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Accelerating Megatrends: technology in London

The pandemic has acted as a catalyst to our use of technology. The Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor, William Russell, looks at how this has been realised in London.

The Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor William Russell

September 2020

Over the last few months, we have all been using technology more than ever before to interact with friends and family, work and keep ourselves entertained.

Our growing reliance on technology is an acceleration of a trend that was already evident.

For example, fintech in the UK has grown at breakneck speed over the past decade. 

In 2010 it accounted for just four per cent of venture capital investment in the UK. This figure has now risen to 28 per cent, with a record $4.9bn of capital investment landing in the UK in 2019 — a year-on-year increase of more than a third. 

There’s no doubt that the UK is a global fintech leader. But for it to be the source of future growth, we must ensure that entrepreneurs can scale up, expand internationally, and deliver on fintech’s promise to bring prosperity to all parts of the country.

That’s why I warmly welcomed the Treasury’s recent launch of an independent review into the UK fintech sector, for which the City of London Corporation and Innovate Finance will act as joint secretariat.

Brits have taken fintech innovation to the heart of their everyday lives, with the UK fintech adoption rate now at 71 per cent — well above the global average of 64 per cent. By means of comparison, this far outstrips the rate of other key markets such as the US (46 per cent) and Japan (34 per cent). 

There are two key conclusions that I draw from all this. 

The first, perhaps obviously, is that the motor of fintech will be a vital one for the UK financial services sector — the second-biggest exporter of financial services globally in the world — in supporting the revitalisation of the global economy. It will be a major area of growth in the years to come.

The second key takeaway is that fintech in the UK has reached maturity. It has become a mainstream part of the UK financial services industry and is here to stay. We have done a great job of supporting startups as they emerge, but we are now seeing more traditional institutions and broader stakeholders place a greater emphasis on fintech too.

It is my belief that these discussions and the government’s independent review will help sow the seeds for the next stage of fintech success. I call on everyone across the UK’s financial services ecosystem to have their say and play their part in ensuring fintech continues to benefit consumers and business in the future.

William Russell is Lord Mayor of the City of London

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