The UK is the number one market for the Irish Financial Services and Fin-tech companies. London is the largest financial centre in the world (second largest in asset management, third in insurance), with more than 500 banks located in London. It is therefore a logical target for Irish companies, but more than that Ireland’s proximity to the UK, and shared language means that there is an ‘expectation’ within the global financial industry is that Irish companies will have business and references in UK institution before expanding to other markets.
There is a temptation to consider the current international tsunami of attention on Fin-tech will result in a significant increase in opportunities and business for Irish companies within this sector. However, in reality, the Financial Services market remains highly competitive, cautious and risk averse in purchasing decisions, preferring safe, established large vendors over the small-medium suppliers in our client portfolio. So although there is an enthusiasm for new and innovative solutions, and increased levels of investment and incubation activity around fintech, it is still a tough sector. There is more of a willingness to enter into initial discussions, to explore potential, but the demanding challenges to business development with large Tier 1-2 institutions will continue to present both opportunities and challenges for Irish companies. Lead times in the Tier 1-2 financial institutions typically extend to 18-24 months, with resulting cost of sales is often too high and unsustainable for early stage companies