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Northern Ireland: A global FinTech hub

Friday, October 28th, 2022

Belfast cityscape at night over river - showing city as a Fintech hub

The FinTech sector has boomed across Northern Ireland in recent years, leading to its recognition as one of the top 10 FinTech hubs and fastest-growing tech cities in the UK.  

Northern Ireland’s highly competitive, pro-business environment is a big contributor to the region’s success, where resilient infrastructure, low operating costs and a thriving start-up and SME community across STEM markets all help to nurture innovation. 

The region’s close connection between industry and academia also helps to solidify NI as a FinTech hub. Ulster University is one such higher education institution helping to drive sector growth through research excellence and a focus on vocational, skills-based training. 

Connecting the EU through industry 

Of the 40,000 financial sector employees within Northern Ireland, one in four are FinTech focused, working in areas such as trading and payment technologies, RegTech, InsureTech and cybersecurity, pioneering disrupting technologies such as AI and data analytics (2021 InvestNI report). 

A key driver of Northern Ireland’s FinTech workforce is the region’s highly developed entrepreneurial ecosystem, networking scene and cross-sector collaboration. This landscape is nurtured by several initiatives such as FinTechNI and The FinTech Corridor. 

The FinTech Corridor 

The FinTech Corridor works to bridge the gap between EU and UK FinTech, by connecting businesses to universities across Ireland and heralding collaboration and cooperation amongst homegrown and investment FinTechs. 

Ulster University Business School (UUBS) announced its corporate partnership with The FinTech Corridor in 2021, renewing its commitment to bringing research leadership, innovation and a skilled graduate pool to support the development of the region as a FinTech hub. 

Northern Ireland FinTech Envoy 

Northern Ireland’s first FinTech Envoy was appointed by the HM Treasury in 2019, with the aim of attracting investment from businesses and leaders to develop cutting-edge technologies and applications – specifically blockchain, AI and data security – to make Northern Ireland a global competitor in financial technology.

“With strong government support, close collaboration between big companies and start-ups and a world-class workforce, Northern Ireland has the potential to become the best place in the world to start and build a Fintech company. 

“Uniting with the further education sector to promote the opportunities available in FinTech is a vital avenue of this work and a useful step forward in our efforts to address the skills imbalance and safeguard the pipeline of future talent our sector relies upon.”   

Northern Ireland FinTech Envoy and Chair of the FinTech NI Association, Andrew Jenkins. 

Ulster University: a central NI institution 

Ulster University is one of the largest universities in Northern Ireland, with firm industry links and respected vocational programmes. It ranked 20th in the UK for Accounting & Finance by The Complete University Guide (Subject League Table, 2023).  

Furthermore, Ulster University Business School (UUBS) has a long and successful history of forging long-term, strategic and collaborative relationships with industry and government, contributing £40 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Northern Irish economy annually to maintain the region’s position as a global FinTech hub. 

“The Business School’s core activities have far-reaching impacts spanning everything from job creation to supporting business innovation and competitiveness to building graduate talent pipelines for Northern Ireland’s future workforce.”  

UUBS’ Business Engagement Unit’s priority is to support university-industry collaboration, promote entrepreneurship, solve business challenges, attract investment, support local flagship industry and create jobs – all while ensuring the local talent pool is geared towards the future needs of the economy.  

Chair of Financial Technology at Ulster University, Professor Daniel Broby is also a key figure at the business school promoting industry growth. As well as being a widely published FinTech thought leader, Daniel is an internationally recognized expert in financial services, capital markets and digital technologies. 

Become a part of this collaborative, industry-minded institution and be the future of FinTech on our 100% online FinTech Management Masters course. 

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