TWO new envoys are being appointed by the Government to help develop Scotland’s growing FinTech sector by building networks and fostering collaboration in what is one of the UK economy’s biggest areas of growth.

David Ferguson, CEO of Nucleus, and Louise Smith, head of design in personal and business banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, were named as ambassadors by Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby on a visit to Edinburgh.

Financial technology (FinTech) covers innovation in financial services, including e-banking, payment technologies, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, digital currencies such as Bitcoin and “robo” advice – automated investment advice delivered using algorithms.

It contributed £6.6 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year and employs more than 61,000 people UK-wide.

Scotland has a number of large FinTech firms, such as Nucleus, LendingCrowd, the ID Company and Float, and it is hoped the introduction of the envoys will help build a broader, supportive ecosystem that will support the sector’s overall growth.

Ferguson founded Scotland’s most successful FinTech company and Smith has detailed knowledge of how banks undertake digital transformation. The Treasury hopes they will help propel Scotland’s ecosystem into its next phase.

Ferguson said it was a privilege to be picked to help support the continued growth of FinTech.

“Over 10 years ago we embarked on our mission to challenge the established industry,” he said. “With technology and transparency at the heart of our thinking, we’ve been fortunate enough to become a successful and profitable player in what we now call FinTech.

“One of the hardest things to get right is balancing the responsibilities of looking after people’s money with the agility of the tech sector while also making money and I’m very excited to see how we can help others strike the right balance over the coming years.” Smith said: “I’m honoured and incredibly excited about developing Scotland as a FinTech centre of excellence.

“I’ve been involved with FinTech and digital-related activities for over 10 years and more recently with specific focus here in Scotland.

“I have seen first-hand the great work that it has achieved in putting Scotland on the global technology map. We have such a vibrant and talented community who are working on the very latest ideas, games, apps, systems and design.”

After London, Scotland turns out the most FinTech-related graduates in the UK – 12 per cent of the annual pool of 97,000 graduates.

Edinburgh University is the largest informatics school in Europe and 35 per cent of all technology spin-out companies in the UK come from Scotland’s educational institutions.

Graeme Jones, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “There is huge potential for growth in Scotland’s FinTech sector and a number of exciting developments taking place. David and Louise work at the heart of FinTech in Scotland and have the expertise, drive and commitment to provide leadership and make the connections needed for the development of the sector throughout the UK.”

Kirby added: “Their in-depth knowledge of the industry and excellent reputations make them the right people to drive forward positive change and allow Scottish FinTech to flourish.”