The rise of contactless: a penny for your thoughts?

Did you know that half of all debit card payments in the UK are now contactless? 

For Londoners, perhaps, this is no surprise – given that your morning coffee (an oat milk latte to go, please!) from the small van outside the tube station, your cramped morning commute and your supermarket meal deal can now all be paid for through contactless. Indeed, I wonder how many of the transactions were accompanied by a sheepish proclamation of “It’s so easy to spend like this!” as that now-familiar beep marks that the transaction has gone through. And if you’re spending with your contactless-enabled smart phone or watch, you receive a notification almost instantly, with a summary of the transaction to help you see where the money is going. 

When it comes to spending, contactless is not the only innovation transforming how we manage our money. For example, Facebook Messenger-based Cleo – which hails itself as an intelligent assistant for your money –  helps individuals track their categorised spending habits, and mobile apps like Plum and Moneybox round up your small change and save it automatically for you. These can make spending more efficient and more transparent and build up all important savings pots too. 

Ease and convenience is behind the considerable boon for contactless technology – evidenced by two thirds of UK adults now plumping to use contactless payments. In fact, with 124 million debit and credit cards in circulation across the UK being contactless-capable, this technology  has fast become standard. So normalised is cashless spending that even Monopoly has done away with its notes in favour of tappable cards. 

The rise of this next-generation card payment technology and its increasing normality seems to be tipping the scales towards a more cash-independent society – but this is by no means the demise of cash. Barclays recently announced it would cease to offer cash withdrawal services through local post office, but considerable backlash following the announcement saw Barclays u-turn on the decision. Still, there is a tectonic shift happening across the UK’s retail banking landscape: more than a third of the UK’s physical bank branches have closed since 2015. 

From a business perspective, the overheads of bank branches and cash withdrawal services are more expensive than online banking and cashless spending. But cashless living does not suit everyone, and financial services providers have a responsibility to cater to all. 

Personally, I withdraw cash on a barely-monthly basis, and typically rely on ApplePay. Instead of a purse, I carry a card holder in which loose change is a bulky inconvenience. I know plenty of people who share this sentiment, but I wonder how much cash you’ve got in your purse or wallet right now, and what constitutes your ‘normal’? Are you a connoisseur of contactless? A chip and pin devotee? Or, when it comes to spending your money, is cash still king?

How To Create A Marketing Persona In 5 Simple Steps

Marketing personas are the foundation of any solid inbound marketing strategy. They help you find your ideal clients—the ones you absolutely love to work with. They stop you from pursuing uninterested leads, and they’re the most efficient way to grow your business. 

Don’t believe me? Here are three jaw-dropping stats about marketing personas:

  1. 3-4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales
  2. 82% of companies using personas have seen an improved value proposition
  3. 72% of consumers are more likely to believe a brand is relevant when it delivers highly personalized content

Now that you’re convinced, let’s talk about how to create a marketing persona in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Identify Your Marketing Goals

How do you want these personas to improve your marketing? Do you want them to drive sales revenue? Increase email click-through rates or web traffic? Build customer loyalty? Whatever it is, identify your goals so you can create your marketing personas to match. 

Having these goals laid out in front of you allows you to pinpoint the information you need to gather in Step 2. If one of your marketing goals is to increase web traffic, for example, you can collect data on how your target audience interacts with brands online.  

Laying these goals out ahead of time ensures both you and your customers benefit from these personas. You reach your KPIs and your customers feel connected to your brand.

Step 2: Do Research & Get To Know Your Customer

This step is all about the nitty-gritty. It’s where you roll up your sleeves, do the research, and get to know who your customers really are (not just who you think they are). 

To gather this information, start by collecting real data about your ideal customers. Identify their:

  • Demographic information (age, gender, location, ethnicity, income, occupation, education level, marital status, and so on). 
  • Psychographic information (their hobbies, interests, attitudes, and beliefs)
  • Social media activity (what platform they use most, why, how often, etc.)
  • Buying habits (are they impulse shoppers or habitual researchers? How much discretionary income do they spend each month?)
  • Pain points (identify how your product improves their lives and where it falls short)

So, by now you’re probably wondering, “How do I collect this information?” If you have a customer-facing team, start there. Have team members compile a list of common user pain points, needs, and characteristics. 

