March 22, 2018
By Lea Nonninger
US-based growth investor Motive Partners has decided to open its new European hub in Canary Wharf, London. The company focuses on fintech investments, and has so far invested in companies including data algorithmics company LMRKTS and an unnamed private banking platform.
It aims to invest in up to four more companies by the end of this year, with a particular focus on financial infrastructure. Motive Partners sees London as the “epicenter” for financial services, and thinks it necessary to have a base there. The office will facilitate projects between established and new fintech players, and fintech teams including those of RBS, Mastercard, and Allied Irish Bank will be based there. Motive Partners' decision to open an office in London points to the city's ongoing strength as a hub for fintech activity.
Here is why the UK continues to be an attractive location for fintech companies:
· The country already has experience with open banking. While PSD2 is an EU-wide law, each government can implement it in a different way. The UK has already implemented its Open Banking initiative, making it a frontrunner in the open banking space. Hence, companies in the UK have experience with the law and its implementation, likely making them attractive partners to foreign fintech companies.
· The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is very supportive of fintech. It's in the FCA’s interest to help increase competition in the country, especially in light of its looming EU departure. As such, it seems likely that the FCA will continue to promote fintech innovation within the UK. This will further ensure that fintechs remain keen to setup shop in the country.
Brexit isn’t likely to scare off foreign fintech companies anytime soon. In addition to the UK's long reputation as a fintech center, the addition of companies like Motive Partners that are willing to pour hefty funds into fintech firms will probably only strengthen its appeal. Additionally, other financial firms continue to see the country as an attractive jurisdiction, with Estonian bank LHV opening an office in London just last week. Hence, it seems probable that the UK will remain to be a key player in the fintech industry, even after Brexit.
Fintech broke onto the scene as a disruptive force following the 2008 crisis, but the industry's influence on the broader financial services system is changing.