Ireland is in direct competition with numerous countries to develop itself as a global hub for fintech. John Murphy, Fintech leader at PwC, tells us why.
“The US: east coast and west coast. Singapore. In Europe there’s Luxembourg and then the UK, London in particular.”
John Murphy, a fintech leader with PwC, has listed off the geographical challenges Ireland faces in trying to position itself as a global fintech hub. That’s before you look at what’s actually happening within the increasingly innovative industry.
For example, the pace of change means it’s increasingly hard to pin down what area a country like Ireland should challenge. Is payments the key? “Or is it saturated already?” he asked. Despite this opening warning, Murphy said he thinks Ireland is very well placed to capitalise on its current position of strength.
That’s because the past 12 months have seen several positive moves in the broader fintech space in Ireland, with the creation of the Fintech and Payments Association of Ireland (FPAI) “giving the industry a voice”, the review of the IFS2020 strategy and the recent European financial forum being held in this country all positives.
But there are real challenges ahead, challenges which the state can really help the industry out on, according to Murphy. “We need to focus on regulation, funding for start-ups, encouraging entrepreneurship, as well as encouraging incubation and acceleration,” said Murphy, noting how the UK has already met these challenges head on,
For example, over a dozen retail banking licences have been allocated to challenger banks by the end of the decade, “that’s big. They have capital gains tax reliefs for entrepreneurs, which will extend into investors soon, too.”
Working together, from an industry as well as state perspective, is what Murphy wants most of all. And that’s before he gets to the challenges facing the likes of traditional banks, who view disruption as a top priority now.
The future looks positive, but the challenges are real, if Ireland wants to make itself the centre of the fintech revolution.