Other data collecting methods include:

  • Hosting focus groups (invite your most loyal customers to an intimate gathering where you can ask them questions one-on-one)
  • Distributing multiple-choice surveys (you can do this via email, social media, or old-school snail mail)
  • Examining existing current data (look at your CRM database, past sales, returns, user profiles, and so on)

Step 3: Create Multiple Marketing Personas

Now that you’ve collected all the data, it’s time to create your personas. For this step, we recommend creating a graphical profile you can share with your marketing team. There are dozens of free marketing persona templates online. Some popular ones include Hubspot, Socialbakers, and IMPACT

As a general rule, we recommend creating 3-4 marketing personas. Unless you’re a small company with one product or service, one persona won’t be enough. 3-4 personas are broad enough to cover your core ideal clients but specific enough to speak directly to them. 

It may sound silly, but give every persona a name and a profile picture. This gives your marketing team a crystal clear picture of who you’re marketing to. 

Next, list out their demographic information (refer to Step 3 for a list of items to include). Finally, move into their psychographic information (this includes their technographic information, social media activity, buying habits, and pain points).

Step 4: Use These Marketing Personas In Your Campaigns

Here’s where we tie everything back into Step 1 and take action. Now that you have your personas in hand, use them in your marketing campaigns. You may even want to share these personas with other departments in your company that may benefit from these profiles.

Your customer service team, for example, can use these personas as a guide when communicating with customers via phone or email. 

A sales department can use these personas to drive home potential sales. 

The copywriting team can use these personas to tell stories that connect with your audience, speak to customers using language they understand, and create originality.

Step 5: Update Your Persona Twice A Year

Over 74% of customers feel frustrated when marketing content isn’t personalized. To keep your personas relevant, update them every six months. 

This may seem like overkill, but people aren’t static and your personas shouldn’t be either. Trends come and go, technology advances, and buying habits change as a result. Your customers may be using Instagram today, but a year from now they may be using an app that hasn’t even been released yet. 

Think of your personas as actual living, breathing people. Their beliefs and journeys change over time. Take note as these changes happen and make sure your content reflects them.  

The Bottom Line

Marketing personas, if used correctly, allow you to see the world through your customers’ eyes. It gives you a way to speak to them with laser focus and make them feel like you designed your products specifically for them. When your customers feel loved, heard, and appreciated, everyone wins. 

Creating personas involves a lot of work upfront, but it more than pays off in the long-run. “If only 1 out of 10 people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90% of your time and resources,” writes Eric Siu, CEO and marketing guru of Single Grain

How has your company leveraged marketing personas to connect with customers? Let us know on social.


5 Myths About Working for a Small Agency: Debunked

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine your ideal work environment. What does it look like? Is it buzzing with people who mega-appreciate you and push you to do your best? Does it have killer benefits and a stellar work-life balance? Is it a place you picture yourself staying at… well, forever… simply because, no other place could beat it?

Yeah, that’s what we envision too. 

Now let me ask you this… how big is this perfect work environment? Is it a large corporate firm, a small agency, or somewhere in the middle? 

You may think you need to work at a Fortune 500 to have this coveted ideal work environment, but that’s not true. 

We’re here to tell you that you can have all that (and more) at a small agency like Vested. 

Curious to know more? Read on to find out how Vested is debunking 5 common myths about working at a small agency.

Myth 1: They Don’t Work With Big-Name Brands

False. Vested works with some of the biggest financial brands in the industry, from established global institutions all the way down to disruptive fintech startups.  

We do speechwriting for the CMO of American Express and the CEO of Bloomberg. We created an award-winning website for Citadel. Morgan Stanley hired us to help launch their new robo-advisory service (along with a host of other digital products). 

