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The battle for the world’s fintech hub after the Brexit vote is still clouded by uncertainty, but time is running out
The battle for the world’s fintech hub after the Brexit vote is still clouded by uncertainty, but time is running out.
On September 16, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the European Council President Donald Tusk that Britain would likely begin the process of withdrawal from the EU in January or February 2017.
This comment may heat up the battle of which city is likely to become the world’s fintech hub.
Many banking and/or financial related startups have been considering the move to mainland Europe, but the uncertainty surrounding as to when and how the roll-out of Brexit will take place has made the level of change unknown, says Lucas Cervigni, MD of the global Blockchain consortium, Agentic UK.
A recent Ernst & Young report ranks Britain as still being on top in terms of the global fintech ecosystems. Also, as the world’s fifth largest economy, coupled with the positivity coming from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and regulatory authorities, it is clear that Britain wants the fintech industry, as well as the Blockchain sector, to thrive.
However, there are suggestions that the vote could still take the title away from the UK, particularly as fintech firms have expressed their worries of being cut off from the single market once Britain leaves the EU.
Cervigni noted that with so much unclear at the moment, the only thing they have started to notice happening is that some UK-based fintech startups are experiencing trouble receiving funding. He believes the continued uncertainty around the EU exit is driving this issue. He states in an email:
“For the moment, the majority of the conversation in the fintech industry is around the migration of skills. The ability to hire highly skilled individuals from across not just Europe but further afield is an integral part of the industry’s success in the UK. Many multinational companies in the space have already spoken out about the need for the UK government to consider a special and more lax visa program for these very necessary employees.”
With cities like Berlin, Paris and Zurich preparing to attract fintech firms, and the UK’s Financial Stability Board looking at whether using the Blockchain for processes such as settling transactions could undermine financial systems and if any new rules are needed, the signs that fintech firms in London will move to mainland Europe are still indeterminate.
On a personal note, Cervigni thinks digital currencies and multiple Blockchains have a positive outlook based on current assessment because they have many different use cases, properties, and values which are extremely beneficial across different industries.
“I am confident that both investors and government heavyweights will also be supportive,” he says. “It is clear that these are technologies which should not be fostered out because of the unlimited opportunities they are able to offer.”
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