Financial technology or FinTech as it’s commonly known is computer technology used to support or enable banking and financial services.
A relatively new industry driven by expectations for a more on–the–go type of banking to meet consumer needs as well the need by the financial services industry for quicker, more secure electronic transfer of money.
It just so happens that Northern Ireland and in particular Belfast has become a well–established global hub for FinTech.
It seems like not a week goes by without an announcement that another overseas FinTech company has chosen Belfast as the place to set up new operations – a trend that looks set to continue.
Speaking from the US earlier this week, Invest NI CEO, Alastair Hamilton announced that Redline Trading Solutions were establishing a new global support centre in Belfast.
“Once again our reputation as a great place to do business has secured another new inward investor. Redline provides financial technology services, with its customers including four of the top five leading investment banks.
“The company has chosen Belfast as the location of its new Global Support Centre over its other global locations in Great Britain, Republic of Ireland and Asia“, said Mr Hamilton.
Redline is the latest in a long line of overseas FinTech companies to set up shop in Northern Ireland. The likes of Cayan, Tullett Prebon, Fidessa, FinTru and Japanese firm Rakuten already well–established, with some having already enjoyed major expansions.
The strength of the Fintech industry in Northern Ireland is not only measured by the success of Invest Northern Ireland in attracting inward investment in the sector. The likes of Newry–based software giants, First Derivatives continue to led the way for local companies.
First Derivatives, employ around 1,700 people worldwide and have operational bases throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia achieved profits of £12.5 million from a turnover of £152 million for the year up to the end of February – up 20% on the previous year.
As well as seeing year on year growth since it began operating in 2002, First Derivatives has created plenty of jobs and opportunities through a variety of graduate schemes.
FinTech related graduate training scheme places are increasing in number and so to are opportunities to flourish in the financial technology industry with the business schools of both Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University both having state–of–the–art trading room facilities for students.
QUB trading room
The trading room at Queen’s University Belfast is a state of the art facility, sponsored by First Derivatives. It has 12 industry–standard Bloomberg trading terminals, is used across a range of courses at the university and is used to give students first–hand experience of the financial services industry.
Ulster University Financial Services Lab
Ulster University has a similar facility with 16 Bloomberg trading terminals, thanks to a strategic partnership with The Chicago Merchantile Exchange Group Foundation. CME has operations in Belfast and 150 other countries and is the world’s largest derivatives exchange.
“We’ve been working with the business school for a period of time in order to get the exact skillset that we’re looking for in both graduates or in interns – so the academy and the institute that we’re creating here are designed to help fulfil that need and to take extremely qualified candidates and give them the exact skillset that the Fintech sector is looking for,” former CME board member Jim Oliff.