As the fastest-growing PR agency in the world, we work with big names like Morningstar, Bloomberg, and Goldman Sachs, and we couldn’t be more proud. 

Technology is transforming the way people think about financial services. We’re focused on helping the financial services industry transition seamlessly into today’s digital age.

Myth 2: There’s No Work-Life Balance

This is false, too. Vested offers unlimited vacation time, unlimited sick time and a totally, no-questions-asked work from home policy. 

We know you want control over the things that matter most to you—your time, your health, and your emotional well-being. 

We know you have dreams that extend far beyond what you do at work. You want to travel. You want to explore, create, and try new things. We want you to do all that too (and more). 

That’s why every full-time employee gets a paid 3-month sabbatical every 4 years. (I can tell you that’s something most companies don’t do—not even the bigger guys.) Not to toot our own horn, but Vested was even named Top Place to Work by PR News.

Myth 3: There’s No Diversity Or Company Culture

Vested was founded by three immigrants and second generation-ers, each from different parts of the globe. From top to bottom, diversity is a part of our DNA

We’re diverse in citizenship—60 percent of Vested employees are dual citizens. 

Our team is diverse in religion—we have seven different religions represented in our office. 

The Vested team is diverse in background—we don’t just hire people with finance degrees. Collectively, our employees cover 25 different areas of study, from business and accounting all the way down to film and women’s studies. 

We’re just as diverse in thoughts and opinions as we are in race, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

We know that a lack of diversity and inclusion is at the foundation of many problems we see today. The financial services industry has a reputation for being homogeneous, and we’re working hard to change that.  

Our rapid success is directly related to our intentional and obsessive commitment to diversity and inclusion. We couldn’t help our widely diverse range of clients if we ourselves weren’t diverse too.

Myth 4: They Don’t Have Great Benefits Or Pay

Remember the 3-month sabbatical and the unlimited out-of-office policies we mentioned in Myth #2? Well, wait… there’s more. 

At Vested, we believe our employees should feel like bonafide rock stars (because you definitely are one). That’s why every Vested employee gets a Vested Uber account, free Starbucks and Bluestone account. Not to mention we have a killer snack selection featuring beer and cold brew on tap (need I say more?). 

We’re growing at lightning speed. When you join #TeamVested, you get to grow at lightning speed too. Our bonuses and equity programs mean there’s no ceiling to what you can earn. When we win, you win too. On top of our awesome benefits, we also offer a competitive salary. And when someone graduates from our Vested Graduate Program, they’re immediately given a $5,000 signing bonus and a full-time job.

Myth 5: They Lack Transparency

At Vested, we believe the only way to attract and retain the best is by sharing the most. You want to own a piece of what you work for. You want to have a stake in its success. 

That’s why every full-time employee at Vested is a dividend-yielding shareholder. As Vested grows, so do you. We have a quarterly profit share pool, and we pay commissions on new business and candidate referrals. That’s just our way of saying thanks for helping our firm grow.

Many people think working for a small agency means no job security, and we disagree. 

In the name of transparency, every Vested employee gets a quarterly financial performance report from our CFO. We even break down how each performance maps back to employee bonuses and our profit share pool. We want you to know exactly how our company is doing—for better or for worse.

Why We’re In-Vested In You

Our business model is grounded in three things: hiring great people, investing in them, and giving them the tools to succeed. We actually call this our Manivesto because we’re committed to investing in our employees and keeping them around for the long haul. 

You want to flex your creative muscles and build something greater than yourself. We know that. That’s why Vested uses an integrated approach to communications. We apply a mix of marketing, PR, social, and paid media techniques to help businesses raise their profile, improve their reputation, and drive sales. 

We’re growing at lightning speed and there’s no end in sight. The small agency you start with today may very well be a large agency a decade from now. If you’re an innovative problem solver who wants an active role in building something greater than yourself, then we want to talk to you.   Want to join #TeamVested? Check out our job openings at https://fullyvested.com/careers/.




