At the FinTech North event in Manchester, political, business, and academic leaders agreed that the city’s economy depends increasingly on the rapidly growing sector of FinTech.
Manchester University is number one in the country for graduate numbers entering the sector and the city’s economy benefits from a Gross Value Add of nearly £13billion from financial services, with 83,000 of its workforce employed in technology roles.
Dr Chris Sier, FinTech Envoy (England) to HM Treasury, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of Manchester University, addressed delegates at the 300-strong conference.
Attendees included investors, regulators, academics, entrepreneurs and innovators from finance and technology, who came together at Manchester’s inaugural FinTech North event to discuss the rapid rise of the region as a destination for this emerging and vital business sector.
Henri Murison added that the future of the entire Northern Powerhouse region depends on FinTech, and the key to success lies in collaboration. Instead of Northern cities acting as “warring tribes”, he called for unity and the region to adopt the mentality of one Northern “mega-city”.
Murison has also emphasised the vital importance of the skills agenda. Calling for investment in education, he said: “We must recognise that early years work is crucial to supporting change.”
As traditional financial services models decline and are replaced by emerging technologies and disruptive new products and services, he argued that we need to ensure that our workforce is able to transition their skills and talent.
Further evidence of the optimism and ambition of the event comes from the business deals and opportunities that are created among this group of people.
For example, Dan Rajkumar, chief executive of White Label Crowdfunding and Rebuildingsociety, and co-founder of the event has announced the win of a new customer, AGPeer, which is launching a new peer-to-peer lending platform targeted at the agriculture sector.
Luke Freeman, director of Whitecap Consulting and co-founder of FinTech North, concludes: “Our first Manchester event has been bigger and better than we ever anticipated.
"Now expanding to other cities across the region after starting in Leeds and growing to include Liverpool (12 June), we are hearing the same message from everyone in our growing network: the North can rightfully claim to be a global destination for this industry. We have the skills, the infrastructure and the determination, and the big players from all over the world have already started to take notice.”
The Leeds event last month was the first in a series of three FinTech North events, now in their third year. The final conference will take place in Liverpool on 12th June.
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