2021 was an outstanding year for financial technology (FinTech), with new levels of funding ploughed into the sector both globally and in the UK.

That’s according to Janine Hirt, CEO of Innovate Finance, the UK’s non-profit FinTech organisation, who credited some of that success to light-touch regulation of the market.

Speaking at a Westminster Business Forum policy conference today, Hirt hailed the growing success of the sector.

“Despite the COVID pandemic, we saw record-breaking investment into FinTech last year,” she said. “More than $102 billion was invested across the globe in 2021. That was a 183 percent increase from 2020.

“And the UK took a leadership position once again, with $11.6 billion invested into the UK FinTech community. That was a more than 200 percent increase year on year, with a more than a 230 percent increase in investment outside of London and the Southeast.”

The latter figure is especially good news, as the UK market has for too long been centred in the capital, with only pockets of investment elsewhere.

By contrast, recent research from analyst firm CB Insights found multimillion-dollar start-ups in 40 US states, one reason for American dominance.

However, the UK is world number two in digital finance and FinTech solutions, Hirt continued.

“The UK has more investment coming into its FinTech community than any other country in the world bar the United States, and we are ahead of the next six European countries combined,” she said.

“So, we are very much a leader in financial innovation. And we are very keen to continue in that position.”

“We had more than 700 deals in the UK last year, 30 of which were mega deals. Continuing that momentum is absolutely core for us, especially on the investment scale.”

So, why has the UK been so successful in nurturing its FinTech community? In part, it has been due to proactive, light-touch regulation, she said.

“We have an incredibly proactive regulator, and regulatory framework, plus outstanding investment. We also have a phenomenal talent pool, both domestic and international.”