HM Treasury (“HMT”) has appointed Richard Theo, co-founder and CEO of Wealthify, the online investment service, as the Government’s Regional FinTech Envoy for Wales, effective immediately1.
Richard’s role is testament to the Government’s strengthened regional approach and continued commitment to preserve the U.K.’s edge in FinTech. His remit will help drive further growth of the Welsh FinTech sector, which is brimming with commercial opportunity. With a booming digital economy now worth an estimated £8.5bn, it is already home to many leading tech-based companies like Go Compare, Confused.com and FTSE100 listed insurance giant, Admiral.
Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “Congratulations to Richard Theo for being appointed the UK Government’s Fintech Envoy for Wales. This is an exciting and emerging technology in which Wales is now an established UK leader, with companies ranging from giants like Admiral and Go Compare to a burgeoning host of start-ups.
“Financial services and FinTech are a dynamo that will create many more high-pay high-skills jobs in Wales. I look forward to receiving Richard’s advice on steering this sector to even greater success.”
In April 2016, the Government outlined its intention to ensure regional growth of FinTech. Following this announcement, HMT discussed best approach with various firms and regional stakeholders, and arrived at the decision to appoint Regional FinTech Envoys. The purpose of these roles was to support regional growth in new and existing hubs. In November 2017, HMT reviewed roles and decided to expand to more regions, including devolved administrations.
Richard Theo, co-founder and CEO of Wealthify, said: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed as the Government’s FinTech Envoy for Wales and to have a chance to help support the growth of FinTech in our region. South Wales is already a hotspot of FinTech success and is uniquely placed to become the leading FinTech centre outside London. It is a fantastic place to do business, benefitting from a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial culture, low operating costs, excellent connectivity and a great lifestyle. It’s already home to a wide range of accelerators and incubators, and a phenomenal network of Tech, FinTech and Financial Services businesses to help mentor and partner with.
“I fully support the Government’s ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world to start and grow a FinTech business, as set out in the Industrial Strategy and supported through the recently-launched FinTech Sector Strategy. The commitment to a £2.5bn fund to drive investment in innovation and high potential businesses is a vital and welcome step towards nurturing the future businesses of the UK economy.
“FinTech businesses have the ability to deliver enormous benefits to society. They produce increasingly intelligent and smart applications and services that are helping to transform the way we live, from simple things, like low cost foreign currency transactions, digital banking, micro-insurance, and personal budgeting, to our own effortless investing service, Wealthify. By helping to create the optimum environment in which small businesses and fintech firms can flourish, we’ll establish a stronger, more sustainable and more innovative economy in the UK.
“As a tech entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience building technology businesses from the ground up, I have a first-hand appreciation of the challenges and barriers entrepreneurs face when working to turn their ideas into profitable businesses. I am looking forward to working closely with HMT and stakeholders in Wales to maximise the potential for FinTech and help determine the most effective strategies to allow the UK as a whole to fulfil the promise of FinTech, post Brexit.”
Richard Theo is a serial entrepreneur with a passion and enthusiasm for technology that has driven him to establish a number of successful Wales-based technology companies, including protection insurance price comparison site, ActiveQuote, and most recently, online investment service, Wealthify, which entered into a strategic partnership with insurance giant, Aviva, in February 2018.
Richard’s businesses were all founded on a common belief in innovation through technology. He applies his software expertise to differentiate, innovate and derive competitive advantage, allowing his businesses to become innovation leaders within their respective markets.
Richard’s achievements as an entrepreneur have been recognised numerous times, including a Queen’s Award for Innovation, in 2016.