities to support - it is a revolution that takes place in a regulated environment and so businesses need our help to navigate the legal issues in that environment. We advise businesses on whether they need to be regulated themselves, how they transact with regulated businesses, how they protect their new ideas and grow and develop them. We are a global law firm with a significant presence in Glasgow, so we can supplement the experience of our Glasgow based lawyers with fresh ideas from around the world.

When fintech began to take off, a lot of the discussion pitted traditional financial services businesses against fintechs - there was talk of the "death of banks" or "fintechs vs. traditional". However, thankfully, that has developed into a more realistic dialogue around collaboration, which makes sense given both traditional financial services businesses and fintechs have something to offer one another: fintechs bring fresh ideas, speed to market and are less burdened by legacy technology. Traditional financial services bring experience, capital, customer trust and brand to the table. Together it can be a strong combination. We advise many fintechs and traditional financial services businesses on collaborations, documenting their arrangements and ensuring that the desired outcomes are clear to all involved.

Fintechs in Scotland are already covering a vast range of services - everything from payments to artificial intelligence to data analytics - and everything in between. There are huge opportunities for further growth and lots of support from around the business community in Glasgow for fintechs who want to establish here.


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