FinTech Wales, the not-for-profit independent membership organisation for the FinTech and Financial Services industries in Wales, has today released its Annual Report for 2021/22.
This is the first time that the organisation has provided an in-depth report on the state of FinTech in Wales, commenting specifically on the organisation’s four key pillars of focus: skills and talent, ecosystem and community, funding and investment and promotion of Welsh FinTechs and Wales as a place for organisations to thrive.
In its key findings, the report entitled, “FinTech in Wales 2021 / 2022”, estimates that over 1000 jobs have been created in the sector within the past year, with companies such as Sonovate, Delio, Pepper Money, Wealthify, Credas, and Principality Building Society, and many more all expanding their workforces.
The report also highlights that some London-based challenger banks have started scaling their businesses in Wales, including Starling bank, which has doubled its headcount in Cardiff. And FinTech Wales’ own accelerator programme, the Foundry, has also created over 100 jobs over the last year.
Sarah Williams-Gardner, the CEO of FinTech Wales, said of the report: “This is the first year we have published a report outlining the state of FinTech in Wales. FinTech Wales is proud to be able to highlight the FinTech excellence we have here in Wales; to see the emerging, scaling and established members in the ecosystem making an impact on the global stage. In addition to being a sign of growth, this was part of FinTech Wales’ vision when it was launched. We are the voice for the Welsh FinTech sector, championing success, influencing change, convening the community and strengthening the sector by supporting new innovative startups. This report takes an oversight of the state of FinTech in Wales in the past year, and is something we can now use as a benchmark going forward.”
The report also includes a quote from Sir Ron Kalifa, who identified Wales as an emerging high-growth FinTech cluster in the 2021 Kalifa Review.
He said on the report: “Since publishing the UK Strategic FinTech review in 2021, I have come to learn more about the thriving Welsh ecosystem and I’m delighted to see successful scaling FinTechs such as Sonovate, Delio, Yoello, My PinPad, Chetwood, Bikmo to name just a few. The Welsh cluster is a highly valuable contributor to the UK’s global FinTech position. I’m also confident with the innovation and passion in the Welsh ecosystem; there is more we have yet to see.
“I’m delighted to support FinTech Wales in all the great work they are contributing to the greater UK success. Keeping the UK at the forefront of FinTech Innovation and growth is a priority, which I’m delighted is supported by HM Treasury and City of London Corporation. The creation of the Centre for Financial Innovation and Technology (CFIT) will see collaboration across the UK tackling the barriers under a virtual coalition model incorporating the whole of the UK.
“The support from FinTech Wales and its membership in shaping CFIT has been highly valuable and will continue to be as we appoint the new CFIT leadership team to deliver against its mission.”
Sarah continued: “We’re obviously delighted to see that there’s been over 1000 jobs created in the FinTech sector in Wales, but we also have to be mindful of the skills required to fill these roles now and in the future. Wales boasts extremely high-quality universities, which contribute to the skills pipeline, and our mission at FinTech Wales is to continuously develop our Skills Strategy by collaborating with members, universities, and education and training providers to increase this pipeline further. Once we have made sure all FinTechs in Wales have the skills they need to succeed, our next step is to become a globally recognised export of talent.”
In terms of publicly announced funding, the global investment environment with Welsh FinTechs has slowed down from the previous 12 months, with £12 million raised (up until October 2022), compared with £24million in 2021. Sarah said on these numbers, “Whilst we have seen funding slow across in 2022 compared to previous years, this is not unique to Wales and FinTech is still seen as a priority growth sector. As we head into the highest cost of living increase most of us have ever experienced, we should remind ourselves that FinTech was born after the financial crisis of 2008. During these times of crisis we should expect to see further innovation resulting in further growth.”
Over the past year FinTech Wales has been growing its network of investors, and a key indicator of our success is the amount of investment raised for our Foundry startups. Since launching our accelerator programme, the Foundry, in 2021, we have seen 16 startups go from strength to strength raising over £20m investment and creating hundreds of jobs in Wales. It has also become a significant influencer for startups from all over the world looking to develop their business in Wales.”
Launched in April 2019 by Richard Theo, FinTech Wales operates as a trade association with member organisations comprising of FinTech and financial services companies headquartered or operating in Wales. The idea behind FinTech Wales is to help businesses both in Wales and beyond, making Wales the place to start up, scale up and accelerate innovative FinTech businesses, and add value for the Welsh economy.
It brings together entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, as well as technology suppliers, innovators, universities and public sector bodies. More information about FinTech Wales and its work can be found on the website www.fintechwales.org