Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at some of the latest UK fintech news. This week, COVID contributes to widening the gender pension gap, as well as sparking a digital investment boom in UK fintech.
Creator economy set to transform the post-pandemic job market
Gen Z ‘side-hustlers’ are set to disrupt the post-pandemic job market, according to new research from VibePay, with 18-23-year-olds focusing on building their own businesses, rather than following a traditional career path.
Luke Massie, CEO of VibePay, said: “The rapid growth of the creator economy is set to transform the job market for Gen Z and the generations coming after them, as they no longer follow a traditional career path. Instead, they are already building businesses with huge global audiences and loyal followers on platforms such as Twitch and TikTok and social commerce sites like Depop and Etsy. We have seen this trend gain momentum throughout the pandemic and the next 12 months will demonstrate that the creator economy is more than a short-lived youth culture trend.”
COVID contributes to widening gender pension gap
Figures from more2life have shown that the gender pensions gap has widened to more than £180k among the over-55s with the gap increasing by £26k in the last year as a result of COVID. The research also revealed 30% of women say their financial situation has worsened since the start of the pandemic and it has hampered their ability to fund or save for later life, compared to 24% of men.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There are things that women can do to plug the gap. It’s not too late to make a difference to your pension value by continuing to contribute after the age of 55. You should also check with your employer to see if they will match any further contributions as this can give your retirement planning a real boost. State pension and benefits also form an important part of your retirement income and so you should check what you are entitled to and whether there are any gaps that need to be filled.”
Cambridge Judge Business School and Esme Learning to Launch Online Programmes
Cambridge Judge Business School and Esme Learning, the AI-powered digital learning platform, have announced a collaboration to empower working professionals’ career development across frontier fields. The multi-year collaboration commences with two inaugural six-week online executive education programmes focusing on startup finding and AI for financial regulation.
“We are delighted that the Cambridge Judge Business School has joined our growing family of university partners to deliver critical knowledge and skills to build the workforce of tomorrow,” said David Shrier, CEO and co-founder at Esme Learning. “Our suite of programmes with Cambridge Judge Business School integrate Esme Learning’s measurable, collaborative approach in online learning with the School’s internationally renowned tradition of research and action. The result is two programmes offering actionable insights for business leaders that advance the state of the art of digital learning.”
One in eight young shoppers have used a BNPL scheme following social influencer recommendations
Research carried out by money.co.uk on more than 2,000 UK adults found that more than one in eight young consumers (13%) admit that social media influencers pay a part in their decision to use the payment schemes – up a quarter since 2020.
Those aged 18-24 are more than three times as likely to use a BNPL platform (54.24%) than use money in their overdrafts (17.56%). It also revealed that Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers aged 18-34 are the most prolific returners, with more than half (55%) using BNPL to buy items and then return them
James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk said: “Buy Now Pay Later platforms regularly promote themselves as an alternative to credit cards. With easy application processes and bold savings claims, it’s easy to see their appeal in the eyes of consumers. But the reality is that the savings offered by BNPL borrowing are at best negligible compared to traditional credit cards, and at worst could end up costing you far more in the long run.
“It’s vital that consumers understand the risks involved with this kind of borrowing and act responsibly to ensure they don’t spend more than they can afford. If not, we could face a generational debt trap with large numbers of consumers trapped in a cycle of borrowing and repayment that they can’t get out of.“
COVID-19 sparks digital investment boom in UK fintech
The UK saw a staggering $24.5 billion of fintech investment (M&A, PE and VC) in the first half of 2021, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech, a bi-annual report on fintech investment trends.
The UK’s total was second only to the US ($42.1 billion) and over four times the level of investment seen in the UK through the entirety of 2020 ($5.9 billion). The investment total was boosted by the $14.8 billion Refinitiv deal and the record volume of deals completed – 283 – the most since the report began. In particular, VC investment surged with fintech-focused VC investment in the UK reaching $6.2 billion, more than double what we saw in H2’20.
Karim Haji, EMA and UK Head of Financial Services, KPMG, says: “UK fintechs attracted significantly more funding than their counterparts in the rest of EMEA combined. COVID-19 has spurred a race to digital in UK financial services and many of the major banks have dipped into their investment pots for digitalisation – a major reason we are seeing so much corporate investment. This timing, together with the UK’s reputation as a historic financial services sector and ongoing work to nurture fintechs, from testing through to listing, makes the UK a magnet for investment.
Four out of ten UK crypto investors have sold to capitalise on gains
New research from UK based money app Ziglu reveals 39% of cryptocurrency investors have sold some of their holdings in the past 12 months to capitalise on their gains. Just over one in five (22%) sold up to £500 of their cryptocurrency holdings, 8% sold between £500 and £1,000, and 9% sold more than this.
Cryptocurrency valuations saw a protracted decline between mid-May and the start of a recovery during the last week of July. During this period 35% of cryptocurrency exchange transactions on the Ziglu app were people selling cryptocurrencies. However, this is significantly outweighed by the 65% of people buying, with many clearly seeing the recent fall in valuations as a buying opportunity.
Mark Hipperson, Founder and CEO of Ziglu said: “Cryptocurrencies can be volatile, and as with any investment it is often sensible to realise some gains – even if this is a matter of holding the profit as cash ready to reinvest. This is particularly relevant when it comes to cryptocurrencies, as many have seen huge increases in their valuations over the past year or so.”
House of Commons puts 2,658 staff through cyber training
The House of Commons has put 2,658 out of its approximately 3,000 strong workforce on an eight-part cybersecurity training course in the most recent financial year (FY 20/21), according to official figures obtained by the Parliament Street think tank using Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation
The eight-part course called ‘Annual Essentials Certification’ covers training in cybersecurity and cybercrime, including awareness of phishing, the need to set strong passwords and how to work safely online. The data revealed that 2,207 staffers attended the course in the previous financial year, FY 19/20.
Tim Sadler, CEO at Tessian added, “It’s encouraging to see that Parliament is taking security training and awareness seriously. Employees need access to the tools and knowledge to help them make smarter cybersecurity decisions and think twice before clicking. This training, though, can’t be a one-time, tick-box exercise. Training needs to be continuous and contextual if it’s going to resonate with people and stop mistakes from turning into breaches.”
Almost 9 million people never check they are getting the best deal on regular outgoings
New research from Yolt, the award-winning smart money app, has revealed that over one in six (16%) UK adults never review some of their key household expenses. This indicates that the 8.6 million in the UK who are ‘bill blind’ could be missing out on the most competitive deals available. This follows Ofgem’s recent announcement that the energy price cap is set to rise 12% this October – the biggest increase to date. On top of this, Yolt’s internal user data indicates that spending on household utilities, such as gas, electric, broadband and water, has increased by 7% year-on-year from April 2020 to April 2021.
Pauline van Brakel, Chief Product Officer at Yolt comments: “Our own user data shows utility bills are rising, adding additional strain to household finances. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re on a tariff that gives you the best value. Switching providers using price comparison websites via Yolt partner MoneySuperMarket could save you hundreds of pounds – and help turn those not-so-good habits into good ones.”