Ireland's fintech sector capitalising on Brexit

The UK must consider the "specific push factors" prompting fintech businesses to leave, Tech London Advocates declares

A number of the UK's brightest fintech companies are setting up shop in Dublin, reportedly to hedge their bets against the potentially negative impact of Brexit. 

In the last week, both Revolt and Coinbase have announced plans to double their respective workforces in Ireland's capital and target institutions across Europe, according to The Irish Times.

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These firms join the Italian-backed and London-based Soldo bank, which has also joined Ireland's blossoming fintech sector, which appears to be benefiting from the UK's exit from the European Union.  

By moving to the Republic of Ireland, such fintech firms are set to bypass the continued uncertainty around trade deals and business operations that UK-based companies face as Britain continues to negotiate Brexit actions now that it has officially left the EU. 

"It is encouraging to see the expansion of Ireland's fintech ecosystem as it creates a compelling environment to scale tech businesses," said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates.

"From the UK perspective, however, we must consider the specific push factors prompting fintech businesses to leave the UK. If Brexit is the crux of this, then we can't be complacent. As we leave the EU, there's much to be done to ensure the environment is attractive to scaling fintechs. We must remind them of the opportunities the UK, and London, in particular, has to offer." 

Shaw is backed up by figures from Innovate Finance, published last week, that showcased the maturity and resilience of the UK's fintech sector. Startups attracted a record-high investment in 2019 - which he said confirmed that the UK is leading the way for fintech in Europe, despite uncertainty around Brexit.  "Fintech businesses leaving London would cease to benefit from an unparalleled innovation ecosystem - including a world-class financial hub to provide a mature customer base and investment," he added.  Shaw added that it's integral for the UK's government to immediately lift the cap on Tier 2 Visas to get access to the best talent from around the world.  According to The Irish Examiner, Ireland has some 7,000 fintech workers. Revolut, which already has 500,000 Irish customers signed up to its service and is in the process of applying for an e-money license in the country, only has 12 Irish employees at present, but there are plans to expand that to 40-50 by the end of the year.  "We remain committed to having London as our global headquarters, with Ireland planned to take on our Western Europe activities subject to authorisation from the CBI," said Richard Davies, CEO of Banking at Revolut. "Ireland was selected as a regional hub due to our large customer base in the country, and access to a highly educated and diverse pool of talent." 

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