New report says fintech sector now worth £392 million to Northern Ireland economy

L-R: Karen Bradbury, Invest NI; Andrew Jenkins, FintechNI; Roisin Finnegan, Deloitte and Alex Lee, FinTechNI chair.
L-R: Karen Bradbury, Invest NI; Andrew Jenkins, FintechNI; Roisin Finnegan, Deloitte and Alex Lee, FinTechNI chair.

THE financial technology (fintech) sector is now worth an estimated £392 million to the north’s economy, according to a new report.

FintechNI, the representative body for the growing cluster of fintech firms in Northern Ireland, has today published a roadmap it says can help attract £25 million in foreign direct investment and around 20 new companies in the next three years.

The paper, produced by Deloitte for the organisation, says thousands more jobs could potentially be created within the sector here, if more inward investors can be convinced to set up shop in the north.

It comes as a HM Treasury backed review of the sector earlier this year flagged up Northern Ireland as one of the leading emerging clusters for fintech in the UK.

Speaking on Monday as he announced Agio as the latest inward investor to set up in Belfast, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said fintech, along with cybersecurity, was a sector “where we have seen the emergence of significant capability and capacity with the potential to drive the economy forward”.

Today’s new report from Deloitte identified Northern Ireland’s geographical location, talent pool and collaborative community as key factors in its success to date.

Adding that the growing expertise in cyber security, AI (artificial intelligence), data analytics and RegTech (regulatory technology) is positioning the north as a leading international hub.

FintechNI has said there is still work to be done to improve the sector here, including greater support to help smaller fintech firms and start-ups connect with investors and financial services institutions.

The industry body has also said attracting younger people in greater numbers to pursue careers in the sector can help address issues with skills and talent.

FintechNI chair, Alex Lee, said Northern Ireland is considered among the world leaders in fintech.

“However, we recognise that we can't stand still and must challenge the barriers to growth and push our unique selling points to remain globally competitive,” he said.

“This three-year road map being published today outlines the key areas we must focus on to continue to build a collaborative community, leverage the knowledge and the expertise the existing financial and digital sectors and connect that with business support and funding to transform the sector for the benefit of the Northern Irish economy.

“The potential to create thousands of jobs, attract tens of millions of pounds in foreign direct investment and to assist companies to set up, or scale up, in Northern Ireland is right in front of us and we should not limit our ambition for a sector that has shown such resilience and growth in difficult times.”