Leeds ,

Leeds is ‘a prime location for FinTech innovators’ says new report

Issued on behalf of Whitecap

A new report into the Leeds City Region FinTech ecosystem has highlighted significant growth potential for FinTech, driven by the established Financial Services sector’s increasing desire to engage with FinTech innovation.

The report details the output of an extensive analysis by Whitecap Consulting, a regional strategy consultancy headquartered in Leeds, and has been supported by a number of key organisations in the Leeds City Region including Leeds City Council, CYBG, First Direct, Yorkshire Building Society, Bruntwood, Equiniti Credit Services, Nexus (University of Leeds), Leeds Beckett University, and FinTech North.

Based on research conducted over a period of several months, the report finds the Leeds City Region FinTech ecosystem to be in a strong position in terms of its Financial Services, data and technology sectors, with a clear demand for FinTech innovation and partnerships from established Financial Services and technology organisations with a presence in the region. The research also identifies the Leeds City Region has yet to fulfil its FinTech potential given the current low numbers of FinTech start-up and scale-up firms, and a lack of hubs and workspaces dedicated to FinTech in the region. To this extent, the ecosystem is only partially formed, and has substantial potential for growth.

Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resource and sustainability said:

“We want Leeds to become a leading home for the digital and evergrowing Fintech sector, and this type of research is an important strand of the wide-ranging work that is being undertaken to support us in reaching our goal.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, added:

“Leeds City Council is delighted to have supported this FinTech ecosystem research. It is of strategic importance to the Leeds City Region and further strengthens the Financial and Professional Services network. There is much to be proud of in the region and we have a great story to tell. The Council, universities, schools, innovators and entrepreneurs have all played their part in creating growth to date. I believe this ecosystem research will provide further momentum to encourage investment in Leeds and the city region as a FinTech centre of excellence, presenting a significant opportunity post-Brexit.”

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, said:

“For many years, Leeds City Region has had a vibrant and diverse Financial Services industry which has been supported and enhanced by its data, technology and digital sectors. We are delighted to have worked with key stakeholders from the Leeds City Region to produce this report, which it is hoped will set a foundation for future growth for this exciting and rapidly developing sector.”

The Leeds City Region is the UK’s largest economy and population centre outside of London. It is home to 119,000 companies with an economy valued at £66.5bn per annum, of which Leeds itself accounts for an estimated £21.3bn. In comparative terms, Leeds has a large banking sector when compared to London, with proportionally more than twice as many banking jobs within the workforce as Greater London. The new report estimates there are currently 2600 people working in FinTech in Leeds, representing approximately 5% of the total financial sector employment. This suggests substantial upward potential when compared with London, where FinTech has been estimated to account for over 15% of the financial sector workforce.

The report outlines eight key findings and recommendations in relation to FinTech in the Leeds City Region, all of which are based on the output of a comprehensive data gathering process which included 47 interviews with key regional stakeholders, surveys completed by a further 97 individuals, and extensive supporting research and analysis.

The report can be downloaded free of charge from the Whitecap website at www.whitecapconsulting.co.uk


Colin Dickinson.

Leeds City Council communications officer.

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Tel: 0113 37 89170.


The eight key findings of the Leeds City Region FinTech ecosystem research are:

  1. Leeds has a major Financial Services presence that represents a major opportunity for FinTech which is currently not being realised to its full potential.
  2. In order to attract more inward investment, the FinTech sector in the Leeds City Region requires leadership and communication that works across public sector, higher education and financial services and utilises existing success stories within the sector as focal points.
  3. Leeds has an underdeveloped ecosystem with few start-up and scale-up firms in FinTech related fields and can do more to encourage early stage innovation. The Financial Services corporates are ready to partner and collaborate with new FinTech ventures, but the current volume of early stage FinTechs is insufficient.
  4. There is a requirement for one or more FinTech-focused hubs and workspaces in Leeds, to attract, develop and grow FinTech firms and encourage collaboration with established Financial Services organisations.
  5. The communication and engagement between funders and FinTech innovators is not working effectively, which appears to be hampering the funding opportunities for early stage FinTech firms in the region.
  6. There is significant potential and interest for businesses and universities to work together on FinTech related projects, research activities and development of academic courses.
  7. FinTech shares common underlying technologies with other rapidly growing Tech sectors, such as HealthTech and data analytics. As a result, there are substantial intellectual capital, capabilities and commercial success stories the region can capitalise on and communicate effectively to potential inward investors.
  8. There is a bigger prize to be won by unlocking the potential of FinTech capability across the Northern Powerhouse, but to do this requires increased collaboration with other city regions.

Company details:

Whitecap Consulting Limited / info@whitecapconsulting.co.uk / www.whitecapconsulting.co.uk

Established in 2012, Whitecap Consulting is a regional strategy consultancy headquartered in Leeds, with offices in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Bristol and Newcastle. We typically work with boards, executives and investors of predominantly mid-sized organisations with a turnover of c£10m-£300m, helping clients analyse, develop and implement growth strategies. We work with clients across a range of sectors including Financial Services, Technology, Outsourcing, Consumer and Retail, Property, Healthcare, Higher Education and Professional Services, including Corporate Finance and PE.

Whitecap is also a co-founder of FinTech North: www.fintechnorth.uk

For further information, please contact:

Richard Coates, Managing Director, richard.coates@whitecapconuslting.co.uk