Landmark Project Announced to Analyze FinTech Ecosystem in South West England

Photo by Kevin Ku

A new initiative has been unveiled, marking a significant milestone in the development of the South West’s financial technology (FinTech) industry. The project, which aims to conduct the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the FinTech ecosystem in the region, will be a collaborative effort involving public and private sector organizations, as well as higher education institutions.

Leading the endeavour is Whitecap Consulting, a renowned regional strategy consultancy with a track record of conducting similar projects across various regional FinTech ecosystems. Their previous analysis of FinTech in the Bristol & Bath region, published in 2020, has set the stage for this wider-ranging study, spanning from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire down to Dorset and Cornwall. The research will focus on developing data and insights related to the region’s FinTech capability and potential.

Several sponsors and partners have already come forward to support this groundbreaking initiative. Notable participants include Osborne Clarke, Cardstream, Integration Works, Invest Bristol & Bath, RSM UK, University of the West of England (UWE), and FinTech West. Additional sponsors are expected to be announced in the near future.

Julian Wells, Director and Financial Services & FinTech Lead at Whitecap Consulting, expressed enthusiasm about the project, stating, “We are excited to be working on this new project and supporting the growth of FinTech in the South West, and it will be fascinating to uncover the FinTech story of the many key hubs of the region. We’ve previously analyzed the tech sector across the South West for a report, so we are acutely aware of the diverse range of tech strengths in the region.”

Mark Wesker, Corporate Partner & International Financial Services Sector Leader at Osborne Clarke, emphasized the significance of the project, saying, “This is a landmark project for the South West, and we are delighted to be involved as a headline sponsor. Our work in FinTech, and the financial services and tech sectors more broadly, clearly highlights the depth, strength, and entrepreneurial spirit of this region. We believe this report will not only shine a light on the great things already happening in our FinTech ecosystem but will also give some clear pointers as to how we can realize its full potential moving forward.”

Expected to be published during the summer, the report will be made publicly available, offering insights into the FinTech ecosystem, along with recommendations and suggested actions to bolster the sector’s economic contribution to the regional economy. It will also reflect on the progress made since the 2020 report, which identified over 100 firms operating in the FinTech sector, including 28 startups and scale-ups—an impressive number compared to areas with populations several times larger. Preliminary analysis indicates that the region has experienced significant growth since then.

Moreover, the report will establish links between the South West’s FinTech landscape and the broader national FinTech sector in the UK. The Kalifa Review, a strategic review of UK FinTech published in February 2021, underscored the strength of key regional FinTech clusters across the country and identified the Bristol and Bath region as one of the top 10 clusters.

Charlotte Crosswell OBE, Chair of the recently launched Centre for Finance, Innovation & Technology (CFIT), lauded the region’s FinTech achievements and expressed her enthusiasm for the project. She stated, “The South West, and in particular the Bristol & Bath region, has a reputation as a strong FinTech hub and is home to some nationally significant brands including Moneyhub, Seccl, and LOQBOX. I’m delighted to see the continued growth in FinTech activity across the UK, and I am really enthused to see the region collaboratively investing in the development of its FinTech sector via this project.

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