Fintech leaders showcase sector to FCA chief executive

Pictured in Belfast are fscom director Alison Donnelly and chairperson Alex Lee with FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi (centre)
Pictured in Belfast are fscom director Alison Donnelly and chairperson Alex Lee with FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi (centre)

FINANCIAL and regulatory technology leaders in the north have come together to showcase the sector to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Nikhil Rathi, who has made a whistle-stop visit to Belfast.

Rathi, who has led the UK financial regulator since October 2020, met with leaders from local companies who are members of industry association FinTech NI, including FinTrU, Datactics and AuditComply at an event hosted by specialist financial regulation consulting firm fscom at its headquarters.

The fintech and regtech leaders set out both the strength of the sector currently in the north, and the regulatory challenges facing financial services institutions here.

Northern Ireland currently generates more than £392 million a year from fintech and in an independent strategic review of UK fintech 2021 was one of the top 10 UK areas producing high growth companies in the sector.

The north’s leading capabilities in regtech were identified as a significant strength for the local ecosystem in a strategy report produced by FinTech NI in the same year.

Rathi set out the FCA’s priorities as an organisation and highlighted the benefits to industry and the regulator of supporting innovation by promoting solutions to complex regulatory challenges.

He said: “There is a dynamic ecosystem of financial institutions and fintech firms in Northern Ireland, with vast expertise. The opportunity to hear directly from the firms and gain insights into the strengths and priorities of the sector is invaluable.

“The FCA has built a world-leading reputation for regulatory innovation. We pioneered the?Regulatory Sandbox?with UK firms, now copied around the world. We are the first regulator to directly support early and high growth potential firms.”

fscom chair Alex Lee added: “We are delighted to have hosted Nikhil Rathi at our Belfast headquarters and introduced him to some of the local success stories that the Northern Ireland fintech sector has to offer.

“As the financial and regulatory sector continues to grow very strongly here, the FCA continues to be a vital institution that is heavily relied upon both to ensure financial markets function well and to give founders and CEOs a clear understanding of how their business can grow and expand while remaining compliant.

“As a governance, risk, and compliance consultancy, we are encouraged to see this level of engagement between the regulator with the industry and have no doubt today’s session will bolster Northern Ireland’s fintech sector even further.”