Tuesday 12 August 2014

What is Fintech? Will it be an Engine for Growth or a Seven Day Wonder?

Jane Lambert

Fintech is short for financial technology, that is to say payment systems, services, software and data analytics. According to Fintech The UK’s unique  environment for growth the industry is worth £20 billion with payments technology accounting for about half those sales. The same report states that the UK and Irish Republic are the fastest growing region for fintech and that £265 million was invested in the industry in 2013.

As a result of this investment boom there has been growing interest in fintech from government and investors. In a speech to Innovate Finance at Level 39 on 6 Aug 2014 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced several new measures to encourage investment in fintech.  On 2 July 2014 Santander announced that it had set up a $100 million investment fund in London. There are now all sorts of fintech enterprises which are monitored by such companies as FinTechCity which publishes the annual Fintech 50.

Although London is an important market for financial technology it is important to note that there were only 3 British firms in 2013 FinTech 100 Rankings Released By IDC Financial Insights, American Banker, and Bank Technology News compared to 10 from India and many more from the USA. On page 11 of The Boom in Global Fintech Investment A new growth opportunity for London Accenture London identified the following challenges for London's fintech cluster:

  • London's fintech industry is relatively immature;
  • there are many first more time entrepreneurs than elsewhere in the world
  • it is harder for them to raise funding than their US counterparts.
In How far (if at all) is it possible to protect Innovation in Financial Technology? 12 Aug 2014 IP Yorkshire I spotted yet another difficulty, namely that it is much harder to obtain patent protection for fintech inventions than it is in China, Japan, Korea and the USA.

Interest in fintech has mushroomed and could subside just as quickly but until it does I shall be keeping an eye on the legal issues and particularly IP relating to this technology.  The name fintech is new but I have followed the topic ever since the early 80s when I was legal advisor to VISA for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I wrote one of the first articles on the subject in EFTS: the Emerging Legal Issues LSGaz 1984 and I contributed a section on electronic banking to Butterworths Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents in 1985. If there is sufficient interest in the legal issues relating to fintech I shall try to hold a workshop or seminar on the topic in chambers. In the meantime here is a reading list which I shall no doubt extend from time to time. If anybody wants to discuss this article or the law relating to fintech in general he or she can call me during office hours on 020 7404 5252 or message me through my contact form. You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+Linkedin or Xing.

Further Reading

General Introductions
FinTechCity  The FinTech 50 (downloadable from Welcome to The FinTech 50)
IPC Financial Insights and others 2013 FinTech 100 Rankings 7 Nov 2013

Press Releases
Santander  "Santander to launch a $100M fund for fintech companies out of London" 2 July 2014

George Osborne "Chancellor on developing FinTech"  6 Aug 2014

Intellectual Property



No comments:

Post a Comment