The research on financial institutions, fintech start-ups and ecosystem participants across the Nordic and Baltic region reveal that greater cooperation between regulators, banks and innovators is essential to the region’s status as a leading fintech hub.
The research also shows that although the Nordic region will become a global fintech hub by 2020, the UK will maintain its status as Europe’s fintech central post Brexit. The survey reflects a diminishing concern about the impact of Brexit on UK’s fintech sector. Only 38% of the respondents feel that Brexit is likely to accelerate growth in other European fintech hubs—a significant decline from last year’s survey figure of 56%.
While the Nordic and Baltic region accounts for over half of Europe’s fintech unicorns by value, the research highlights that the biggest challenges for fintechs are the direct or indirect result of limited regulatory coordination on the sector. The survey shows that 37% of the respondents cited regulation directly, 67% find it difficult to achieve scale and 33% find that access to funding is a challenge. Increased competition from incumbents jumped 19% in the recent research from 2017.
The Mastercard 2018 Fintech Disruptors Nordic Report conducted by Fintech Mundi and Magna Carta finds that a holistic approach to cooperation across the region—including incentives for investment and working together to create a regulatory environment that stimulates innovation and promotes collaboration between new and established providers would strengthen the region’s status as a global digital fintech hub.
Navigating Capital, Culture, Commerce and Collaboration in the Nordic-Baltic region offers a generational opportunity for the region to continue its pioneering legacy—with potentially unlimited benefits to growth and productivity by creating the world’s first digitally-integrated economy. Achieving this will require mutual recognition of value that innovators, institutions and incumbents each bring. The future of regional fintech success, and much more, depends on it.
Mats Taraldsson, Head of Digital Business Development and Fintech Partnerships, Mastercard Nordics and Baltics said: “Innovation by collaboration is at the heart of Mastercard and working together with start-ups and fintechs is essential to meet the future needs of consumers, merchants and governments. We have been committed to fintechs for many years, fostering partnerships with pioneers who have grown into global brands. One Nordic example is iZettle where we helped them in the early phase setting up their business, acting as an advisor.
“We now continue this commitment locally in the just recently launched Nordic and Baltic fintech program called Lighthouse Development Program in partnership with NFT Ventures”
Susanne Hannestad, Chief Executive of Fintech Mundi, co-author of the research, added: “The Nordic and Baltic markets already have an incredible track record of building fintech companies having created regional successes that have gone on to become global winners, like Spotify and Zwipe.
A more joined-up approach to fintech and the factors that influence successful innovation between the markets governments and regulators, however, would create new opportunities for growth and productivity and ensure the region is the best place in Europe to build the next generation of fintech giants.”