Manchester is positioned to take a major role in the fintech revolution, which has seen the UK outstrip the US in investment in the last six months, says one of the city’s top lawyers.
A lunch for leading members of Manchester’s professional services community and panel discussion, sponsored by law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, formed a key part of a programme of events welcoming the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
“The Mayor learned how fintech is flourishing in our region and that the city is at the forefront of financial technology, boosting Manchester’s reputation as a centre of innovation,” said Susan Hall, a partner of Clarke Willmott’s Intellectual Property team in Manchester
“His was a very much open and listening point of view. He was interested to know how the City of London could help promote the financial services industry here, what we need, and what we thought the strengths of the region were. It was a message of ‘we want you to succeed’ and that ‘we are here to assist you in what you need from us’.
“For many years Manchester has had a constructive, multi-stranded, coherent approach to inward investment – it was the first English city to put in place a ‘friendship city’ relationship with a Chinese city – and it’s great to see London recognising this.”
The Mayor’s visit comes as accountants KPMG announced that UK financial technology occupies the global top spot for investment in the first half of 2018, earning $16.1bn (£12.3bn) with China in second place with $15.1bn, and the US with $14.2bn.
“Fintech is definitely something we have on our radar here. People are seeing a changing landscape and are coming to us with ways in which they can produce technical solutions that work to support that changing landscape,” added Susan.
“Manchester is no longer seen as having regional focus but international focus. Rather than providing “back-office” functions for business based in the South, the city is now able to offer a “complete meal – with its large university hub, some 40,000 students, and an expertise in STEM going back almost 200 years – all working together to create the best outcome possible.”
The visit by the Lord Mayor of the City of London was organised by pro-Manchester, the largest business development organisation in the North West.
KPMG’s report predicts that investment into European fintech will remain robust until the end of 2018, with investments increasing in regtech, wealth management and digital identification verification.
Clarke Willmott LLP supports fintech companies to negotiate their journey from start-up to eventual exit. The firm also works with people who provide services such as encryption services, platforms and apps in the fintech sector, and advises on the regulatory implications of adopting specific disruptive technologies.