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Financial services minister John Glen

The UK government has launched a raft of preventative measures to discourage a mass exodus of Blockchain talent and intellectual capital from the financial technology sector. But it may prove to be a waste of time – too little too late.

With Fintech being one of the nation’s few stellar performers, the predicted ‘chain drain’ would be a national catastrophe. So the government has made it a priority to create the most developer-friendly conditions for experts in disciplines such as Blockchain and Bitcoin to thrive.

This week a new £2.5bn Patient Capital Fund was announced to shore up the nation’s talent pool.

The aim of the fund is to support UK companies with high growth potential and to seed the industry with capital in a bid to attract more long-term investment.

A further two international technology hubs are planned for Brazil and South Africa.

A secondary ambition of the scheme is to attract foreign fintech experts to Britain, either to start their own companies or work for new UK enterprises.

With this in mind, it has launched Startup Visa, a scheme to streamline employment Visa applications for exceptionally talented entrepreneurs and tech experts. This replaces the Visa Fast Track programme which was limited to graduates. The new scheme is likely to be more inclusive as it now accepts endorsements from business sponsors or fintech accelerators in addition to universities.

The new visa plan will come into effect in 2019. Reports of a FinTexit and a chain drain have been an exaggeration, according to home secretary Sajid Javid. “We are a leading nation in tech and innovation. We want to attract businesses to the UK and our migration system plays a key part in that,” said Javid.

As reported in IBS Intelligence, the government’s Tech Nation programme has launched a talent contest to encourage UK fintechs to stay in the country. Inducements include free networking lunches, trips to meet potential partners in the US and tips from established fintech executives.

A lack of post-Brexit clarity has led to fears of a UK ‘fintexit’ – as uncertainty has been stoked by the marketing boards behind rival EU financial centres such as Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt. Many are offering incentives to tempt London-based startups to relocate.

Financial services minister John Glen dismissed these fears. “The programme will boost startups to the next stage and bring innovative new products to the market,” said Glen.


by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor