By Jack Finucane-Clarke, Market Advisor, Fintech
Fintech is no longer seen as an existential threat to banks but as a deliverer of new possibilities for them. It’s something Ireland’s innovative fintech companies readily understand, which is why the country has emerged as a hotbed of fintech innovation, helping the industry respond not just to the challenges but to the opportunities arising from the digitisation of banking, payments and regulation.
It no doubt helped that Ireland has a long tradition of fintech. Irish company Fexco, a pioneer in payments, dates to 1981 – aeons in technology terms. Since then the country has successfully developed a strong cohort of companies providing a myriad of clever solutions to increasingly complex banking problems.
It’s a pedigree that includes mold-breaking companies such as dynamic currency conversion inventor Monex and international tax refunds and payments company Taxback, as well as online payments platform Stripe.
Ireland’s CV in this space includes international payments solutions provider Sentenial and global payments company Transfermate, as well as Leveris, whose Core Banking Platform caters to both newly minted challengers and forward-thinking legacy banks alike.
On the regtech side, Ireland is home to pioneers such as Corlytics, a world leader in regulatory risk intelligence, and Fenergo, developer of client lifecycle management technology that is used by major banks in every corner of the globe.
Ireland’s strength in the field is further reflected in having seven companies featured in the RegTech 100, a global index. Given that Ireland has a – young, dynamic and highly educated but still small – population of less than 5 million, it’s a clear indication of the wealth of expertise the country has in this field.
What’s more, the level of fintech innovation coming out of Ireland isn’t just continuing, it’s gathering pace, a fact seen in the growth of Irish financial services exports globally.
Regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations, the UK will remain a leading global financial services hub – and one whose activities are increasingly powered by innovative fintech Ireland solutions. Those bonds are already being actively strengthened and deepened on both sides, as Enterprise Ireland’s 13th annual financial services dinner in London made clear.
Michael D’Arcy TD, Ireland’s Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, spoke at the event on the importance of strengthening ties between both nations.
He mentioned that driving continuous innovation and research in the international financial services industry is a “key priority” for the Irish Government.
He added that this is supported by Ireland’s Financial Services Strategy (IFS2020), the government’s blueprint to providing clear and coordinated direction for Ireland as a financial services centre, and one that is supported and driven by all relevant public and private stakeholders,” he said.
He, also mentioned that Enterprise Ireland clients in this sector generated exports of almost €700 million last year, up 11% on 2016 and experienced growth in the UK at 8%, despite the challenges of Brexit.
Irish fintech and regtech companies are helping the world’s financial services industry respond to the challenges and opportunities it faces, from the digitisation of banking to new payments models and the ever-moving goalposts of compliance.
They are developing unique, innovative and robust solutions, from payments to cybersecurity, as well as developing applications that can power everything from mobile banking and crowdfunding to cryptocurrencies and blockchain.