The FinTech Five – 23rd February 2024

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Welcome to Fintech Five, a fortnightly look at the best articles, news and insights from FinTech Wales members and the Financial Services industry across the UK.

1.FinTech Wales announces Sarah Kocianski as new CEO

FinTech Wales proudly announces the appointment of Sarah Kocianski as our new CEO, marking a pivotal moment in our journey to advance the Welsh fintech ecosystem. With over a decade of experience as a fintech and insurtech strategist, Sarah brings invaluable insight and leadership to our organization. Her extensive background includes collaborations with global institutions, scaleups, and startups across various sectors, enriching our capabilities to support and champion Welsh fintech ventures.

Sarah’s tenure with esteemed organizations such as Qorus and Founders Factory, coupled with her involvement in fintech membership groups and her advocacy for equality in the investment ecosystem, underscores her alignment with FinTech Wales’ mission. Her vision aligns closely with ours as we strive to elevate Wales as a prominent player in the global fintech arena.

As we embark on the next phase of our journey, Sarah’s appointment signifies a commitment to nurturing local talent, fostering innovation, and attracting new fintech enterprises to our region. Supported by a significant investment from Cardiff Capital Region, our partnership aims to position Wales as a leading fintech hub in the UK and beyond.

At FinTech Wales, we’re dedicated to empowering our members, amplifying their voices, and driving meaningful change within the industry. Sarah’s leadership will further strengthen our efforts to cultivate skills and talent, foster a vibrant ecosystem, facilitate funding and investment, and promote Wales as an ideal destination for fintech innovation.

Together, with Sarah at the helm, we’re poised to realize our vision of making Wales a globally recognized center of fintech excellence. We’re excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to working collaboratively with our members, stakeholders, and partners to achieve our shared goals.

Read the full story on our website here.

2.Celebrating Welsh FinTech Innovation: Investing in Future Wales Showcase

Investing in Future Wales: A Business Showcase, part of the Wales Week London program, is set to highlight the thriving tech ecosystem of Wales. Hosted at Mansion House, City of London, the event will feature pitching presentations from select tech businesses nominated by investors and advisers within the Welsh ecosystem. Investors will have the opportunity for speed networking to explore investment prospects further.

Among the featured companies are Credit Canary, Ethics Grade, Final Rentals, Wagonex, and Zero, all esteemed members of Fintech Wales, demonstrating the caliber of innovation emerging from the Welsh FinTech sector.

Attendees will also gain insights from industry leaders such as Tim Levene, CEO of Augmentum Fintech plc, Welsh Government’s Director of International Relations and Trade Andrew Gwatkin, and Jenny Knott, NED at the British Business Bank. Topics will include the significance of investing in underrepresented areas for sustainable economic growth and the recently launched £130m Investment Fund for Wales.

The event, organized by British Business Bank, Welsh Government, City of London Corporation, and UK Government’s Department for Business and Trade in collaboration with Tramshed Tech, M-Sparc, and Fintech Wales, is scheduled for Thursday, 29th February 2024, from 5pm to 7pm at Mansion House, Walbrook London EC4N 8BH. Registration closes on Tuesday, 27th February 2024.

Register to attend the showcase here.

3.Principality Building Society Thrives in Turbulent Times, Eyes Continued Growth

Chief executive Julie-Ann Haines (Image credit: Principality Building Society)

Wales’ largest building society, Principality, is celebrating a record year despite economic challenges. Driven by a clear mission to help people own homes and save for the future, Principality reported a pre-tax profit of £60.3m for 2023, up from £43.5m the previous year.

This impressive performance highlights Principality’s commitment to its strategic vision. They achieved record levels in their mortgage book, assisting over 8,000 first-time buyers – almost double the number from 2022. Additionally, they helped members grow their savings habits with competitive rates above the market average.

CEO Julie-Ann Haines emphasizes their resilience in a volatile economy: “We understand the challenges our members face, and we’re proud to support their homeownership aspirations and savings goals. Our strong results demonstrate our ability to adapt and innovate, even in turbulent times.”

Looking ahead, Haines expresses confidence in Principality’s future: “We’re well-positioned to invest further and grow, benefiting our members, colleagues, and communities. We remain dedicated to our core values and purpose, providing a vital service in Wales and beyond.”

Read the full story here.

4.Celebrating Financial Empowerment: Wealthify and ClearBank Launch Instant-Access Savings Account with Competitive Rates

Wealthify, in collaboration with ClearBank, has unveiled a new instant-access savings account, presenting a lucrative 4.91% AER. This initiative stands out for its accessibility, requiring no minimum deposit and allowing customers to withdraw funds flexibly. With monthly interest payments and coverage under the FSCS, customers enjoy both security and convenience. The partnership addresses concerns raised by the FCA regarding the discrepancy between savings rates and the Bank of England’s base rate, ensuring customers promptly benefit from rate changes.

Andy Russell, CEO of Wealthify, underscores their commitment to empowering customers financially. He highlights the platform’s dedication to providing tools for effective money management, supporting customers in building sound savings habits. Through the Wealthify app, customers gain a comprehensive overview of their savings and investments, fostering transparency and control over their financial portfolios.

ClearBank CEO Charles McManus emphasizes the efficiency of embedded banking in enhancing customer service. For wealth-management experts like Wealthify, embedded banking offers a streamlined approach, enabling a focus on quality service without the burden of additional licenses or outsourced projects. This partnership signifies a strategic move towards enhancing financial accessibility and efficiency within the Welsh ecosystem.

The launch of the instant-access savings account reflects a shared commitment to addressing the needs of Welsh consumers and promoting financial well-being. By offering competitive rates and user-friendly features, Wealthify and ClearBank aim to empower individuals to make informed financial decisions and maximize their savings potential. As the fintech landscape continues to evolve, collaborations like this pave the way for innovative solutions that prioritize customer satisfaction and financial inclusivity.

Read the full article on Money Marketing here.

5.Moneysupermarket Hits Record Revenue: Strong Insurance Growth Offsets Energy Switching Slump

Peter Duffy (Image credit: Moneysupermarket)

Moneysupermarket, the Flintshire-based price comparison giant, achieved record revenue of £432.1m in 2023, a notable 11% increase year-on-year despite the absence of energy switching income. This impressive performance underscores the company’s strategic focus on insurance, which witnessed “exceptional trading” thanks to efficient customer acquisition and retention strategies.

CEO Peter Duffy highlighted the significant impact Moneysupermarket had on consumers, facilitating a record £2.7bn in savings. He emphasizes the company’s role in supporting households during challenging economic times, showcasing the value proposition of MoneySuperMarket, MoneySavingExpert, and Quidco within the Welsh FinTech landscape.

While energy switching remains subdued, Moneysupermarket expects continued momentum in insurance, driving optimism for EBITDA to stay within market expectations. This success story exemplifies the adaptability and innovation within the Welsh FinTech scene, demonstrating the ability to thrive even in fluctuating market conditions.

Read the full story at Insider Media here


Until Next Time

This concludes this week’s edition of FinTech Five. Remember to join us every two weeks for the latest news highlights from our FinTech Wales membership and wider FinTech ecosystem.