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London fintech to open in Montreal in face of Brexit concerns


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https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/london-fintech-to-open-in-montreal-to-combat-brexit-concerns-20180605

London fintech to open in Montreal in face of Brexit concerns

Behavox founder slams UK government’s 'racist' immigration policies that will hinder its ability to hire tech talent in the City

By

Lucy McNulty


June 5, 2018 Updated: June 6, 2018 12:34 p.m. GMT

Behavox, a London-headquartered regulatory technology firm, is set to open an office in Canada next month amid concerns that the UK government’s “racist” immigration policies will hinder its ability to hire tech talent in the City after Brexit.

Erkin Adylov, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer, said the move had been motivated by his opposition to the “isolationist tone” that had been adopted by the UK government since the country voted to exit the European Union.

“I just don't trust the government anymore,” the former Goldman Sachs analyst and GLG fund manager said. “If they decide to shut down borders tomorrow then our business is exposed and we need to mitigate our risk.”

The UK’s financial technology sector has been lobbying the government in recent months to help them more easily recruit foreign tech talent to the country. Innovate Finance, the sector’s trade body, in April warned that a strict immigration policy could harm the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business and, ultimately, lead to a shortage of highly-skilled workers.

Fintechs currently have to compete with several other sectors, including the NHS, for access to a pool of 20,700 skilled-person visas, awarded annually by the government. Startup founders have complained the application process is lengthy, expensive and uncertain.

The UK government on Sunday announced its intentions to review the process.

But Adylov said the move simply added to his concern about the UK government’s ill-thought through and “often reactionist” policies.

“This is yet another knee-jerk reaction to critics and press,” he said, adding it lacked strategic direction.

The UK process was a three-month long “ordeal” that included a requirement to prove that similar talent cannot be found in the country, according to Adylov. In Canada, the same process was more reliable and took four to eight weeks, he said.

Behavox counts US lender Citigroup among its investors and provides clients, including hedge fund Marshall Wace and broker TP Icap, with surveillance software to monitor their staff and capital markets activity.

It expects to receive permission to open in Montreal in June. The firm will shift 15 staff from its Russian and London offices to the Canadian city by July. It will then add a further 35 in the region by the end of 2018.

Adylov said that he “would place those people in a heartbeat in London”, if the government made it easier for fintech firms to hire the tech talent needed in the city.

Behavox will, however, retain its office in London, the Kyrgyzstani former sheep farmer said. It has plans to add around 40 staff to its 60-strong operation in the City by December 2018.

But Adylov indicated that was dependent on the UK government’s attitude to the fintech sector in future.

“As a businessman I prepare for uncertainty and we try to do risk management, but if the government keeps… saying one thing but doing another thing, then businesses like Behavox that are British are going to be trying to reduce their exposure to Britain because of uncertainty,” he said.

In that context, he urged the government “to prioritise tech”. He added: “At the moment they're basically shutting down borders by saying, 'All the immigrants are the same and we don't want to do anything with anybody who is an immigrant.. I mean it's very racist.”

“The government is not showing leadership and they're not actually trying to welcome the rest of the world to do business with Britain,” he added.

A lawyer specialising in fintech said sourcing talent was “the biggest issue” for the sector as it prepped for the UK’s impending exit from the EU.

“This is a pretty nascent sector still which means it’s still relatively small so things that might affect one or two people in any company are going to have a much bigger impact on a startup for which that might represent 50% of their staff,” the lawyer said. “Fintechs stand to lose much more.”

 

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il y a une heure, GDS a dit :

It expects to receive permission to open in Montreal in June. The firm will shift 15 staff from its Russian and London offices to the Canadian city by July. It will then add a further 35 in the region by the end of 2018.

C'est une très bonne nouvelle. Mais je ne suis pas surpris car le fintech est un créneau dans lequel Montréal excelle, et ce en bonne partie grâce à son expertise dans les technologies de l'information en général et en intelligence artificielle en particulier.

Il est donc normal, voire prévisible, qu'une compagnie comme Behavox vienne s'installer à Montréal. Brexit ou pas.

 

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