London Is Forming A “FinTech Bridge” With Brussels To Solve The Startup Brain Drain

So maybe it wasn’t Luanda, Angola but be honest, you thought about transferring your business to another location after Brexit, right? Who didn’t?

Well, before you start scouring the Berlin co-working scene (its good) or the Danish co-living scheme (got to get some of that hygge!), perhaps you should first pay attention to what’s happening in Brussels.

Anticipating the inevitable rumblings of discontent post Brexit and the very real threat that London’s top Fintech talent, the envy of the world (except China – everything is better in China), would up sticks and leave, Innovate Finance, the trade body for the UK’s Fintech sector, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with B-Hive, a part Belgian government owned platform aimed at building relationships with traditional financial and technology sectors.

The MOU is the result of a delegation from Belgium visiting London last week with the creation of a “Fintech Bridge” in mind – the UK has, in fact, signed similar agreements Australia, Singapore and South Korea.

Note the difference, however – Belgium is in the EU!

The Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt insisted that he was not in London to poach talent, but to praise the existing Fintech infrastructure in London.

“London is the financial sector of Europe—there’s a lot of infrastructure…, there’s a huge talent pool that is there, there’s the capital availability that is there, so of course even with Brexit, that won’t go away just like that.”

He is quoted to have said.

Indeed, the capital employs 60,000 Fintech workers and, according to the Treasury, is contributing £6.6 billion pounds of revenue.

One of the key ways in which UK Fintech is likely to be affected post-Brexit is if companies rights to “passport” into other EU countries is taken away, which would make the whole process of doing business within the EU a complex, red-tape infested, competitive-advantage-removing nightmare.

This would hurt the big banks as much as the Fintech challengers, and is at least part of the reason why some are thinking of moving parts of their organisation to the continent – Paris, Berlin, Madrid etc. The flipside, is that Fintech firms have long been frustrated by the perception that the EU are dragging their heels over restricting the amount of red tape involved when doing business outside the EU.

This of course, could play right into British firms’ hands.

But listen, says Mother Theresa, we just want to be friends with everyone.

Are being friends with somebody and making money from them the same thing? Well, if its free market capitalism we wanted – there’s no guarantee we are going to get that either! Not where did I leave that plot?

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