British FinTech startups are worried that the UK has lost its status as a global financial center, and they are calling on the government to take action to ensure the country remains competitive. The Financial Times reports that FinTech founders feel that the UK government needs to do more to support the industry, whether that means tapping into new sources of funding or reforming listings.
Christian Faes, the chair of mortgage lender LendInvest, which went public in 2021, commented that “everyone’s a bit jaded,” and added, “There was no doubt London was the center of FinTech [ . . .] That’s been waning for a number of years.”
The UK government has long touted its ambitions to become a hub for FinTech startups. The current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has been particularly vocal in his support for the industry.
In March, British banking giant HSBC announced plans to purchase the failed lender’s UK operations and invest $2.1 billion in them. While some FinTech executives have praised the purchase as a better option than SVB UK going out of business, others are concerned about a culture clash between the two banks.
Philip Hammond, a former UK chancellor and chair of crypto company Copper, questioned whether HSBC could provide the support that riskier early-stage companies need. “Businesses are asking themselves whether, for all the rhetoric, it will be possible for that rather distinctive culture [of SVB UK] to flourish inside a behemoth like HSBC,” he said.
James Hickson, founder and CEO at European revenue-based lender Bloom, has also praised the HSBC purchase, saying that “it was the right decision.” However, he too has raised concerns about how a legacy bank like HSBC, which was not necessarily designed with entrepreneurs in mind, can preserve “the energy” that a tech-focused challenger bank like SVB brought to the ecosystem.
FinTech founders are calling for more government support and reform to keep the UK at the forefront of the industry. While the UK has been a leader in FinTech for many years, the industry has become increasingly global, with new centers of innovation emerging in Asia and the US. If the UK is to maintain its status as a FinTech hub, it will need to address the concerns of its startups and take action to support the industry’s growth.