Strengthening fintech ecosystem imperative, says new report

By Natasha Tremblay | May 16 2017 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

Strengthening the Fintech ecosystem in the Toronto area should be a top priority for the financial services industry and governments to maintain and grow Canada’s global position, says a new report from the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) released May 15.

While the Toronto/Kitchener-Waterloo corridor currently has a strong core of financial institutions, top-tier research facilities at local academic institutions, a strong talent base and relatively low business operating costs for Fintech, there is also a need to develop a clear, consistently implemented, policy-driven, Canadian Fintech strategy aiming to innovate to overcome current challenges. Otherwise, the Toronto sector could fall behind on the international stage, says the report, "Seizing the Opportunity: Building the Toronto Region into a Global Fintech Leader," which was researched and written by Accenture and McMillan LLP.

Middle of the pack

"We have a strong Fintech and financial services cluster in this region, and much is being done by industry and government to build our global leadership," says Janet Ecker, president and CEO of the TFSA. "But the evidence is clear: We are still in the middle of the pack. Other global centers are not standing still, and neither can we. Strengthening the Fintech ecosystem will be critical to the continued success of our global financial industry."

To ensure a strong global position, the report sets out six key calls to action, including the need for closer collaboration among fintech startups , financial institutions and the venture capital community. The report also says fintechs require improved access to capital and they also need the regulatory burden to be reduced.

Raising awareness on the global stage

The commercialization of research should be encouraged for financial services in order to establish the Toronto region as a global leader, says the report. There is also a need to increase awareness internationally that the region is a fintech hub.

The report also calls for the creation of opportunities and conditions that will attract top fintech talent.

Time to rise to the challenge

"Today's report represents a snapshot in time, but every day, new and more powerful technologies will inevitably bring change and disruption to our financial services industry – in Canada and around the world," says Robert Vokes, managing director of Accenture's Financial Services practice in Canada. "The time has never been more critical for the Toronto/Kitchener-Waterloo corridor to rise to the challenge and compete globally in a highly competitive – and increasingly important – sector of the economy."

To learn more, the full report can be found here.

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