Paris has recently demonstrated that it can keep up with the big guys and could prove a threat to London’s status as lead FinTech hub.
Earlier this week Paris hosted its Paris Fintech Forum, which saw over 1,500 bankers, investors, and entrepreneurs gathering to discuss the potential of FinTech in France.
Tripling its turnout compared to last year’s event, it looks as though Paris is taking advantage of U.K.’s recent Brexit vote – and Britain’s Supreme Court ruling stating that Prime Minister Theresa May needs MP votes to trigger Article 50 – and are increasing pressure within the industry.
In a report from Bloomberg, over the last few years FinTech in Paris has run into diminished financing in addition to a more constrained business environment.
Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Bank of France Governor, is reported as saying that you wouldn’t have imagined a central banker speaking at a forum on innovation a few years ago.
For banks and insurers, the digital revolution is upsetting the traditional model for client relations [and] there are difficult choices ahead.
This is compared to London, which has been enjoying a boost within the FinTech sector due to the help from regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Through the launch of its Project Innovate, regulators have been providing help and guidance to startups regarding blockchain and the regulations they need to abide.
Last year, the FCA went one step further by announcing it had approved the first 24 companies that would be taking part in its regulatory sandbox, thus bringing ideas to the market quicker and aiding the required funds that FinTech firms in the country need to raise.
London Banks Move to France
And yet, despite this, since the Brexit result reports have come in that London banks have already taken steps of moving to France.
This can only be good news for the French nation, but it seems that more needs to be done to improve its standing and the possibility of removing London from the top spot.
According to a BVA survey for the French Banking Federation, in 2016 only 20 percent of bank customers visited their bank more than once a month. This figure was down from 62 percent from 2007.
With more customers turning their attention to the digital age and utilizing their smartphones for their banking transactions, France needs to embrace innovation if it wants to remain relevant with its technically-savvy customers.
Long Way to Go
It still has a significant way to go, though, before it takes over from the likes of London.
As Bloomberg reports, while there were over 1,500 individuals in attendance at the Parish Fintech Forum with 125 FinTech firms selected from 26 countries, there were only a third who were French. Venture capital also needs to be considered as only three percent of those attending the conference had risen over 100 million euros.
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