Does Ireland have what it takes to be a fintech nation?

19 Apr 2016

Anna Scally, partner at KPMG and FPAI director. Image via Connor McKenna

Does Ireland have what it takes to consider itself a leading fintech nation? asked some of the country’s leading fintech figures at the recent Fintech Nation event.

Fintech Nation was an event organised by the relatively new Fintech Payments Association of Ireland (FPAI) and was the biggest event ever held in the country dealing specifically with fintech.

Set up to consolidate efforts to make Ireland an appealing country for fintech companies establishing here and to encourage multinationals to set up here, the FPAI is now helping more than 9,000 people working within the fintech sector in Ireland.

Yet, for the leading fintech figures spoken to at the major Fintech Nation event, the question of whether Ireland can be compared with the clearly established financial powerhouses of New York and London raised some interesting debate.

Deep talent in tech and finance

Despite the obvious difficulties in creating a direct comparison with cities that have populations more than 10-times larger in many cases, Ireland has achieved considerable success in what it has done so far.

Explaining further, PwC’s senior manager and financial services consultant, Malcolm Craig, said that the key to Ireland’s success now and in the future is to find our own ‘niche’ within fintech, and to become a central hub for that niche on a global scale.

Perhaps best summing up the situation was Anna Scally, partner at KPMG and FPAI director, who said of Ireland’s chances of success: “We have deep talent in both the technology and the financial services arena.

“We also have the deep-rooted connection to the international multinationals like Google, Facebook and other US multinationals.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic