Burbidge fights FinTech’s corner around the world
Global news & events Eileen Burbidge is passionate about fintech and business which makes her an ideal champion for the UK sector which is growing rapidly and grabbing international attention.
There are few more vocal supporters of the British fintech industry than Eileen Burbidge.
A regular speaker on the fintech circuit and the British Treasury’s Special Envoy for the sector, she is optimistic and confident about the future.
“The industry has changed and developed significantly even over the past 12 months as the fintech ecosystem goes from strength to strength,” says Burbidge, a founding partner of early-stage technology venture capital investment firm Passion Capital.
She is speaking at London Fintech Week, an event which has generated considerable interest globally this year.
“Last year people were impressed that there even was a London Fintech Week, and this time it’s an obvious event and a reflection of how quickly the industry is progressing in terms of value creation.”
She says emerging technologies and increased funding for fintech start-ups are driving growth.
“Investment in UK tech has risen dramatically as the sector has matured. We saw four-times more venture financing in 2015 compared to the year before with investors from the UK, the US, South America, Asia and across Europe,” says Burbidge. “There’s also more collaboration between traditional financial services players, the incumbents, and new fintech businesses.”
So why are international investors so keen to put their money into the UK?
“The spotlight clearly shows how the UK is the best place to start a fintech company. We have unique
the banking heritage and a great pool of talent. For example, we have more software developers and software engineers in London than any city in the world.
“Even more crucially, we also have a very progressive regulatory environment and a government which clearly supports fintech, and I hope that to carry on under the new Prime Minister Theresa May.”
Burbidge was made an MBE for services to UK Business in June 2015. She sat on former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group where she represented not only fintech but the broader digital sector and is also the Chair of TechCity UK.
If UK fintech is to maintain its current level of expansion Burbidge says regulators including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must continue to listen to those working in the sector, which it already does so well.
“Regulators are apolitical so their support will be unchanged even in the new political environment following the EU referendum,” she says. “I’m confident the regulator will continue to champion increased innovation, greater competition and consumer protection to boost trust. And I hope the government will continue to help ensure UK fintech businesses can still get the best talent from within the EU and around the world.”
She believes the onus is on new companies to promote transparency to increase consumer and business confidence, and that start-ups must think about the customer experience during their development stage.
“To be fair, this approach is deep-rooted in the DNA of most fintech start-ups that are competing with traditional financial services by reacting to the changing expectations many consumers have.”
Burbidge is also confident that the growth in the fintech industry will improve financial inclusion and bring affordable money services to disadvantaged segments of society.
Her passion is reassuring for any industry during uncertain economic times.