10 Reasons Why Your Company Needs A Blog (With Statistics!)

You may be on the fence about whether your company needs a blog. But, what if I told you blogs are the most cost-effective ways to reach your audience? 

It’s true! Over 50% of marketers say blogs have increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, and web traffic. They add value to your company and turn your website into a priceless hub of information. 

Still need convincing? Here are 10 reasons why your company needs a blog. Plus, we’ve backed all 10 reasons with statistics. Go ahead, take a look!

  1. Drives Traffic To Your Website

Blogs are a tried and true way of driving traffic back to your website. And because it’s a long-term strategy, website traffic actually improves the longer your blog sticks around. Here’s why. For every 10 blog posts you write, one has the potential to compound—meaning website traffic increases over time due to organic searches. Once a blog post has compounded, it generates as much traffic as six regular posts.

2. Gives Your Brand a Voice

Your brand’s voice plays a huge role in your ability to connect with consumers. In a recent study, 80% of consumers said “authenticity of content” was the most influential factor in their decision to follow a brand. 

Brands often lack personality—especially in the financial services space. Add in ever-changing regulation and compliance issues, and it makes it even harder. 
Blogs give you the ability to tell your company’s story in a way that resonates with readers. You get to add emotion, develop your brand’s tone, and use storytelling to explain your products and services in a way that empowers your audience to take action.

3. Builds Trust With Your Audience

Trying to build trust with your audience is no easy feat—especially now when most businesses are online. A recent study shows 47% of buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before taking the first step towards making a purchase. 

Blogs are at the top of the sales funnel, so they’re a great way to raise awareness about your company. As visitors come back to your website for help, they begin to trust you. That trust moves them one step further down your sales funnel.

4. Generates Leads

Companies with blogs get 67% more leads than those without. Blogs can be used to showcase products and services, establish your online presence, and improve your credibility. All these forces work together to generate leads. 

Once you’ve hooked a potential customer with a valuable blog post, a strong call to action—such as a discount code or a free downloadable—can be all it takes to get them to share their email address. Once you have that, you can follow-up and close the sale.

5. Improves Social Media Presence

Quality content and a strong social media presence are two of the four highest factors consumers use when determining the credibility of a blog. If you have a strong social media presence but no blog, you’re missing out on the opportunity to engage readers by asking them to share content they like, leave comments, and spark conversation.

6. Boosts SEO

Have you ever googled something, then gone to the second or third page of the search results to find your answer? For 75% of us, the answer is no. All the info we need on a topic is usually right there on the first page. 
But, how do you get your company’s content to rank there? Through writing blog posts that are search engine optimized. Google’s search engines are always on the hunt for new content. The websites that rank the highest are typically those who produce invaluable information on a regular basis.

7. Costs Less Than Paid Advertising

Did you know 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads? This is good news for marketers as ads generally cost more than blogs. In fact, businesses who nurture leads (through blog posts, for example) make 50% more sales at 33% less cost than non-nurtured leads. Blogs are one of the best ways to walk your readers through every step of the buyer’s journey.

8. Stays Online Forever

Blogs are around for virtually forever. The post you write today will still be online 10+ years from now. And as long as the content is evergreen, your audience will still find the information valuable. That’s why 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget and allocated those funds towards content marketing.

9. Makes Great Email Marketing Content

Do you have a long list of emails you’ve collected over the years? If so, a blog can be a great way to keep those users active and engaged with your brand. Businesses that link to their blog experience 2x the email traffic than those who don’t. Every time you write a blog post, send your email list a link to it. This builds customer loyalty and keeps your company top-of-mind.


10. Encourages Inbound Links

Companies that blog receive 97% more inbound links to their website than companies that don’t. Let that sink in. If a credible website reads your content and decides to link to it in one of their posts, it boosts your SEO and credibility with Google. The more inbound links you have, the higher your content will rank in search results.

The Bottom Line

Blogging is one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with your audience. You reap the benefits of increased sales, website traffic, and customer retention while customers learn to trust you and the products and services you offer. What more could you ask for? 

