Fintechs ramp up hiring as big banks cut jobs

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • As many of Europe’s biggest financial firms trim staff and brace for Brexit, their emerging competitors are charging ahead at full speed.

Financial technology (fintech), a broad category encompassing businesses from mobile banks to peer-topeer lenders, hired aggressively in the first quarter in the UK, Europe’s fintech hub, according to Ollie Sexton, a principal at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

That follows a 61% increase in new fintech roles in 2018 that made it the fastest-growing part of London’s pre- Brexit economy, according to a report this week from Robert Walters and Vacancysoft, which provides data on recruitment.

That contrasts with industry stalwarts such as Societe Generale SA and Nomura Holdings Inc, which are eliminating thousands of jobs to cut costs. The growth shows how the hype around the gaggle of upstarts that emerged after the financial crisis promising to reinvent finance is being translated into reality.

“A lot of people are excited about how digitalisation will change the financial industry and many fintechs working to that end are experiencing exponential growth,” said Sexton.

Of course, financial firms of all sizes in the UK are confronting the Brexit squeeze.

Fintechs are having to pay up to attract top hires to a country whose future remains in something close to limbo, increasing salaries by up to 8% for some specialties, said Sexton.

Expanding at breakneck speed comes with dangers of its own, as fintech unicorn Revolut showed in a series of missteps that drew scrutiny from the UK’s financial regulator. The digital bank said in February it plans to hire over 200 people over the proceeding six months as it expands across Europe. — Bloomberg