The FinTech Five – Saturday 18th June 

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Welcome to the FinTech Five, the part of the week where we take a closer look at the best articles, news, and features from over the past week from our FinTech Wales members.

1. Wealthify’s Month in the Markets: May 2022

First this week, Wealthify’s Investment Team have put together a comprehensive round up of the last month in the markets. 

The article reads: “Trends we’ve seen develop at the start of this year have continued through to May, as inflation and economic growth remain the primary focus of developed markets, with Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions playing a huge role in the economic activity in emerging markets, particularly in China.

The US Federal Reserve (and many other Central Banks) are under continuous pressure to hike rates to control soaring inflation and preserve economic growth. These rising interest rates have caused bond prices to fall (both in the US and globally) and continued to drive the negative returns we have seen from Bonds in May and in 2022…

Closer to home, data released in May showed that UK inflation continued to climb in March, up from 7.0% to 9.0% year on year (YoY), reaching a 40-year high. This reflects a real-term increase in the prices of goods and services which many people are feeling the effects of.

Elsewhere, US inflation dipped marginally from 8.5% to 8.3% YoY for April. Eurozone inflation remained elevated at 7.4% YoY, and estimates released at the end of the month expect this to climb to 8.1% for May.

Labour markets continue to perform well, with UK unemployment declining from 3.8% to 3.7% this month. We saw the number of job vacancies hit record levels, with around 500,000 more job vacancies than pre-pandemic levels. Data released in May (for April) also showed that there was a slight uptick in the UK’s manufacturing sector, but an overall slowdown in growth for the UK’s services sector.” 

Before taking a deeper dive into: 

  • Markets
  • Currency
  • Investment type performance breakdown
  • Summary with Plan details

Click here to read the full insights on Wealthify’s website. 

2. Wagonex sees 340% Increase in EV Demand as Fuel Hits High

  • The average family car now costs over £100 to fill with petrol.
  • Cost of fuel hits a record high in the UK, at 182.3p.
  • Wagonex sees 340% increase in demand for EV Subscriptions.

With petrol and diesel prices reaching record highs, Car Subscription Experts Wagonex sees demand for electric vehicles more than triple in the last month.

Experian Catalist have today reported that the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a record 182.3p, after the biggest jump in prices in 17 years. 

It’s unsurprising Wagonex has seen search interest for electric car subscriptions rocketing as motorists across the UK look to swap to electric to save money. 

While the platform covers a huge range of vehicles, motorists are primarily showing interest in smaller EVs, such as the Renault Zoe, VW Up!, or BMW i3, all of which are in high demand under subscription. 

It’s not just small EVs which are in the spotlight. Some of Wagonex’s most popular models are The Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and the Audi Q4, with the average subscription lasting about a year.

“Our subscribers are driving their favourite EVs without the long-term commitment” comments Toby Kernon, CEO & Founder of Wagonex

“With fuel prices expected to continue to rise, we expect EV demand to outstrip ‘ICE’ vehicles by the end of 2022. 

John Lewis, Head of Product Strategy and Development at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, added: 

“The way that people are using cars is fast evolving and we need to make sure that, as our customers continue to engage more with digital technology, we make their online journey as simple and as convenient as possible. Our partnership with Wagonex underlines our commitment to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do as it’ll give customers more choice, flexibility and control.”

Click here to discover more on Wagonex’s all-inclusive flexible subscriptions

3. Swinto Partners With Currencycloud To Help Formalize Kosova Economy

Next, Currencycloud, the experts in simplifying business in a multi-currency world, has partnered with Swiss-based Velanis AG to launch Swinto, a financial app that offers easy, accessible instant money transfers to Swiss-based Kosovars, at no charge to them. 

The people-friendly Swinto app cuts out the time and complexity that the Kosovar population usually endure when sending money home through Swiss-based banks, and means they will no longer be stung by high fees associated with other providers. The Swinto app offers Swiss-based Kosovars the opportunity to instantly transfer money to their families and friends back home at no cost. At the same time, users can make retail and online purchases with the Swinto app.  

Swinto uses Currencycloud’s APIs to offer its low-cost FX conversions to its customers; enabling them to instantly convert money between CHF, EUR, GBP and USD currencies anytime, anywhere. The partnership will also allow Swinto to increase its currency offerings as it expands to other regions in Western Europe and the Western Balkans, including Albania. 

Nick Cheetham, Chief Revenue Officer at Currencycloud commented: 

“One of our goals at Currencycloud is to democratise the way money flows around the world. money. The partnership with Velanis is a superb example of this. We’re supporting Swinto in their quest to make sending money home easy for Kosovars and look forward to working with them as they expand.”