Has your company created a blog yet? If so, how is it paying off? Let us know on social!


A new home for the UK team

Home sweet home – a highly emotive phrase – and as a serial property renovator, one which I apply as much at work as I do at home. While at home, three properties in 10 years seemed like a lot, doing things the Vested way makes this our fifth office in less than two years.

Why? Well office number one was where it all started, with space for four and no natural light, then we graduated to a window. Our next office, by comparison, seemed luxurious, with space for eight and a prime view. Then this time last year we moved location to an office in the heart of the city that could accommodate our growing team. A full year on and time for a change, we have made it to office number five.

Vested London is now based in the aptly named Treasure House in Hatton Garden. We have a Vested green wall, plenty of plants, views of the jewelry district, a great event space and a place that feels more like home. A home with creativity at its heart, with personal service, with lovely neighbours and space to grow – a place that feels just a little more us.

So this blog is really a big thank you to the team for weathering the move, for the box packing and unpacking, and for their commitment to relentless change. Hopefully, office number five will be a keeper for a little while, and in the meantime, may it be home sweet home!

Challenger banks: The end of an era?

Every Monday morning, the Vested team holds an editorial meeting to discuss the weekend’s papers and the themes we expect to see driving the news agenda for the week ahead. Challenger banks were the main topic of discussion this week, with the Financial Times reporting that new entrants are failing to make the impact they promised.

This isn’t the first time an article of this tone has been published; 2019 has been a pretty challenging year for ‘the challengers’, to say the least. Metro Bank’s shares recently fell 30 percent after plans for a bond sale were scrapped, while CYBG lost a fifth of its market value in September after announcing mis-sold PPI would wipe £300-450m off its profits.

When so much was promised from the challenger banks, why are we seeing so many of them struggling?

Once again, many have singled out regulation as the issue. Despite the Bank of England offering more than a dozen new banking licenses, challenger banks claim there is a contradiction in policy, meaning it is difficult for them to grow. Others say “ring-fencing” is the issue, which is particularly difficult for the larger challenger banks.

We could look at the ins and outs of each piece of regulation, but Metro Bank’s current issues can be attributed to unforced errors. Earlier in the year the bank revealed that it had made an error when classifying its loan book, instantly wiping £800m off the value of the company. With shares currently hovering at around £2, after falling from £22 at the start of the year, it seems that a takeover is looking most likely; this will result in a complete restructure of the business.

If Metro Bank and CYBG are more focused on their balance sheets at this moment in time, does this mean neobanks are in the best position to challenge the big four? The likes of Monzo and Revolut certainly have the investment in place to make the big four stand up and take notice, but as soon as they grow any bigger, it’s likely they will meet the same regulatory issues that the bigger challenger brands are currently facing. 

Aside from regulation, growing a business so rapidly brings a completely different set of challenges for the neobanks. Revolut has already faced criticism earlier in the year around banking licenses and advertisements. With the firm looking to expand the team from 1,500 to 5,000 and launch in 23 more countries, it will face more scrutiny than ever before. If Revolut can successfully implement this strategy, it will then become a lot clearer as to who is really going to challenge the big four.

By George Pitt

More on the blog:
Thomas Cook’s reputation in turbulence: what can we learn from it?
Breakfast & Brainfood: SME Finance Discussion
London: The next fintech hub?

Thomas Cook’s reputation in turbulence: what can we learn from it?

Exactly one week after Thomas Cook fell into liquidation, former Chief Executive, Peter Fankhauser said in an interview in The Sunday Times, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong… We were so close to a deal’. But with 9,000 UK jobs lost, hotels all over the world at risk of closure and 600,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad, ‘so close’ wasn’t close enough to save the business.

It’s a tale as old as time; a story of failed modernisation. Since the dotcom boom, we’ve seen lots of the UK’s most-loved high street names falling by the wayside. It was Woolworths in 2008, and BHS in 2016. Just last month the BBC reported that the number of empty retail spaces is at an all-time high as businesses generated less than 20% of sales on the shop floor compared to online.

