The Bristol and Bath region has been revealed as one of the strongest fintech ecosystems in the UK, according to a new report.
The two West Country cities are home to a host of fast-growing start-ups and scale-ups within the fintech sector, as identified in new research by regional strategy consulting firm Whitecap Consulting.
The report delves into the Bristol & Bath fintech ecosystem, finding it to have proportionally more firms active in the sector than any other region Whitecap has reviewed to date.
Of the 107 firms identified, 28 are fintech start-ups and scale-ups, meaning Bristol & Bath has a larger number of early stage fintechs than areas with populations more than three or four times its size.
Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, said: “This report is published at a time when the UK’s FinTech sector is maturing and expanding geographically, which has the potential to deliver economic benefit to a number of regions outside London.
“The Bristol & Bath region has already benefited from this, with established FinTech organisations such as Curve and ClearBank deciding to build operations in the region.”
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said the findings offer much for the region to be proud of.
He said: “The West of England is a vibrant and dynamic hub for innovation in professional services.
“Fintech brings together our region’s talents to revolutionise the way that the sector operates and I’m very pleased to see this report setting out practical recommendations that can make the cluster here even more competitive.
“I am proud of the contribution we make, together with our community, to the continued success story of our region’s fintech sector, and I look forward to a bright future ahead.”
Co-authored by Whitecap’s Julian Wells, Director & FinTech Practice Lead, and Stuart Harrison, Associate Director for the South West, the report is the first formal analysis of the fintech ecosystem in the region.
It was supported and co-funded by a number of organisations in the West of England, including FinTech West, BJSS, Clarke Willmott, DAC Beachcroft, Hargreaves Lansdown, TLT LLP, University of the West of England (UWE), and Invest Bristol & Bath, the inward investment arm of the West of England Combined Authority.
Chris Hill, CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The financial sector has been irreversibly changed by technology and as we move forward those businesses that keep pace with the rate of development will be the success stories.
“I think that now is a truly exciting time to be in business. Being part of the Bristol fintech scene enables us to build networks and work with exciting technology partners that help us to stay at the forefront of our industry.”
The report estimates there are now more than 3,400 people working in fintech-related roles in the region, with 61,000 employed overall in the financial services and technology sectors.
The fintech start-ups and scale-ups have an average age of three years old, lower than any other region Whitecap has researched to date.
Tracey John, Director of Research Business and Innovation, University of the West of England (UWE), believes the potential for future growth can make Bristol & Bath a major player on the world fintech stage.
She said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important research from Whitecap Consulting which demonstrates the great things happening around fintech in the West of England and the potential our region has to become a global leader in digital innovation.”