On the subject of payments fintech- disregarding how Brexit will impact the UK’s thriving fintech scene, the figuring out of which is frankly a thankless task and I doubt it will be much suppressed no matter what- Dublin’s appeal was boosted by EBADay.
Dublin’s potential as a major new fintech hub was a hot topic of conversation at the annual payments bash and on the back of this came news of investment capital from Enterprise Ireland, called the Competitive Start Fund. It is a government initiative in conjunction with the Bank of Ireland and has been created a fund to attract start-ups into the country. The fund is worth €500,000 and aims to help fund up to ten start-ups with up to €50,000 each, within the scope of payments, banking, regtech, security and insurtech as well as those which “leverage” blockchain, IoT, AI and data intelligence.
Ireland holds appeal for good reason- it is a small, open domestic economy; an English-speaking market with a young and highly educated workforce. It is and has been an attractive destination for companies large and small because of favourable corporate tax rates, physical location bridging Europe and the States, investment capital availability and entrepreneurial spirit.
This entrepreneurial spirit extends to the Irish regulators as well, who are progressive and recognise the opportunity brought about by the potential relocation of British-based financial services companies. Despite not having vast experience in regulating e-payments companies outside the banking sector, the payments regulatory team has recently sped up its applications turnaround to six months.
The Emerging Payments Association recently put out a paper detailing the most attractive countries for fintech relocation in the event of the loss of UK passporting rights as a result of Brexit. Ireland was one of the six alongside (in alpha order) Cyprus, Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden. Main considerations were tax rates, ease of contract transfer, talent pool, regulatory environment, e-money precedence and multilingual skills.
In a similar but separate study by Movinga, Dublin ranked eighth out of fifteen European cities for fintech relocation, and Berlin first. True, Movinga’s study took into account other factors such as affordability of flights for visiting home and the price of beer and lunch, which are not to be dismissed. I can tell you first hand that booking a return flight to Dublin from the UK at anywhere near peak times can be an eye-watering experience at best (think transatlantic round trip prices) and as for eating out in the city, there’s a fine line between entrepreneurialism and bare-faced cheek. I can recommend Abrakebabra. On the other hand, Dublin’s just great and gets this humble writer’s vote any day.