But while this started out as a story about the declining British high street, as the dust settles, we’re able to look at what Thomas Cook’s fall represents for trusted household brands all over the world and what we – as communications practitioners – can learn from it. There are obvious business lessons; invest in your online journey; be responsive to changing customer behaviours and modernise, but there are lessons to be learned from how the industry has responded to the crisis too.

  • The industry and Thomas Cook’s competitors have put on a united ‘family’ front in the wake of last week’s news, but customers have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths at the massive price rises they’ve seen when trying to rebook their holidays with other providers. EasyJet and Jet2 blamed this on algorithms designed to respond to supply and demand, but some holidaymakers saw identical trips costing thousands of pounds more. Cashing in on a crisis is never a good look, and while it may deliver short-term financial gain, the reputation damage is long-lasting.
  • We always encourage our clients to have a robust crisis strategy in place, and this goes further than press statements and media interviews, it needs to be functional. Thomas Cook customers complained of website crashes and blocked phone lines in the days following the announcement, but it wasn’t only those trying to get through to Thomas Cook who struggled. There were reports of website crashes, long phone queues and poor communications from competitors, should they have had the foresight to plan for the collapse of a major competitor too?
  • In a crisis, speed is everything. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was quick to build a Thomas Cook microsite to host all the information customers stranded abroad may need. At a time when Thomas Cook reps, hotel staff and airport staff were unable to provide sound advice and guidance, the website offered reassurance.
  • There have also been valuable lessons about internal communications. Rachel Murrell was one of the 9,000 UK-based Thomas Cook employees who lost their jobs last weekend, had worked at the company for twenty years and found out the company had gone under via a staff WhatsApp group. She doesn’t know when she’ll next be paid and has now generated national headlines by pledging to walk 200 miles from Devon to Westminster to ‘demand answers’. However, the commitment of staff who have been working unpaid to bring holidaymakers home has generated a different style of headline and their dedication shows that the culture and values within the business were a strong driving force for its people.

Thomas Cook isn’t the first well-loved household brand to disappear, and as consumer behaviours shift and evolve, businesses have a responsibility to keep up, or deal with the consequences of falling behind. As communications practitioners there’s always so much we can learn from the experience of other businesses and the communications successes and challenges they have faced along the way.

We put audiences at the heart of everything we do for our clients at Vested. By constantly reviewing their habits, wants, needs and dislikes, our clients are able to communicate with them effectively, and anticipate what their next move is going to be.

By Sophie Paterson

More from our blog:
Breakfast & Brainfood: SME Finance Discussion
London: The next fintech hub?
UK CEO joins Facebook Financial Services Summit panel

Breakfast & Brainfood: SME Finance Discussion

Vested UK hosts its second annual SME Finance Monitor Breakfast & Brainfood event

What do SME finance and mini croissants have in common? Not an awful lot, unless you were at our event this morning! We had the pleasure of hosting our second annual SME Finance Monitor Breakfast & Brainfood event, hearing from Shiona Davies, ‘the most authoritative source on SME finance’ talking us through the latest findings from the BVA BDRC SME Finance Monitor.

Our Breakfast & Brainfood event series brings together leaders in financial services communications and marketing to discuss, debate and challenge different themes and trends from the industry. In the past we’ve heard from Longitude at the Financial Times on thought leadership and Trajectory on future trends.  

Shiona led us through the results which led to a lively conversation. Some of the key outtakes and questions which sparked the conversation were:

  • The demand ‘v’ supply debate – banks are regularly criticised for the lack of funding. But how many SMEs are actually looking for finance? 
  • The growth mindset, it’s not shared by all businesses. But some very successful businesses are happy with the status quo and not looking to double their turnover every year. They still make a valuable contribution to the economy!
  • That said businesses are looking increasingly at their profit margin, not just the profit. Is this prompted by a desire to take less risk and do a better job of what they’re already doing over-aggressive expansion?
  • How is Brexit really impacting how SMEs are feeling and what they’re doing? And will there be a watershed post-Brexit …. We concluded there probably won’t … but only time will tell.

