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Up there with the best: Belfast’s reputation as a fintech hiring hub

5 Dec 2022

Belfast has been identified as a key fintech hub and there are plenty of companies hiring in this space.

Belfast has been named as one of the best UK cities outside of London for a career in finance.

UK trading company CMC Markets analysed data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, published in March 2022. It looked at finance enterprises in 342 UK districts, excluding London, and the latest available population statistics.

Belfast came out as one of the top locations, along with cities such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester. It was the only location in Northern Ireland to make the top 15 ranking.

According to the report, Belfast has 150 finance companies in a city with a population of around 342,500 people.

In particular, Belfast has been developing a reputation for financial technology and was identified last year as a key fintech hub by the UK Treasury.

FinTechNI, the organisation that represents the sector in Northern Ireland, has been working on a strategy to propel the region’s £392m fintech sector onto the international stage.

“Our ambition is to supercharge the sector by 2024 by attracting an additional £25m in foreign direct investment, establishing more than 10 new international partnerships and taking our current total of 74 fintech companies to more than 100,” Andrew Jenkins, fintech envoy for Northern Ireland, wrote in 2021 following the strategy’s publication.

There has also been a push to connect this growing fintech presence to the industry in Ireland. The Fintech Corridor (TFC) is a cross-border initiative established to drive collaboration between enterprises along the financial corridor between Dublin and Belfast.

TFC is doing a lot of work to ensure that there is a pipeline of skilled workers ready to enter the fintech sector. Earlier this year, it teamed up with Dublin City University to launch a course in financial intelligence and technology. Last year, it also partnered with Ulster University to boost fintech education.

These educational initiatives and industry strategies are clearly paying off as plenty of companies have started up or expanded in Belfast over the past two years.

Here are just a few of the fintech companies that have chosen Belfast and Northern Ireland as a location from which to grow and hire talent.

The Bank of London

The London-headquartered clearing agency and transaction bank announced in June that it was creating 232 jobs in Belfast. The roles, including payments leaders and software engineers, are to be based at its new centre of excellence in the city.

Once all the jobs are in place, they will generate an estimated £20m worth of annual salaries for the local economy.

Options Technology

The fintech has had a presence in Belfast since 2014. It is the company’s largest base out of all its global locations, and its CEO is based there.

In October 2021, Options Technology said it was growing its team again, adding 150 new recruits over the next 18 months.

FinTru

A regtech company based in Belfast, FinTru recently expanded into Portugal. It plans to create 500 new jobs at this new global client delivery centre in Porto over the next few years.

FinTru helps global investment banks and other financial institutions with regulatory resourcing services. It also recently established a new centre in Letterkenny, a move which created 300 jobs.

Payroc

The US payments processing company announced plans to expand into Northern Ireland last year, creating 75 new roles in areas from software engineering to data analytics.

The roles were advertised as remote, meaning applications were open to people across Northern Ireland.

Lightyear

The Belfast-headquartered fintech software company said it was doubling its workforce in the city in 2020 following a £1m investment.

Lightyear was planning to hire 12 people as part of its global expansion plans. As well as the Belfast office, it has a base in Australia.

Datactics

The Ulster University spin-out specialises in data management for the financial services sector. Following a £2m fundraise led by Par Equity last year, Datactics invested £2.3m in R&D and skills development, leading to the creation of 18 jobs.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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