The Case for FinTech in Northern Ireland
Over the past 12 years, Northern Ireland has been establishing a reputation as a global hub for fintech, regtech and cyber.
The region offers a combination of great infrastructure, competitive costs and supportive administration but above all a talented, well educated workforce with a superb work ethic. Among the globally recognised financial services firms which have well established operations in Northern Ireland are Citi, Liberty Mutual, Allstate and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). There are indigenous firms too like First Derivatives serving international client bases from the region.
These operations are providing a wide range of services from funds administration, compliance operations, and risk management and legal services to cyber security, analytics and software development.
Cyber security is one area of rapid growth in the region. US companies such as Proofpoint, WhiteHat Security, Rapid7, Alert Logic and Black Duck all have offices in the region and have contributed to Belfast gaining a place as the top international investment location for US cyber security development projects. Much of the success of this sector has been thanks to The Centre for Secure Information Technologies. The center which is part of Queen’s University Belfast is the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security.
A strong partnership approach and collaboration between Northern Ireland’s two universities, local government and global companies has driven innovation and world class research in capital markets technology. Over 2,000 software engineers and systems architects are employed in the development of trading technology platforms for global financial services companies including Citi, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Cowen Group, Vela Trading Technologies and Fidessa.
Another strong cluster of companies is active in governance, risk and compliance (GRC) technology for financial services and other sectors. Innovative start-ups are delivering solutions globally and international investors include major financial institutions and world-leading cyber security companies. Among these are Proofpoint, which acquired Northern Ireland start-up MailDistiller and whose customers include the world’s five largest banks; Metacompliance, provider of automated compliance software and Arkk Solutions which has developed proprietary technology solutions for regulatory frameworks.
Leading consultancy houses PwC and Deloitte are investing heavily in their technology teams in Northern Ireland with PwC Belfast having the largest group of blockchain specialists in the consultancy worldwide.
Embracing FinTech Talent
Inward investors and local companies alike are benefiting from the talent the region has to offer. Northern Ireland recognises that the ability to supply specialised talent is crucial to establishing and maintaining a global position in technology.
Students at Queen's University Belfast
Government, industry and academia have implemented a number of collaborative initiatives in training and education, such as financial services, cyber and data analytics academies, to ensure the workforce continues to meet the needs of the global technology industry.
In addition to extensive AI, data science and software engineering courses, the region’s two universities - Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University - run a growing number of fintech-related graduate training schemes, and both have developed state-of-the-art trading room facilities for students, equipped with Bloomberg terminals.
To learn more about the future of Fintech in Northern Ireland, click here. Invest NI will be joining us again at FinTech Connect 2019. To pre-register your interest in this year's show, subscribe now.