Why London’s calling for the finTech industry
The year 2020 was going to be a wild ride for London’s financial services firms even without COVID-19. After all, Brexit was set to move from a theoretical change to a concrete reality, changing the rules for financial services players all over the country as well as for those on the continent. But add a pandemic to the mix and things got tumultuous pretty fast, Plaid U.K. Head Keith Grose and Innovate Finance CEO Charlotte Crosswell told Karen Webster as part of a recent PYMNTS TV session on London’s FinTech environment, in partnership with London & Partners, the official international trade, investment and promotion agency for London.
But the panelists agreed that, such challenges aside, London remains the world’s second-largest financial services market — and a place where every FinTech wants to be.
“It was an obvious choice for [Plaid] to be in, honestly,” Grose said. “When we were looking to expand outside of the U.S. and Canada, it was pretty easy to align on the U.K., and on London in particular. I think it’s just a perfect place for us to be to help support the ecosystem.”
Grose noted that Plaid entered the U.K. market with strong existing demand from its global customers. The fact that there was already a FinTech-heavy environment working collaboratively made the London opening more likely to push forward the company’s innovations than weigh them down.
Grose added that the density of talent within the city creates a unique opportunity for spontaneous and highly productive interactions between players of all descriptions. With everyone a “couple of Tube stops” apart, one could, in a pre-COVID-19 world, “actually go out to the pub and bump into all sorts of people in their ecosystem, in their industry.”
While the pub and the Tube [subway] are seeing a lot less use amid COVID-19, the sense of camaraderie within the segment has pulled through relatively undented.
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