More than 60 businessmen and women attended a special fintech conference at Fareham Innovation Centre, near Fareham in south Hampshire. From left, Richard May, Innovation Director at Fareham Innovation Centre, which is home to 40 pioneering businesses, Roxana Andrusca, Managing Director, Business Bloom, Claire Dorrian, Head of London & Southern Region, UK Primary Markets and Capital Markets, London Stock Exchange, and Carl Churchill, Managing Director, NetPay. Other speakers not pictured – Dan Salanson, Chief Commercial Officer, NatWest TYL, and Leon Deakin, Partner and Head of Technology, CoffinMew. The seminar was held at Fareham Innovation Centre’s Bridge Conference Centre, overlooking Solent Airport.

Next time you buy food and drink from a shop with your smartphone app or contactless bank card, spare a thought for the technology which underpins the digital transaction.  

Your purchase is part of the fintech revolution which is upending traditional financial services, enabling consumers to effortlessly pay businesses around the world, however small or remote the location. 

This buoyant challenger sector presents local ‘techtrepreneurs’ with commercial opportunity, attendees were told at the first fintech conference in the Solent region. 

Nearly 60 business men and women attended Future of FinTech at Fareham Innovation Centre, which is home to 40 pioneering companies, from start-ups to established ventures in the marine, engineering and aerospace sectors. 

With a focus on small to medium enterprises, of which there are 5.7 million in the UK, comprising 99% of all businesses, the event included keynote speakers and roundtable discussions. 

Future of FinTech was sponsored by UKSPA member Oxford Innovation, which runs Fareham Innovation Centre, the London Stock Exchange and NatWest, with support from regional law firm CoffinMew and Southampton-based NetPay, a leading player in the global card processing market. 

According to a government report, the UK fintech sector employs more than 76,500 people, a figure set to grow to 105,500 by 2030, and generates £6.6 billion in revenue.  

There are 1,600-plus fintech firms in the UK – estimates suggest this will more than double within the next 11 years – and the vast majority say they expect to increase fintech partnerships. 

Against this backdrop, Richard May, the Innovation Director at Fareham Innovation Centre, told attendees that the idea of #solentfintech was to create a fintech cluster in the Solent, with potential for partnerships and collaborations. 

He said: “Today this cluster for the Solent region has been born. A lot of digital businesses will have to think how they can start to add in financial transactional elements to what they do and, by doing so, they become somewhat fintech. 

“Fintech can be seen as oxygen that all businesses need consider, when they think of their workflows and what they are trying to achieve. 

“Businesses which don’t embrace fintech run the real risk of not being able to capture the eyes and pockets of customers.”  

Roxana Andrusca, Managing Director of Business Bloom, organised the Future of FinTech event.

She said: “Financial technologies are upending financial services through digitised mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising and asset management, often through the tap of your finger on the smartphone.

“For example, new PIN-on-glass technology in the payments industry means micro-sized merchants will be able to accept PIN transactions on a smartphone or tablet, doing away with the security risks and end-of-day reconciliations that come with cash in old-fashioned tills.

 “To regain competitive edge, know that more than half of traditional financial institutions* have put disruption at the heart of their strategy, and this provides real opportunity for fintechs here in the Solent region.

“Fintechs generate an array of jobs, boosting regional employment, including software developers, systems engineers, project managers, marketing, sales people and account managers.”

Keynote speakers were Dan Salanson, Chief Commercial Officer, NatWest TYL, Leon Deakin, Partner and Head of Technology, CoffinMew, Claire Dorrian, Head of London & Southern Region, UK Primary Markets and Capital Markets, London Stock Exchange, and Carl Churchill, Managing Director, NetPay, a card processing technology specialist based near Southampton whose technology is involved in card processing transactions in the UK.

Afterwards, roundtable discussions considered emerging technologies and business models, along with challenges and opportunities for corporate and start-ups.

Challenges surrounding fintech include regulations, compliance, data privacy, cybersecurity and fundraising – more than a third of fintechs reportedly saw fundraising as their top priority, ahead of research and development.

NatWest’s fintech ventures include mettle (digital business bank), esme (term finance), Rapid Cash (trade and working capital), APtimise and tyl (payments and transactions) and Path and freeagent (business solutions/advice).

Submitted on 23/09/2019