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Leeds City Region’s FinTech sector doubles in size since 2020

Leeds City Region’s FinTech sector doubles in size since 2020

Leeds City Region’s FinTech sector has doubled since 2020 and is responsible for adding more than £700m in gross value to the area according to a new report.

Whitecap Consulting identified more than 100 FinTech firms in the Leeds City Region, the vast majority of which are start-ups and scaleups, a segment which has tripled in number over the last three years.

Core strengths are visible in payments, lending, financial regulation, wealth management, and banking. The foundation for the flourishing FinTech sector is the region’s long-standing strength in financial services, combined with a vibrant and fast growing tech sector.

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Leeds City Council, speaking at the launch of the report, said: “Whitecap Consulting has provided structure and clarity to the FinTech ecosystem in this report, and the in-depth research and analysis both quantifies and qualifies the strength, growth and maturity within the sector.

“It is great to see double digit growth across all of the key metrics since 2020, and the report recognises the diversity and key strengths across the range of tech sub sectors, from RegTech to LegalTech.”

The new report is the result of a research project which was funded through sponsorship and support from organisations including: Leeds City Council, Leeds Building Society, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Bruntwood SciTech, Cloud Gateway, Equiniti, University of Leeds, FinTech North and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

It is the third report published by Whitecap on the Leeds City Region; the last was published early in 2020, just before the onset of the Covid pandemic.

Veracity Trust Networks’ CTO Stewart Boutcher attended the report’s launch in the city. He said: “I was delighted to be able to attend the launch of the Leeds City Region Fintech report and to speak further with Cllr Jonathan Pryor about Leeds City Council’s commitment to this important sector.

“We are looking forward to being fully engaged with colleagues in this ecosystem as part of our focus on supporting fintech and financial services organisations to protect their public websites from hostile bot activity. Congratulations to our friends at Fintech North for their involvement in this very important report.”

FinTech North is an organisation that convenes the FinTech community across the north of England and has organised more than 100 events since 2016. It was founded in Leeds, and is part of the FinTech National Network, which is made up of the UK’s key FinTech regions.

The Kalifa Review

In 2021 a strategic review of the UK FinTech sector was published (the Kalifa Review), which highlighted the growth of FinTech across the UK.

The Kalifa Review identified 10 key FinTech clusters in the UK, with the Leeds-Manchester cluster being cited as one of three ‘established’ clusters outside London. The Review also recommended the creation of the Centre for Financial Innovation and Technology (CFIT), which will be launched later this month.

The Leeds City Region is already home to more than 60 established national and international financial services organisations, all of which are active in FinTech, including numerous banks and lending firms, and three of the UK’s largest building societies.

Leeds is also the only city outside London to be home to all three of the UK’s major credit reference agencies.

The city is also host to Leeds Digital Festival, which is the UK’s largest tech festival, and in 2022 it included around 250 events and attracted 20,000 attendees from 60 countries.

Leeds City Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education, said: “Leeds has plenty to be proud of, not least the new Centre for Green Finance at The University of Leeds, the UK Infrastructure Bank and the Bank of England as well as the FCA’s recent move to the city, and the recognition of Leeds as part of an established FinTech cluster.

“FinTech start-ups, scale-ups and leading institutions alike are recognising Leeds is an exciting space for innovation and opportunity.”

Huge sector growth

Whitecap’s analysis shows huge growth of 263% in the number of FinTech startups and scaleups with a presence in the region, which now amount to 87 firms. In total there are 107 FinTech firms, and more than 200 firms identified as operating in the FinTech sector, including financial services and tech firms.

The sector has been boosted in recent years by the decisions of organisations such as LHV Bank, Iwoca, Recognise Bank, Global Shares, and PEXA to establish bases in the region.

New startups over the last two years include Answer Pay, the UK’s first certified provider of Request to Pay services, and Tred, which lays claim to be the only FinTech in Europe to be both B-Corp pending and a member of 1% For The Planet.

You can find out more about the region’s growth and download the report here:

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