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Glad PLP’s fintech call has finally been heeded

The future: one of the fastest-growing areas in finance

In the 2015 Throne Speech Reply, delivered by Marc Bean, the Leader of the Opposition, key references were made to ways in which a Progressive Labour Party government would further economic development in Bermuda. These references were also included in the 2016 Budget Reply by David Burt, the shadow finance minister, which laid the groundwork for economic and social reinvigoration of the island.

One of the transformational commitments made is to establish a technological incubator at South Side, and to leverage Bermuda’s location and regulation to make our island a hub for fintech.

Short for financial technology, fintech is the industry composed of companies that use technology to make financial services more efficient. These companies can range from those that provide mobile banking and payment services, peer-to-peer lending, microfinancing and compliance services.

On page four of the 2015 Throne Speech Reply, it was stated regarding fintech that “it is one of the fastest-growing areas in terms of the global financial services industry. While we will need to ensure that the right regulatory and tax regime is in place and that costs, as it relates to communications and energy, are competitive, we are confident as with similar island states such as the Isle of Man, along with traditional centres such as Silicon Valley, New York City and London, that we to can compete in this space.”

Fintech has become increasingly prominent in recent years with global investment growing from $1 billion in 2008 to $19 billion in 2015. The passage of the Money Services Business Act can serve as the catalyst to establishing a fintech industry in Bermuda.

We in the PLP have been calling for diversification of our economy, and the development of a fintech industry in Bermuda will assist us in that regard. We cannot expect economic growth if we continue to do things the same way, so we are pleased that the One Bermuda Alliance government has finally heeded the PLP’s call with regard to fintech.

Our young people need hope and need to feel that there are opportunities for success. The vast majority are doing the “right thing” — going abroad for education, many even going to the graduate level — but are returning home to a country with little to offer them in terms of relevant employment. This trend needs to stop and economic diversification via fintech and other industries can reverse this trend.

There are many Bermudians who are well versed in emerging technologies and they should be able to take advantage of these opportunities.

Additional information regarding fintech can be found at the PLP’s plan for Bermuda at http://vision2025.plp.bm/

•Renée Ming is an Opposition senator and the shadow minister of municipalities