Ireland is well placed to ride the fintech wave

Ireland is well placed to ride the fintech wave

It was almost inevitable that Dublin would emerge as the hub of a thriving fintech sector in Ireland. The co-existence along the banks of the Liffey of the well-established International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and the more youthful “Silicon Docks” with its coterie of world leading born-on-the-internet firms created an ideal breeding ground for the new sector, which merges traditional financial services with the latest advances in social media, data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies.

According to the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland (FPAI), fintech in its broadest sense comprises every area of technology and innovation in the financial services arena, including payments, trading and foreign exchange, big data, risk, compliance, business intelligence, consumer-focused currency exchanges and peer-to-peer lenders.

This very broad scope makes it difficult to estimate with any degree of accuracy the size of the sector in Ireland. “Fintech comes in lots of shapes and sizes”, says Enterprise Ireland senior development adviser Billy Hanley. “On the one hand you have pure fintech companies such as payment companies facilitating transactions through technology. And then on the other you have technology companies selling cybersecurity products to banks and so on. You also have things like payroll solutions not primarily aimed at financial services. Then there is the start-up category of fintech company all the way up to the very large banks who are investing in it. This makes it very difficult to put a size on it.”

The most recent estimate comes from the FPAI, which in its 2016 Strategy for Fintech in Ireland stated “in Ireland there are approximately 40,000 people employed within financial services, and a further 100,000-plus working within technology. According to the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, approximately 8,800 people were employed in fintech in Ireland at the end of 2015, a rise of 7 per cent on a year before and 40 per cent up on 2008.”

KPMG tax partner and fintech lead Anna Scally points to more subdued growth in the sector in the early part of this year, however. “KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech provides a global analysis of investment in fintech,” she says. “In Q1 overall investment in fintech in Europe grew with $880 million invested across 89 deals. While investment in Irish fintechs was modest in Q1, the recent €25 million fundraising by Plynk will serve to boost the Q2 numbers.”

 

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Source: Ireland is well placed to ride the fintech wave – The Irish Times

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