UK fintechs preparing for the worst Brexit

I wrote last week about the fear that the fintech industry has over a potential hard Brexit or cliff edge Brexit as it is also known.

A sudden loss of access to the single market and the ability for banks to trade across Europe will inevitable mean the UK is no longer the place for fintech’s to be headquartered. But that is not the only problem with less access to talent a major concern.

At a recent House of Lords EU committee meeting Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, which is a network of entrepreneurs and tech experts that support the UK tech startup sector, warned of dire consequences for tech startups, particularly those in the fintech sector. He stopped short of telling these firms to move their headquarters to an EU country but recommended they set up a presence.

This is happening. The Financial Times reported this week that London-based payments company Currencycloud has started to implement its Brexit plan. According to the FT the company is applying for a license in the Netherlands. This is to ensure it can still serve clients in the EU and access much needed talent.

Todd Latham, chief marketing officer and head of product at Currencycloud told the FT: “While we’d love for the UK to have a soft Brexit, you can’t guarantee that. Our concern is about how we service customers and how we make sure that we’re bringing the best talent into the organisation.”

The talent issue as Computer Weekly reported earlier this month is a major concern. The quota for tier two skilled workers from outside the EU has been reached for the last few months, sparking fear that an exodus of EU IT professionals might leave tech firms short of much needed expertise.

Jackie Penlington, senior associate at law firm Stevens & Bolton, said Brexit is reducing the availability of skilled staff. “You can’t say for certain, but I think the impact of Brexit, with less EU workers coming to the UK and all the uncertainty, is fueling the increased demand for these visas,” she said. “We are in a global market for workers and people may be deciding to go to other countries.”

One of my colleagues met up with a tech firm last week who told him that they recently offered someone from the EU a job because they really needed their expertise, but were rejected because of Brexit.

I am interested in hearing from the fintech sector about preparations for Brexit.

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