When I travel across the globe, there is an issue I get asked about time and time again: what is it about London that makes it such a successful global financial hub? And what is it about the UK that makes us stand out from the crowd?
A key part of the answer is innovation.
Whether its the goldsmith bankers in the seventeenth century who laid the foundations of modern banking by lending the worlds first cheques to merchants trading in the City, or the likes of Edward Lloyd, the father of the modern insurance industry, or – more recently – the issuance of the first automated cryptocurrency bond, innovation has always been part of Londons fabric.
Thats still the case today. Just last month, figures published by the City of London Corporation and the City Property Association placed London ahead of the likes of New York, Singapore, and Paris as the top location worldwide for innovation that increases revenue.
Clearly, the lines between finance and technology are becoming ever more blurred.
It is fitting, therefore, that the City of London will play a central role in UK Fintech Week. Guildhall will be welcoming the Innovate Finance Global Summit later this month, one of the worlds foremost fintech conferences, while Mansion House will host a reception celebrating UK fintech success stories.
Londons offer to fintech startups is truly unique, given the physical proximity of one of the worlds premier financial centres to Europes most invested tech sector.
In comparison, Silicon Valley is more than 2,500 miles away from Wall Street.
This cluster of talent and creative energy means that, according to Deloitte, London is best in the world for fintech, accounting for 11 per cent of the global fintech industry. And 31 of 2018s “Fintech 50” firms ranked for innovation are based here.
The benefits for the UK economy are obvious, with the sector – worth more than £7bn here – employing more than 75,000 people nationwide. That is expected to surge to well beyond 100,000 by 2030. Indeed, in just five years, we have seen a 31 per cent increase in Londons information and communications jobs.
The flourishing of the fintech industry underscores the need for the City to prepare for and embrace the fourth industrial revolution.
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