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Fintech startups turn to investment innovation, says report

UK fintech startups have moved away from payment solutions and are now focussed on investment management, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Startupbootcamp.29 Mar 2016

There has been an "explosion" in startups focussing on investment management, and a corresponding decline in payments as the main focus of innovation, PwC said.

Five out of the nine startups to make it into an accelerator programme run by Startupbootcamp were in the investment management industry, as were 20% of all applicants, the consultancy company said.

 "Up until now the industry has seen little disruption and innovation but 2015 saw an explosion of investment focused startups working on business-to-consumer, business-to-business, robo-advisery, big data, machine learning, equity research, automated portfolio selection. We expect the number of startups entering the investment market to continue to grow in 2016," PwC said.

"Fintech will transform the way the investment industry operates and empower investors to make better decisions. The industry as a whole is facing cost pressures as fees continue to be pushed downwards and regulation is forcing a clear delineation between fund costs and corporate costs," it said.

The report also looked at the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain, the payment technology behind virtual currency bitcoin, is a public ledger solution with storage capacity that is secured by cryptography and a system of algorithmic problem-solving.

"Many companies are still struggling to get to grips with the basic practicalities of using the technology. Blockchain is, however, here to stay and 2016 will be the year companies engage in a wide range of test scenarios with a number of breakthroughs, pilot programmes and institutions working together to build a blockchain ecosystem continue to be announced," PwC said.

Nektarios Liolios, chief executive of Startupbootcamp said: “Fintech startups emerged because they felt that there was a lack of innovation within the industry and so decided to try and solve the problems themselves by utilising new technologies."

“The financial services industry is slowing waking up to the inevitability of change around it and regulators are looking to facilitate, rather than hinder, the disruption. There’s still so much work to be done and neither financial institutions nor startups can do it alone, the key will be to work together," Liolios said.

The report also identifies four key trends for 2016, Startupbootcamp said: the emergency of challenger banks in retail banking; growth in wealth management fintech; growth of technology use in the insurance industry; and the launch of pilot programmes using blockchain. 

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