A survey of 100 executives in the UK financial services industry finds that 92% believe that the country has the ability to become the worldwide leader in financial technology (fintech).
According to the poll, conducted by an independent research firm for recruitment specialist Robert Half Financial Services UK, only 6% of financial executives are pessimistic about the UK’s ability to become the global hub of the fintech market.
Participants were also asked, “In your opinion, which centre is the greatest competition to London becoming the fintech leader of the world?” New York was rated as the most likely contender, named by 35% of financial services executives, followed by Hong Kong (15%) and Frankfurt (14%).
The study also identified challenges that could hold the UK back from earning the top spot. The greatest barriers cited were a lack of investment in technology innovation (44%) and a lack of skilled professionals (44%).
Other barriers identified include a lack of the perceived “Silicon Valley culture of innovation” cited by more than a third (36%) of financial services executives. Industry regulation was also cited, with 28% of survey respondents suggesting this could hold back the UK’s fintech ambitions.
“Fintech has moved beyond a buzzword phase and is now recognised as a rapidly maturing market,” said Luke Davis, vice-president, Robert Half Financial Services UK.
“Increasingly companies operating in this industry are finding themselves competing for talent with established players in both the banking and IT sectors. The rise of challenger banks and fintech start-ups creates more opportunities for skilled financial services professionals looking towards greater opportunities outside of the industry.”
Sentiment in the financial services sector deteriorated in the three months to September, as firms digested the challenges of lower interest rates and the uncertainty caused by the vote to leave the European Union (EU), according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey.
However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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