Well here we are, two weeks since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union and it is as if nothing has happened.
The Tory PM, David Cameron, has stepped down, blond dryer lint Boris Johnson has announced he is no longer interested in becoming the next Prime Minister (or setting things on fire), and U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage announced today that his work is done, he is stepping down: Britain has left the E.U. – his work is complete!
Except the markets are in turmoil, the three major parties are leaderless, the Pound is in trouble and big business in London, including the burgeoning FinTech industry, is shaken with uncertainty.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, the same man who helped stick-handle our Canadian economy through the 2008 downturn, said that in light of the Brexit, the B of E will do what it can to shore up the economy, but investors should buckle up for some instability. Going forward, what relationship will the U.K. have with the rest of Europe? The world? Business as usual? The Brexit situation, in a word – sub-optimal.
For those focused on the FinTech opportunities here in Canada, you can imagine nothing will happen and it will be business as usual because the Brexit will actually offer British FinTech companies more opportunities to operate in an environment free from EU regulations. This is the optimistic view of Finextra’s article today - "Brexit Breeds Opportunity for UK FinTech" (here).
The other side of this coin is that there will be a decent percentage of London FinTechs looking to cut their losses and invest in Canada. Prior Finextra articles, both pre and post the Brexit vote, suggest there is real concern that FinTech jobs will be effected. Of some 66,000 jobs in FinTech in London as many as 1/3 could be effected.
We think it is silly to suggest that there will be no attrition, no effect on the U.K. FinTech’s. This chapter is yet to be written, of course. What we do know is that we in the FinTech ecosystem in Canada will keep on doing what we are doing and will pick up the phone when London calls.