Is Ireland ready for the next wave of FinTech?

Brexit offers a chance to attract more firms...

Is Ireland ready for the next wave of FinTech?

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Irish financial services firms are looking over their shoulders nervously at the new generation of tech-savvy competitors.

A new survey from PWC has revealed that traditional financial service firms, ranging from asset management to insurance, expect to lose up to 40% of their current revenues over the next five years due to the impact of nimbler more technologically innovative fintech operators in their markets.

According to a newly-published PWC survey, the majority of Irish firms believe they do not have the commercial skills to take full advantage of their own innovation activity and plan to increase their partnership role with third-party fintech firms as a result. 71% of Irish firms expect to increase FinTech partnerships over the next three to five years, but that is below the global trend (82%).

Less than half (46%) of the firms surveyed believe that they are, "good at commercialising these ideas," and the expected annual return from FinTech related projects in Ireland is just 8% compared to 20% globally.

Over half (59%) of Irish firms are concerned about IT security when dealing with FinTechs - a similar proportion (58%) plan to invest in cybersecurity in the year ahead. That figure is significantly higher than the global average of 32%.

Ronan Fitzpatrick Digital & FinTech Leader PwC Ireland believes Brexit will offer Ireland a chance to attract more FinTech firms: "While FinTech is a game-changer and will disrupt financial services, Brexit is the other major uncertainty. Whilst many FinTech companies are already based in Ireland, significant numbers of EU nationals had also moved to the UK to work in the technology industry.

"In a Brexit scenario, restricting the free movement of labour may present a challenge for UK-based tech teams. English is the language of business for most top international technology companies. This presents an opportunity for Ireland, as the only Englishspeaking location in the EU, particularly as Irish financial services organisations are planning to increase partnerships with FinTechs. Ireland has a real opportunity to become a global centre for FinTech, but we need to continue to communicate our attractiveness," he added.