Resilience, collaboration and talent: the core attributes strengthening Manchester’s fintech scene

Thursday, 14th March 2019

pro-manchester’s breakfast briefing in partnership with SkyParlour and MIDAS explored the reality of being a fintech in Manchester.

Hosted by SkyParlour’s co-founder, Angela Yore, the four-strong panel comprising: Rachel Eyre, Business Development at MIDAS; Jack Clancy Head of Professional Services at AccessPay; and Mark Robinson, Client Director at Finch Insurance Brokers dug deep into the successes of the fintech scene in the city and also explored how we move the story forward with clear outcomes.

Here we highlight the key takeaways and outcomes from our expert panel:

Q. So what are we already good at in Manchester when it comes to fintech?

Rachel: There are more than 60 fintech companies already located in Manchester spanning payments, platforms and cyber security. What’s more, we have everything that London has to offer but on a smaller (and more convenient) scale, so being connected cross-platform is much easier.

Mark: In a nutshell, the camaraderie across the city is second-to-none and is testament to the thriving fintech hub here, and something I really pick up on especially being from Yorkshire.

Jack: We’re really great at utilising the resources at our disposal, especially having the largest student population outside of London. We maximise the large talent pool which makes us standout as a hub for technology.

Q. And why are we so good?

Rachel: Manchester has an incredibly strong and developed economy which provides the perfect springboard for businesses to set up shop and flourish. We have the largest financial services and technology sectors outside London. This gives fintechs the perfect combination of access to talent and access to market opportunities. Fintechs and companies can also easily access different markets from the city such as RegTechs working with other heavily regulated industries including Advanced Manufacturing and life sciences organisations.

Mark: With Manchester being so close-knit, it’s an incredibly supportive community for fintechs of all sizes. Plus, the role that the investor community has with next generation of start-ups and the support of the city’s universities is an incredibly useful resource.

Jack: The existing financial servicing industry gives a wealth of knowledge plus the myriad of creative services offer great platforms. Whilst we didn’t have a huge amount of fintech experience to work with at the beginning companies have created their own talent pool which is expanding along with the number of fintechs in Manchester.

Q. How can fintechs capitalise on what the city has to offer?

Rachel: We’re not ashamed of shouting about what we’re doing in Manchester. With the big focus on cross-sector collaboration, we need to continue raising awareness of everything that is happening here. GCHQ will be another great opportunity for collaboration.

Mark: Not only that, but we’re quick to respond to the ever-changing nature of the digital banking scene and any regulations that are presented which further cements Manchester’s position as the leading light in fintech.

Jack: Our world-class universities are not to be underestimated either and must continue to be tapped into. For example, Access Pay supports the Knowledge Transfer Program with Manchester Metropolitan University, which sees master’s degree students working on AI and machine-learning projects within the company. Going forward, the arrival of GCHQ and Amazon in Manchester will provide new opportunities, helping us to rubber stamp the city’s tech position.

What are the key outcomes?

In order to keep strengthening Manchester’s fintech scene, it’s important we don’t just rest on our laurels – we must take action. That’s why, as a group, we have committed to the following outcomes:

• Host a follow-up session in six months
• Hold regular catch ups with the core panel members
• Continue to use the talent at Manchester’s universities and organisations, such as Northcoders

There’s clearly a lot to be proud of when it comes to Manchester’s flourishing fintech scene and events like this really highlight that. With that in mind, let’s all pledge to continue moving the sector forward in any way we can.

To find out more about fintech in Manchester and beyond, join us at pro-manchester’s Trailblazing Tech conference on Friday 22nd March.