Fintech reluctant to leave London for Paris

PARIS – France’s fast-growing fintech sector is optimistic the country’s dynamic new president will push it up the global rankings.

But startups based in London do not yet seem ready to swap that key hub for Paris, even if they have French roots.

The nascent industry, ranging from mobile payment apps to “cryptocurrencies” like bitcoin, is seen by governments and business alike as crucial to the future of financial services and of vital importance, therefore, to economic growth.

Britain says fintech contributes $US9 billion ($F18b) to the economy, provides 60,000 jobs and will continue to be a priority.

But since last June’s vote to leave the European Union, other countries have been jostling to replace London as the sector’s main European hub.

Alain Falys, CEO of mobile payments startup YoYo Wallet, is based in a fintech co-working space in London’s Canary Wharf but is originally from northern France.

For him, London was the “obvious choice” when he was choosing a base in 2013 and he will stay put, although he said he might consider Paris if starting out now.

“If Macron pursues his globalist, internationalist agenda — if he continues to visit incubators, speak in English, if he shows he’s really understood the force of labour reform in terms of job creation of this sector, he will draw in young people from all over Europe,” Mr Falys said.

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