Brexit is the biggest threat to UK’s rising star industry.

Fintech warning.

A report from Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft has suggested the UK’s pending departure from the EU could stifle the rapid growth of the fintech sector. Generating £20 billion in annual revenue and attracting more venture capital investment than any other country in Europe, the UK fintech sector is widely considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the country.

In 2018, job creation within the fintech space grew by 61 per cent in London and 18 per cent in the regions – making it the fastest growing sector in the country.

One example of rapid job creation is UK lending start-up Iwoca, who has plans to increase headcount from 230 to up to 350 by the end of 2019.

With IT being one of the top three functions in demand within the sector, accounting for a third (30 per cent) of all roles – Brexit poses a serious threat to the growth of the sector.

Tom Chambers, manager of advanced analytics and engineering at Robert Walters, said: “The number of tech roles within fintech grew by 37 per cent in 2018 – a positive story for both the industry and the country. However, Brexit appears to be creating a fear of ‘last in first out’, which in turn means candidates are less willing to move roles as swiftly as they have in previous years – creating a lot less available talent in the market.

“The most disconcerting thing for the sector amid Brexit is the fact that a quarter of people working in tech roles in the UK are not British,” he added. “The impact of uncertainty and talent shortages resulted in a slight slowdown in hiring activity late 2018 – with only London-based fintech companies with significant VC funding continuing to pursue aggressive recruitment campaigns.”

According to Robert Walters, talent shortages within IT have pushed salaries up by eight per cent in Q1, and the company is already seeing some impressive buy-back and counter offers for IT talent within the fintech sector.

The UK’s fintech industry attracted over $16 billion investment in the first half of 2018, more than any other country. In fact, over a third (39 per cent) of European venture capital funding for fintechs goes to London, almost double any other city in Europe.

Of the 29 fintech unicorns (companies worth more than $1 billion) worldwide, nine are in San Francisco, while seven are housed in the UK. Analysts at Robert Walters predict that London will be home to just as many fintech unicorns as Silicon Valley by 2020, and that over half of payment service providers in the UK will be digital-only (e-money firms).

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