Scotland’s growing financial technology sector has become the first in the UK, and only the third in Europe, to receive formal accreditation as a cluster of excellence.

The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) looked at 36 economic indicators before making the award.

The Scottish cluster was founded as an independent industry organisation by the financial services sector, universities, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, and is overseen by FinTech Scotland.

Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “The global financial services sector is being transformed by technology which is providing a range of benefits such as speeding up transactions, making payments more secure and helping avoid problem debt. 

“Scotland is already at the forefront of these developments, which has helped attract major investments from large financial companies including LLoyds Banking Group, Barclays, J.P. Morgan Chase as well as a number of fast-growing international fintech enterprises in the past 18 months.

“This accreditation will further increase our international profile and is another step towards the goal of being ranked among the world’s top five fintech cluster nations.”

Stephen Ingledew, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “We are very proud of this cluster excellence recognition. It is a symbolic flag we can fly which will increase our reputation amongst firms and investors across Europe, USA and the Far East.

“Scotland is increasingly being recognised as offering the innovation, skills, culture and expertise that global fintech enterprises and investors seek.

“As well as awarding the accreditation, ESCA’s benchmarking report details actions FinTech Scotland can lead to further develop the nation’s fintech cluster and global engagement which in turn will help shape our priorities for 2020 and beyond.”