Unsurprisingly, many SMEs aren’t aware of the options available to them, with just half having heard of Funding Circle, arguably the biggest peer to peer lending platform for small businesses. The conversation then slanted to focus on the role that communications and marketing has to play; in helping SMEs to realise the impact finance could have for them, that finance is a good option for their business and the opportunities it could drive. With small businesses being at the heart of the UK economy, and as a fast-growing business ourselves, we know the future is bright for UK SMEs.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next Breakfast & Brainfood event – it’ll be egg-celent… (sorry)! 

More from our blog:
UK CEO joins Facebook Financial Services Summit
London: The next fintech investment hub?
A day in the #VestedLife with Kris Lam

London: The next fintech hub?

After a week of downpours, while our colleagues in New York bask in the sun, it’s safe to say summer is over in the UK. However, we have got one thing to brag about: London has just overtaken New York in fintech investment.

During a week of political chaos (to put it politely), Innovate finance and London & Partners managed to find a way to get into the news agenda to reveal London has attracted 114 investments, breaking value of more than $2bn (£1.6bn). New York managed to attract 101 deals, while San Francisco saw 80. Our colleagues on the West coast can still boast about living in fintech capital of the world, with $3bn raised in the Silicon Valley. But let’s take San Francisco out the picture for now and look at why London is attracting so much investment.

Over the last decade, London has managed to cement its position as one of the leading fintech centers with some of the fastest-growing companies emerging from the capital. Early-stage startup funding has been key to this, with businesses receiving more than double than the global average. Makes sense why the underground is full to the brim with fintech advertisement.

We also have the biggest pool of people working in the fintech sector, around 44,000. This is more than Silicon Valley or New York.

From an outsider looking in, some might think London is in a state of chaos. If you’re hanging around Westminster, you’re probably right. But outside of SW1, VC investors haven’t been put off. We still have the most “international” investors, with 39 percent of deals involving an investor outside of the UK.  Only 15 percent of investors in New York came from outside of the US, and just 11 percent San Francisco.

So what’s next for London? Is this just a honeymoon period or are we going to be giving San Francisco a run for its money? According to the CEO of London & Partners, it looks like London is ready to take that challenge as the capital is continuing to push the boundaries of the existing ecosystem. We also echo that thought at Vested. Every day, we are having more and more conversations with clients about disruption and excited to see how that landscape grows.

By George Pitt

More from our blog:
UK CEO joins Facebook Financial Services Summit
10 fresh marketing ideas for your financial services brand
Robots: love them or loathe them?

UK CEO joins Facebook Financial Services Summit panel

Today I had the pleasure of joining a panel at the Facebook Financial Services Summit on the future of finance, considering the roles of technology, society, and culture. No small subject then but one which sits very dear to my heart. Ultimately, where is our industry headed?

I loved listening to the points of view from my fellow participants – from Russell Smith from Monzo whose passion for working for a mission-led, customer-centric disrupter was clear; to James Clark from the London Stock Exchange who is finding the firms who will list in the future and working with them to gear up and Adrian Walcott whose culture change business is helping those in financial services find and share their hearts.

Moderated by Nicola Day, Facebook’s fintech lead, the panel debated several key areas:

–               The rise of a more financially aware customer

–               The development of new business models to meet their needs

–               Finding the right team for the journey

–               The shift to more responsible financial solutions

–               What loyalty will look like in the future

And in each case, how financial services firms and their competitors are adapting, adopting, shifting and changing to position themselves for the future.

Ultimately it reminded me of why I started working in this industry so many years ago and what keeps me going today – that money plays such a critical role in economies, society and the lives of individuals rich and poor – and that supporting those who are positively driving change for the future means I can play my role in supporting the world in which we all live.

Oh and P.S., for those attending, the book I mentioned was Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.