By @SimonCocking. Great interview and insights from Anna Scally KPMG Tax Partner. Head of Technology, Emerging Tech and FinTech Practices, KPMG Ireland – sponsors of the Fintech 20 Ireland event (just a few tickets left, book here).

Thanks your involvement in the Fintech 20 Ireland panel, what inspired you to get involved?

I continue to be inspired by the growth of the sector in Ireland in a relatively short amount of time. We know that consumers’ needs are changing rapidly and that the digital era is ushering in continued and exciting innovations in how we provide financial services and, despite some decline in global investment in recent months, research conducted by KPMG shows that funding is on pace to exceed 2015 investment levels. So, investors are taking note and that’s a positive signal for continued growth in this market.

What’s your role at KPMG? How significant is / will Fintech innovation be for the companies you work with and within your company

I am a tax partner at KPMG in Ireland with over 15 years’ experience advising Irish and international companies on tax matters. I lead KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecoms Practice and head up its practice for Emerging Technology companies. I also lead KPMG’s FinTech initiatives in Ireland. My specific areas of expertise include M&A, financing, group structuring, R&D, IP and international tax.

I work with clients in companies in the technology, media and telecoms sectors so innovations in FinTech have a profound impact and a number of touch points across all of these sectors.

What type of companies were most successful in terms of attracting your interest to vote for them?

There is intense global competition among countries and cities to establish themselves as hubs of excellence for FinTech and the companies that attracted my vote have demonstrated the potential to achieve scale and to assert Ireland’s position as a growing centre for FinTech development. The companies that attracted my interest are winning significant international clients and are gaining traction with international acquirers. They are passionate about what they do and see the scope for international growth.

Dublin has the ideal ecosystem for FinTech innovation and development in Europe. Anna Scally, KPMG and FPAI board director

What tips would you give to Fintech companies looking to do well going forwards?

In 2015, there was an explosion in FinTech opportunities — with increasing numbers of new business models, revenue streams, products and services coming onto the investment radar. This activity led to a major increase in venture capital funding, partly driven by alternative lending companies entering the fray of late-stage investing and driving private company valuations up.

In 2016, concerns about those high valuations, the lack of significant IPO exits and macro-economic factors seem to have led investors to be more cautious. Over the first two quarters of the year, investors focused on more experienced companies with proven technologies or business models. We are also seeing a shift towards co-creation in FinTech and it is in this area that I would encourage emerging FinTechs to look for new opportunities. A number of larger corporates have invested in internal innovation labs or ‘innovation garages’ in order to bring together FinTech companies to help them respond to challenges and test technologies —providing participating FinTechs with the support they need to grow. Interestingly, other areas of FinTech are moving into the spotlight, including blockchain, InsurTech and robo advisory. My advice is to pay close attention to what is happening globally to stay ahead of the curve.

What trends are you excited about in Fintech in general?

I am particularly excited about the opportunity for Ireland in the FinTech space. Notwithstanding global market uncertainties following the UK Brexit vote and the approaching US presidential elections, many corporates are forging ahead with fintech-related activities. Banks, financial institutions and insurance companies seem to be continuing to shift their view of FinTech companies as disruptors and competitors to one where they are viewed as partners and enablers, and this is good news for investors. In recent months, the focus has been on creating opportunities to leverage FinTech, whether through direct investment, acquisition or the creation of innovation labs, and that excites me.

What is the best way for people to find out more about KPMG?

See our website

Fintech 20 Ireland event, November 24th, meet Ireland’s top Fintech talent, tickets available

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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