FinTech Wales London Stock Exchange
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FinTech Wales Celebrates Brightest Welsh Firms on St David’s Day at London Stock Exchange

FinTech Wales, the independent membership association and champion of the fintech and financial services industry in Wales, officially opened the trading market this morning at the London Stock Exchange Group‘s headquarters.

Joined by fintechs from Wales’ burgeoning ecosystem, the Welsh Secretary of State, Starling Bank, LexisNexis and Mastercard, Sarah Williams-Gardener, chair at FinTech Wales, launched the London Stock Exchange market — kicking off not only the day’s trading on the stock exchange, but also a celebration of one of the brightest industries in Wales.

As well as toasting the achievements of fintech in Wales, the occasion also provided the opportunity to put the spotlight on some of the most exciting firms emerging from the region.

While London so often takes much of the plaudits regarding fintech success in the UK, FinTech Wales continues to make strides in its effort to make the country a global fintech hub in its own right. In fact, investment into Welsh fintechs has increased by over 300 per cent since 2022, according to its latest Annual Report.

“I was delighted to celebrate St David’s Day by opening the London Stock Exchange with FinTech Wales. We have a fantastic thriving Welsh financial services technology sector supporting 16,000 jobs across Wales which continues to go from strength to strength,” explained David TC Davies MP, Secretary of State for Wales.

Williams-Gardener also discussed the country’s recent successes: “The past year has been positive, with significant achievements, growth, and advancements within our ecosystem. We are proud of the progress we have made, the collaborations we have fostered, and the opportunities that lie ahead, and what better way to celebrate the Welsh fintech ecosystem than to host the stock market open ceremony on St David’s Day.”

Wales Week London

FinTech Wales’ market opening forms part of Wales Week London, an annual showcase of activities and events promoting and celebrating the best of Welsh organisations. It aims to make the most of the industry’s attention which is focused on England’s capital.

Mike Jordan, co-founder of Wales Week
Mike Jordan, co-founder of Wales Week

Before the ceremony kicked off, Mike Jordan, co-founder of Wales Week, sat down with The Fintech Times to share his enthusiasm for supporting the growth of good ideas in Wales: “Wales Week London was born from a simple idea, as myself and fellow co-founder Dan Langford were frustrated with the lack of volume that comes out of the Welsh diaspora outside of Wales, particularly in and around St David’s Day.

“It’s very much about St David’s Day and all of us celebrating our national day, but making much more volume and energy with lots more events.

“Wales Week is now the largest annual programme of events that celebrate and promote Wales every year. Over the last seven years, around 70,000 people have attended about 600 or so events. In our eighth successive year, we’ve had nearly 130 activities that have taken place in and around London.

“FinTech Wales is promoting the sector in Wales, pulling in talent and uplifting the sector, while getting more good ideas from it. This particular ceremony is really important for FinTech Wales to raise the profile of the good work they are doing and because that falls in line with what we’re doing, we just want to amplify this message – to help Wales shout louder and put our heads above the parapet.”

Celebrating fintech growth

Looking at the stats, it certainly appears as though these efforts are working. Financial and related professional services now employ over 64,000 people in Wales, up from 55,000 in 2022.

Fintechs across the globe have recently experienced difficult years due to current macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions. While Wales has felt the effect of this too, with a reduced hiring rate across the board, some Welsh fintechs continue to grow rapidly.

Toby Kernon, founder and CEO of Wagonex
Toby Kernon, founder and CEO of Wagonex

One such firm is Wagonex, a mobility-as-a-service platform offering cars on subscription-based in Cardiff, which has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of employees in Wales in the last year with a further 30 per cent increase of staff expected for 2024.

The importance of championing the fintech ecosystem in Wales is not lost on Toby Kernon, founder and CEO of Wagonex, who said: “Growing Wagonex in Wales has given us access to the thriving Welsh fintech ecosystem. We are great advocates for the work that FinTech Wales is doing towards developing the ecosystem here in Wales.

“The market open ceremony today is an example of how FinTech Wales amplifies the fintech sector, showcasing Welsh fintech companies to a wider audience in London.”

Jim Fell, founder and CEO of Credit Canary
Jim Fell, founder and CEO of Credit Canary

Jim Fell, founder and CEO of Credit Canary, a debt services agency looking to support borrowers facing financial distress, also attended the market open ceremony and told us about the importance of the support it receives from the Welsh fintech sector: “It’s a great honour for Credit Canary to be invited to attend the opening of the London Stock Exchange, representing Wales’ thriving fintech sector on St David’s Day.

“As a Welsh fintech, we’re proud to highlight our country’s world-class innovation and talent. Wales has emerged as a leading fintech hub thanks to organisations like FinTech Wales that nurture startups’ success and growth. Credit Canary is thriving due to the exceptional support of our fintech peers in Wales, and we hope to inspire the next generation of financial disruptors and entrepreneurs.”

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