Scotland Turns its Attention to FinTech to Become Industrial Hub

Journalist:
Rebecca Campbell
December 12, 2016

Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, is undergoing a change in industrial focus. Known as an important powerhouse for shipbuilding and steel, the city is turning its attention to the booming FinTech sector to become the U.K.’s industrial hub.

A recent report from PYMNTS, has found that the city is ranked within the top 20 of Europe’s best performing financial centers and is ranked fiftieth worldwide for its economic performance. Not only that, but due to its well-educated and highly skilled population of around 1.2 million people, Glasgow is considered an attractive destination for companies to establish themselves.

In a post on Medium, Gregg M. Schoenberg, head of advisory and investment firm Wescott Capital and author of The Financial Revolutionist blog, said:

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears as though Scotland is more spiritually aligned with Europe than other parts of the UK, and I have no doubt that fintech companies looking to enter the European market are thinking long and hard about alternatives to London right now.

Boosting FinTech in Scotland

In November, Edinburgh hosted its own global blockchain conference, ScotChain16, which was attended by over 200 attendees to discuss blockchain technology development.

While Scotland is certainly not new to the FinTech race, the fact that it’s focusing more attention on the sector illustrates the potential it sees in the technology, and what it can do for the country.

And yet, while this is unquestionably one of the driving forces behind the move, there is another factor to consider.

Could Glasgow become a Fintech hub?

A report in September illustrated that Scotland could lose over 14,000 jobs in its FinTech sector over the next ten years if the country does not embrace the technology.

Many, however, believe that Scotland has all the right ingredients to become an industrial hub for the FinTech sector.

Speaking to PYMNTS, Eric Schiffer, CEO of Patriarch Organization, said that Morgan Stanley and RBS all have a presence in Scotland with a pool of talent to tap into.

He said:

[Scotland’s] been under the radar for so long but is starting to get the attention it deserves. It’s finally busting out of the long shadow of London.

Bitcoin’s Growth in Scotland

The digital currency, bitcoin, is also experiencing a growth in the country. So much so, that last month the city of Edinburgh received its first one-way bitcoin ATM machine.

In recent years, Scotland has discussed the possibility of an alternative currency to break away from the British pound with the Scotcoin. As Scotland continues to work at gaining its dependence from the UK, a new currency for the country could be on the cards too.

For now, though, Scotland is focusing primarily on boosting its FinTech sector that could ultimately see it as a competitor for London sooner rather than later.

Images from Shutterstock.

Rebecca Campbell