Whitecap Consulting, the regional strategy consultancy, is collaborating with key regional stakeholders across the public, private and higher education sectors on an expansion plan for growth and jobs in the North East FinTech sector.
The project follows an independent national strategic review which identified the Newcastle and Durham area as one of the top ten FinTech clusters in the UK. The Review of UK FinTech, published in February 2021, showed the fast-growing sector now generates £11bn of GVA for the UK each year.
FinTech, the use of technology to enhance the delivery of financial services, is a growth industry in the wider North East region that has been driven by substantial levels of investment and employment.
Dr Henry Kippin, Managing Director of the North of Tyne Combined Authority, says the new strategy would help build the growing digital ecosystem of the region, and create jobs. He said:
“We are investing to unlock job creation right across our economy. The FinTech sector has been a significant source of jobs, inward investment, and economic growth in the recent years. The development of a strategy for the future growth of FinTech will unlock potential, differentiate the North of Tyne and the wider region as a key cluster, and further galvanise collaboration. It’s a pleasure to be working with Whitecap and our key stakeholders in the public, private, and higher education sectors to extend our backing to this initiative.”
Ron Kalifa OBE, who led the Review of UK FinTech, said:
“The importance of our regional fintech clusters to the continued success of UK fintech should not be underestimated. That is why the Fintech Review focused on putting forward a new approach and delivery model for the UK that would nurture their high growth potential and enhance national connectivity. This included a recommendation for each of the top 10 fintech clusters, such as Newcastle and Durham in the North East, to develop a three-year fintech strategy. I am therefore delighted to hear that this work is progressing. This new strategy for the North East will generate opportunities, secure investment and ultimately create the much-needed jobs both the region and the country needs to build back better.”
Edward Twiddy, Chief Customer Officer at Atom bank said:
“Fintech is all about competition and innovation, and this requires a strategic approach to investment and collaboration. We’re supporting this initiative so that the everyone with a responsibility and interest in the North East’s fintech sector continues to look forward and has the insight needed to make better decisions and create better businesses.”
Newcastle University is the founding sponsor of the project, and Karen Elliott, Associate Professor (Fintech), Newcastle University Business School, said:
“Having featured in the Kalifa Review, I know the vital importance of championing the fintech ecosystem across North East from a ‘pracademic’ perspective by securing the future talent pipeline and co-leading high quality projects such as FinTrust and Finclusion. I am extremely interested in the outputs of the latest Whitecap strategy project in auditing the context for establishing an internationally significant ‘Digital Ethics Hub’ in Newcastle. This will explore the socio-technical features of the fintech landscape expertise in providing skills in ethical and responsible innovation.”
Due to be published this summer, the strategy will build on an analysis of the FinTech sector in the North East conducted by Whitecap in 2019.
It will create a roadmap for the future development of FinTech in the North East region including the North of Tyne, Durham, Wearside and Teesside, backed by key regional stakeholders including Atom bank, Invest Newcastle, Invest North East England, Newcastle University, North of Tyne Combined Authority, and Northumbria University. FinTech North will also support the project via its marketing and events activity, including its forthcoming conference in Newcastle on 14th July.
Supported and co-funded by these organisations, the strategy will consider how the region’s research and innovation strengths and proximity to other emerging hubs can provide a foundation for growth and jobs.
It follows the recommendations made in 2021 by the Review of UK FinTech, conducted at the request of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to identify priority areas to support, including the development of Centre for Financial Innovation & Technology (CFIT), and collaboration across regional hubs.
Rachel Burdis, Inward Investment Manager, Invest North East England, said:
“North East England has a burgeoning tech sector, with fintech businesses successfully locating here & benefitting from skilled local people, business support networks and centres of excellence. Invest North East England support the creation of a regional fintech strategy so as to harness the full potential of this sector and to position the North East as a destination of choice for fintech companies.”
Speaking of his enthusiasm for the North East FinTech strategy, Northumbria University Business Development Manager, Vince Robson, said:
“We continue to be excited by the opportunities presented by the development of new and emerging technologies which are transforming financial and other sectors. Northumbria University is delighted to be contributing to a strategy which will foster increased employment and opportunities for our students and graduates and create opportunities to exchange new knowledge to support, in the context of place, economic growth and prosperity for the North East region.“
Chris Sier, HM Treasury FinTech Envoy & Chairman, FinTech North, said:
“As a visiting professor at both Newcastle University and Durham University, I am a keen follower of developments in the North East and am acutely aware of the growing level of FinTech activity across this region. Following the recommendations of Kalifa Review and the increased focus on levelling up, it is very encouraging to hear the North East is coming together to work on this project, and I look forward to seeing the outputs.”
In addition to its inaugural North East report, Whitecap Consulting has analysed and reported on regional FinTech ecosystems in the UK including: Leeds, Manchester, West Midlands, North East, Bristol, and Northern Ireland.