UK: West Midlands Joins the Fintech National Network as Tech Hub Expands

The West Midlands has joined the Innovate Finance Fintech National Network, the UK’s first network connecting Fintech hubs and supporting nationwide financial innovation. The West Midlands has been championing its region for some time promoting it as a viable and less expensive to the greater London region. Recently, Goldman Sachs announced a new office in the region, its largest outside London, highlighting the benefits of having a presence in the growing tech hub.

The Fintech National Network seeks to bring together regional clusters around the UK to encourage collaboration and amplify the collective voice of the UK’s Fintech sector. The network facilitates mutually beneficial initiatives across skills, talent, capital, and investment, as key enablers for furthering Fintech, as well as other sectors such as Insurtech, Proptech, etc. in the UK as well as globally.

“Supertech,” described as a cross-sector partnership to showcase the talent, innovation, and investment potential of the West Midlands’ rapidly emerging professional services technology, highlights the investment potential of the West Midlands’ emerging professional services technology (Proftech) cluster.

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO at Innovate Finance, said they are delighted that Supertech is joining the Fintech National Network and look forward to working with the West Midlands, alongside the other Network members, to drive the domestic Fintech agenda in the UK.

“The UK is a global Fintech leader and a highly attractive destination for investment, but in order to retain its position, it is important to leverage the collaboration between the various centres of excellence that are thriving across the country.”

The membership is said to build upon the recognition of the region’s Fintech scene at a national policy level in the independent Kalifa Review.

March 2021 saw the City of London Corporation join forces with Supertech to harness the rising potential of modern services innovation underway in the region, of which Fintech is an integral element. The agreement expects to see the two entities work closely to promote West Midlands professional, financial and technology firms on a national and global scale.

Overall, the goal is to ensure that the UK remains the Fintech capital of the world.

Hilary Smyth-Allen, Executive Lead at Supertech, said they launched the entity in January 2021 with the sole purpose of spotlighting the West Midlands.

“We are eagerly awaiting a formal response from Whitehall outlining the industry’s future policy direction, and in the meantime continue to champion our region’s ProfTech potential as clear evidence of ‘levelling up’ in practice.”

In response to the Kalifa Review, Supertech has called on Government to enact the recommendations made in the report, which strongly advocated for “a UK Fintech landscape where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, added that Goldman Sachs’ investment cements the West Midlands prominence on a global scale.

“…it is powerful affirmation of our region’s appeal to the aspirations of the world’s most iconic, multinational financial services brands and the talent they seek to attract. As the outcome of a meticulous review of the UK’s digital employment base, it is another resounding endorsement of our best-in-class talent from the technology and finance sectors.”

The West Midlands contributes £27.8 billion GVA annually to the UK economy and employing 358,200 people. Fintech is reportedly worth £411.7 million per annum to the local economy and has a collective workforce of 7,375 people across 122 companies, within a wider ecosystem of over 12,500 tech and digital organisations.

James MacFarlane,  who founded PM Connect a company that facilitates 10 million payments a month, started the Birmingham business straight out of university.

“As we continue on our ambitious growth journey, we are proud to be carving out PM Connect as a Birmingham-based global business. PM Connect is now active in 40+ territories, processing 10 million payments every month, with five offices around the world but the West Midlands remains the best location for us to be headquartered – offering both the tech talent to support planned growth and a vibrant place to work for our dynamic, driven team.”

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