Why the Leeds City Region Is One of the UK’s Leading FinTech Hubs

· Ali Turner · Digital & Tech

FinTech businesses are thriving in the Leeds City Region.


As the UK’s second city for financial services and a thriving tech hub, the Leeds City Region is the future of FinTech.

Technology has turned the financial services sector on its head, revolutionising processes and creating exciting new possibilities. According to Innovate Finance, UK FinTech companies attracted $12.5 billion (£10.3 billion) of investment in 2022, which means FinTech is the sector to watch. And there’s no better place to base your business than the Leeds City Region. After all, it’s part of one of the top 4 FinTech hubs in the UK, according to the Kalifa Review.

Financial services is our bread and butter

Leeds Building Society Office

It’s no secret that the Leeds City Region is the second home of financial, legal and professional services in the UK. Together, these industries have a GVA of £19.8 billion and employ 320,000 people. Over 30 national and international banks are based here, as well as three of the top five building societies, and Leeds is the only city outside London where all three of the UK’s major credit reference agencies have a main office.

Over recent years, our financial services creds have been bolstered by two new additions. The UK Infrastructure Bank opened and more recently expanded its Leeds offices to create 280 jobs. Since its inception, it’s completed 10 deals worth £4.6 billion. They were joined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whose new regional office created 100 new roles and hosts the organisation’s Digital Delivery Centre, which covers technology, delivery and data science.

Technology is one of our core strengths


Leeds is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the UK. In 2022, venture capital investment into the city’s startups increased by a whopping 88%, taking us from a healthy £153 million in 2021 to an eye-popping £288 million the following year. And that investment helped fuel tech hiring, which increased by 64% in Leeds and 49% across the wider Yorkshire and the Humber region. Put the two together, and it’s clear that confidence in the region, and the future, is high.

And while the tech sector is diverse, ranging from digital transformation to data analytics, it’s also uniquely placed to serve the financial services industry. We have a wealth of tech consultancies with experience of working in regulated markets, including operating around FCA regulations and compliance. Businesses like AND Digital, BJSS and Infinity Works part of Accenture are now helping to shape the future of the financial services industry.

FinTech is a major growth sector for the region

When it comes to growth, the numbers speak for themselves. The region’s FinTech GVA has increased by 101%, taking it from £353.5 million in 2020 to £710.7 million in 2023. And that’s just the beginning. There are now 201 firms operating in the sector, including 61 established financial services companies, 53 tech firms and 87 startups and scaleups. As a result, the FinTech sector now employs an estimated 7,804 people.

The region has seen an influx of high profile FinTech companies over the last few years, including the arrival of iwoca, one of the fastest growing business lenders in Europe, and LHV UK, the banking services provider to over 200 FinTech and crypto companies. And it’s not just businesses that we’ve attracted, it’s investment too. Panintelligence secured £4.5 million in Series A funding and green debit card Tred raised £600 in just 10 minutes in their latest crowdfunding wave.

The talent pool is growing every year

LUBS Help to Grow

Every year, 39,000 people graduate from the region’s 9 universities, and 17,995 of them come from STEAM subjects. Even better, they stick around. 56% of graduates who study here stay in the region and 70% of those who leave to study elsewhere come back to work here. That’s in addition to the existing talent pool, which includes nearly 1.4 million people educated to NVQ level 2 and above.

Our universities are tuned into the local economy and invested in its success, which means, alongside offering FinTech courses, they help to drive innovation and identify new opportunities through research. Earlier this year, the new Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation (CFTI), a national hub for FinTech, was launched at an event in Leeds. It’s the first of its kind, and will involve the University of Leeds, Leeds Business School and Leeds Beckett University.

A culture of collaboration fuels innovation


Credit: Amy Heycock

There’s something really quite special about the Leeds tech scene. The way businesses come together to share knowledge and support each other is incredible. You can see it in the packed events calendar, which includes a mix of meetups, events and the bi-annual Leeds Digital Festival, the biggest tech festival in the UK with 250 events at last count. Leeds is also home to FinTech North, a collaborative platform that has hosted over 100 events since 2016.

One of those events is the FinTech Challenge Leeds Showcase, which brings together entrepreneurs and established Financial Services institutions to encourage collaboration and innovation. It’s a community-wide endeavour that’s echoed in accelerators and tech hubs across the Leeds City Region, including the community of innovators at Nexus, where green finance is one of their three key focal areas, and the 100-strong tech cluster at Platform.

Venture capital investment and tech hiring statistics from end-of-year data from the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Dealroom. Leeds Fintech stats from the Leeds City Region FinTech Ecosystem Report 2023.