Says Alban Nevzati, CEO of Swinto Group: 

“Swinto was created to financially serve the underserved, to include unbanked customers in the financial system, and to contribute to the formalisation of the Kosova economy. We aim to connect Kosovars living in different countries via the Swinto app for sending and receiving the almost one billion euros that flows through Kosova annually. Swinto is the only company that offers free, outsourced transactions and is creating an ecosystem to generate added value for all participants, starting with individuals, then to businesses and partner banks; adding value to each.”

Click here to read the full announcement on Currencycloud’s website.

4. Hodge and Tramshed Tech Partner to Support High-Growth Tech Scale-Ups in Wales

Next, Hodge and Tramshed Tech announce their partnership with the unveiling of their new scaling space on Floor Five, One Central Square Cardiff, designed to support some of Wales’ most exciting tech scale-ups in their global expansion.

With a long history in financial services, tens of thousands of customers across the UK and 79% owned by a charity, the Hodge Foundation, Hodge has a growing association with innovative technology, so their latest partnership with Tramshed Tech comes as no surprise.

Since 2016, Tramshed Tech has become a hub for tech, digital and creative industries and sits at the heart of the start-up scene in Wales

Recently, Hodge has invested in a number of high-growth Welsh companies. These investments include Yoello, a multi-award winning FinTech start-up that allows businesses to accept mobile payments through their open banking payment technology. And, alongside Legal & General Capital (Legal & General), Hodge have announced their multimillion-pound investment into Sero Technologies (‘Sero’), a net zero enabler on a mission to reduce emissions within the residential housing sector.

David Landen, CEO Hodge said:

“Our partnership with Tramshed Tech has already offered us some great opportunities. Creating this scaling space to support some innovative tech scale-ups can only create more of them for both the Hodge team and Tramshed Tech. Hodge is continuing its digital transformation and having some of Welsh tech’s most exciting start-ups sharing office space is a real privilege.”

With Louise Harris, CEO and Co-Founder of Tramshed Tech saying:

“We are delighted to be able to take on our new growth space in One Central Square and to continue our exciting partnership with Hodge, with whom we have worked closely over a number of years to grow the tech scene in Wales. This prestigious location will allow us to continue to host some of our leading high-growth scaling companies and develop the wider tech eco-system and help to further build the Welsh digital economy.”

Click here for the full story on Business News Wales’ website. 

5. British Business Bank Appoints Louis Taylor as New CEO

Last but not least this week, Louis Taylor has been appointed CEO of the British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, and will take up the role from 1 October. Louis Taylor is currently CEO of UK Export Finance, the UK government’s export credit agency.

Louis Taylor joined UK Export Finance in 2015, enjoying a stellar career which saw the department provide its highest level of support for UK exporters in 30 years and end its financial support for overseas fossil fuel projects – all while operating at no net cost to the UK taxpayer.

Before joining UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor had a career in banking and corporate finance, most recently with Standard Chartered Bank where he held positions as Chief Operating Officer for Group Treasury and also as CEO, Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. His early career included eight years in investment banking for JP Morgan and seven years running strategy and acquisitions for Cookson Group plc and Invensys.

In September 2020, Catherine Lewis La Torre was appointed Interim CEO of the Bank to allow government to map out the next phase of the Bank’s development before commencing the search for a permanent successor to the CEO. Catherine Lewis La Torre will continue in post as Interim CEO through to Autumn to ensure an orderly transition.

Welcoming Louis Taylor’s appointment, Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chair, British Business Bank said:

“Louis is a highly respected, strategic leader, with more than 30 years’ banking and corporate finance experience and a strong track record of success. He has successfully led UK Export Finance for more than six years and has made a considerable contribution to the agency since he joined in 2015. I am delighted that he has agreed to take on the role of CEO and look forward to working with him as we support the UK’s economic recovery through the Bank’s debt and equity programmes, launch the Next Generation of Regional Funds, and also continue to address fraud and financial crime in relation to the Covid-19 loan schemes.”

Lord Smith paid tribute to Catherine Lewis La Torre:

“I want to thank Catherine for the commitment and dedication she has given to the role of Interim CEO. She has led the British Business Bank through a period of unprecedented growth and public scrutiny over the past two years. I am working closely with Catherine to define her future role and am delighted that she intends to stay with the Bank.”

Click here to read the full announcement on the British Business Bank’s website.

Until Next Week

And that’s it for the FinTech Five this week. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to join us next week for more of the best content from across our FinTech Wales membership.

If you want to join our dynamic FinTech Wales community, then click here to learn more about the exclusive benefits FinTech Wales membership has to offer.