The growth of FNZ highlights the strength of a thriving fintech scene in Scotland, after attracting interest from Al Gore's investment vehicle, among others
Wealth management disruptor FNZ has become the first Scotland-based fintech to achieve unicorn status – passing the $1bn (£753m) valuation threshold that marks high-growth tech firms.
Based in Edinburgh, the company is one of a number of financial technology businesses forming part of a vibrant fintech hub in Scotland.
In a deal worth £1.65bn, Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec combined to acquire stakes previously owned by General Atlantic and HIG Capital.
FNZ partners with major financial institutions to enable them to provide multi-channel wealth management services to their clients across multiple channels.
CEO and founder Adrian Durham said: “FNZ is a growth business and I’m pleased to say that we have continued to grow apace, benefiting from the investment being made in our own technology and processes, our increasing scale, and the effort and dedication of our highly-skilled people.
“The question we asked when launching FNZ was how can technology solve the problems faced by consumers of long-term savings products?
“We knew then, and it’s still true today, that technology is the key to unlocking many of the solutions to the problems typically faced by customers.
“It was important therefore for us to expand our business into a destination that was technologically advanced and would support our ambitions. We certainly found that in Scotland.”
New unicorn FNZ is championing a thriving Scottish fintech scene
Although not a truly Scottish business – it was founded in New Zealand in 2003 – FNZ found a home for itself in Tanfield, Edinburgh, and has been operating in the country for almost 15 years.
It holds £330bn in assets under administration from around five million customers globally, and serves some of the world’s largest financial institutions, including Standard Life Aberdeen, Santander, Lloyds Bank, Vanguard, Generali and Barclays.
It has a global footprint, with 500 of its 1,500 employees based in the UK – and 350 of those located in Edinburgh.
Scotland has a thriving fintech scene, with the number of firms working in the industry tripling in 2018 to 80.
Stephen Ingledew, CEO at FinTech Scotland, said: “FNZ is a shining example of how innovative enterprises can grow and expand on the international stage from Scotland.
“The impact of FNZ on the UK and global savings and investment market has been seismic for both the financial services industry and many consumers, and we are delighted FNZ is part of the Scottish ecosystem which is having such a significant international impact.”
Graeme Jones, CEO of Scottish Financial Enterprise, added: “FNZ is a fabulous success story for Scotland. Reaching unicorn status is a remarkable achievement and testament to what can be accomplished within our thriving financial services industry.
“The company is a leader in innovation, a major player within financial services and a sizeable employer, all of which is evidence of Scotland maintaining its gold standard legacy within our industry.”