FinTech Scotland’s CEO Nicola Anderson has translated her leadership role at the regulator to establish the future of compliance in the UK and across the globe.

“Sometimes you have to be curious about things,” said Nicola Anderson, the chief executive of FinTech Scot- land as she explained her organisation’s approach to innovation.

FinTech Scotland, which was established to secure the nation’s place as a top-five global fintech centre, has been reaching for the stars through a recent collaboration with fellow cluster body, Space Scotland.

The programme has resulted in a number of use-cases highlighting how satellite geospatial data can be used by the financial services industry to support work on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) development.

“Geospatial data is an absolutely fantastic resource and asset, but the financial services industry and fintech capability across the UK are only start- ing to learn about it,” said Anderson.

“Importantly, what we achieved through that programme was greater collaboration across two innovative sectors that will drive change with a positive outcome for the environment and for customers.”

The collaborative work was signposted on FinTech Scotland’s research and innovation roadmap, a ten-year plan for the group set out in 2022. According to Anderson, the roadmap represents “a collective opportunity for the UK”.

She added: “We can leverage strengths across Scotland to deliver that research and innovation roadmap, but we know that there’s collaborative opportunities across the UK to do more.”

In another landmark move, the body also announced the launch of the Financial Regulation Innovation Lab (FRIL) at the UK Fintech Symposium in Edinburgh.

The initiative aligns with a number of fintech bodies formed in response to the HM Treasury FinTech Sector Review – otherwise known as the Kalifa Review.

Based in Glasgow and working in partnership with the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, FRIL will focus on how the financial industry can simplify compliance in an era of AI and other emerging, potentially disruptive technologies.

Anderson said: “How can we build the confidence of our industry to adopt these types of technologies knowing that they are going to give the right outcomes for businesses and for consumers – and they’re not going to increase risk?

“Actually, in some cases, we can drive greater outcomes for people because of this type of capability. I’m really quite excited about it.”

Aiming to build a “UK asset with global connections”, FRIL offers a highly compelling prospect for industry.

Anderson estimates the cost of UK regulatory compliance for financial services is around £9 billion.

“If we can even shave off half a per cent of cost, imagine the opportunity for investment we have in our financial services sector, and in our colleagues, and then the future of finance,” she said.

Prior to joining FinTech Scotland, Anderson gained a significant under- standing of UK financial services as a senior leader overseeing retail banking at the industry watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Having been born on a farm in Northern Ireland and studying business in Liverpool give her a unique perspective on the shape and form of fintech across the UK.

Speaking of the recent symposium in Edinburgh, she said: “It’s always fantastic to be able to draw the UK fintech family together.

“We’re really proud at FinTech Scotland to be part of the broader UK fintech opportunity and feel really responsible, actually, to make sure that we’re playing our part.

“Financial services in Scotland have a long-standing heritage, they are a great and an important sector to the economy. So it’s really vital that as we think about the future of finance, we start to really think about how we lead and implement that agenda.

“London is a really important part of the story, there is no doubt about that.

“But we all have a really important responsibility in demonstrating our capabilities across the UK that supports that. It’s about collaboration and action.

“And it’s about recognising our collective strengths that really help to position us as a broader investable opportunity, as opposed to it’s one part of the UK or another.”