An NYC-London battle between two fintech titans, Eileen Burbidge (Chairwoman of Tech City UK) and Maria Gotsch (President and CEO at the Partnership Fund for New York City), took place today at the new co-working space Rise New York on 23rd Street. It was an interactive discussion looking at the challenges, differences, and emerging trends in both cities within fintech. It’s an interesting time to compare the two as VC funding is currently at an all-time high in both. Although New York has 1.7 times the total funding of all of the UK, London is growing much faster. New York has always been seen as the capital of the world when it comes to financial markets and even today finance covers 25% of all taxes collected in the city. While across the Atlantic, due to its geographical location in terms of world time, London naturally offers many benefits to internationally trading financial institutions. In fact, $7 trillion passed through the city in Forex alone each day.
One of the key topics was availability of talent. In terms of attracting internationals, Burbidge pointed out how London holds the advantage over New York given the more relaxed visa policy in place. However, due to the fintech boom 10 years ago, New York has more legacy talent available—people who have done it before—making it easier to scale. Furthermore, although Boston is famed for its universities, New York actually has more university students. Both cities identified housing and the cost of living as a barrier that needs to be addressed. With the increase in popularity of co-working space, Gotsch pointed to the trend of co-living space as a potential solution.
Pru Ashby from London Partners did a fantastic job moderating the session. She brought up the regulatory environment as a topic for the two to discuss. Given the current strict regulations in the industry, often the amount of due diligence needed to sell to a large financial institutions can rule out most startups. This is a problem that has been identified in New York while Burbidge felt it was already been addressed in London via city initiatives. As Gotsch put it, “Unless the lawyers and regulators are part of the innovation team, the team may as well be going to cocktail parties.”
Although they compete on many aspects such as talent and funding, both have emerged as leaders in different niches. Whereas much of London’s fintech growth has been retail orientated, such as payments and crowdfunding, New York has been producing innovative disrupters in institutional banking for much longer. Overall, it’s undeniable that New York and London are titans of fintech, and although the discussion closed with sides referencing the growing collaboration, it would be interesting to have a rematch in twelve months when things may look a lot different.
Maria Gotsch is running the Fintech Innovation Lab which is now accepting applications for their next program. The application period closes on December 2. Find out more here.
If you’re interested in hearing more about expanding to London, contact Padric Gleason of London & Partners (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact the New York International team who would be happy to make an introduction.