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Fintech Talk: November 9, 2016

Immy Ransom

With the ever changing global political landscape and a growing fintech sector, numerous countries and cities are vying for fintech talent in order to establish themselves as recognised tech hubs, with varying regulation taking the spotlight. In the most current news, Trump’s election has sparked speculation about the implications for US business, and specifically for fintech. Business Insider UK reports on possible outcomes including a slow in fintech investment, less chance of fintech-specific regulation and restricted access to labor.

While Trump’s economic plan is not yet clear, the market uncertainty in the immediate, and potentially prolonged future is likely to cause hesitation among investors, slowing funding. With regard to immigration, Trump has expressed his plans to curb immigration significantly in the U.S., which is potentially damaging for attracting talent considering 51% of US unicorns are founded by immigrants and a large quantity of skilled workers and entrepreneurs from outside the country . 

The speculation comes following the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas Curry’s announcement a few days ago announcing a new fintech charter. He promised not to be lenient with fintech, after pressure from the fintech industry and some lawmakers to better coordinate how they regulate the emerging industry. The proposal earlier this year fostered debate between consumer groups that want banking laws to apply to fintech firms, and industry advocates seeking tailored rules for fintech.

Still in Brexit aftermath, the UK is making a hard push to maintain government support for the sector in the nation. Numerous industry leaders, led by fintech body Innovate Finance, have a series of meetings scheduled with trade and treasury officials to develop plans aiming to spark a “fintech Big Bang,” regardless of a hard or soft Brexit. The initiative looks to maintain the success the UK has had in fintech thus far, and to continue to attract talent and drive investment in light of more competition globally and the potential risks that Brexit poses in terms of financial accessibility.

Switzerland aims to overcome rival countries by introducing a specific “fintech” license that would free companies in the sector from facing the same regulations as banks. The move marks a bold liberal step, as compared to other nations, in luring in top tech talent. Meanwhile, Luxemburg leverages its strengths to ride the wave of the fintech revolution, and Hong Kong faces criticism over outdated system, encouraging startups to take up residence in the more accommodating Singapore and Shenzhen. 

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