最有看点的互联网金融门户

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英国退欧将对伦敦金融科技发展造成重击

欧盟一直是世界市场中最有影响力的一部分。而今年6月23日举行的欧盟投票将决定英国是否会继续留在欧盟,以及欧盟是否可以继续保持市场霸主地位。

无论对英国本土还是其他地方的科技公司来说,这场即将到来的投票都让未来打上了一个大大的问号,动荡和不确定性始终萦绕在空中。接下来几个月的预计贸易需求和统计数据很难真实反映英国退欧造成的影响。不过至少从现在开始,我们应该对科技企业是否能在这次公投中发出声音有一个基本的了解。

创新和投资

以创新和投资为核心,伦敦蓬勃发展的科技金融行业近年来取得了巨大的成功。这个创新集聚的新平台也让伦敦成为许多大小公司首选的国际化中心,而这些公司正是看中了英国作为欧盟大门的地位和它5亿的潜在消费者市场。

安永上周发布的报告显示,英国已经超越硅谷和纽约成为全球金融科技中心,而伦敦丰富的人才资源、雄厚的资金支持和客户的高需求才是这背后的功臣。

商品、服务、资本和行业准则的自由流动是伦敦金融科技取得巨大成功的重要原因。如果我们放弃了这些资源,那么这些好不容易才得到的优厚环境就会面临巨大挑战。

比如,离开欧盟将会直接影响伦敦科技行业。英国一直引导着欧盟的支付业发展,同时由于欧盟内部监管条例的通用性,在英国获批的支付企业同时也可以在欧盟开展业务。而英国退欧将意味着类似上文所述的那些支付和现金转账公司将不再能够在欧盟提供服务,除非他们与欧盟企业合作,并且获得了附加执照。这不仅会影响科技公司在欧洲的运营,也会给意欲进军欧洲市场的企业设置重重障碍。

资金来源

资金渠道是科技公司关心的另外一个问题。投资是创新的催化剂,当然也是伦敦取得巨大科技成功的主要贡献者。留在欧盟可以让英国公司获得很多接触种子投资计划和风险基金的机会。比如像法兰克福和巴黎这样的欧洲金融中心就有不少类似的风投公司。

打乱这种生态系统将导致科技公司提升产品和服务所需的资金数目的明显减少。

当然,行业内也有很多关于在欧盟相关立法挑战的担忧,尤其是那些小企业。许多欧洲国家政府已经意识到了这个问题,并且开始着手解决。

事实上,我们正处在一个令人激动的新欧洲边缘计划中。这个计划叫作“数字单一市场”,目的是确保公平竞争、保护数据、完善基础设施以及统一监管环境。这个项目可能将提高交易的简单程度、减少支出,并且为创业企业营造一个颠覆创新的空间。

即使是最坚定的英国退欧倡导者也承认离开欧盟在中短期之内是有危险的,而未来的情况还不好说。投票者在做出选择的时候要考虑到这些风险。

伦敦能否保持科技企业全球枢纽的地位,其中涉及的因素有很多,比如英国是否能持续吸引最好的人才、创意和投资。我坚持认为英国退出欧盟将阻碍其发展,并会对经济、投资和就业造成直接的负面影响。

Rajesh Agrawal是世界上最早的“即买即付”的转账公司Xendpay的创始人和CEO。最近他被选为工党的伦敦市长候选人Sadiq Khan MP的顾问。

The EU referendum - confirmed for June 23rd - will determine whether Britain remains a member of one of the world's most influential markets and whether it will continue to hold a seat at the table.

For tech firms - both in the U.K. and outside it - this undoubtedly places a large question mark over the future and feeds growing uncertainty and unrest. Consensus as to the potential implications of "Brexit" will be difficult to find amongst the trading of wild claims and statistics that is anticipated over the next few months. Nevertheless, it is vital that we start to seek clarity if the tech community is to have its voice heard in the upcoming referendum debate.

Innovation and investment

With innovation and investment at its heart, London's booming FinTech sector has been one of the region's greatest success stories in recent years. The capital's unique position as a creative platform for new ideas has made London an international center for firms both large and small, most of which see the U.K. as a gateway to the EU and its 500 million potential customers.

Just last week, a report conducted by Ernst Young declared the U.K. the FinTech center of the world, beating out Silicon Valley and New York due to its deep talent pool, strong availability of capital, and high demand from clients.

I strongly believe that if we were to abandon the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people principles, all of which have been crucial to the growth of London's tech industry in recent years, we would be putting this hard-earned status all at risk.

Leaving the EU would have very direct consequences for London's tech industry. In the payments sector, for instance, the U.K. has been a beacon of innovation within the EU, made possible by the "passporting" of EU rules that allow a payment company authorized in the U.K. to conduct business across the EU.

A British exit would mean that payment and money transfer companies like mine will no longer be able to provide their services in the EU unless they incorporate somewhere in the EU and get additional licenses. This would undoubtedly impact the ease with which tech firms operate in Europe, in addition to imposing a further barrier to those looking to expand into the continent.

Funding

Access to funding is another issue that tech firms should be concerned about if Britain opts to leave the EU. Investment is the catalyst for innovation and is a major contributor to Tech City's success. Being within the EU gives companies in the U.K. much-needed access to seed enterprise investment schemes and venture funding from Europe's other financial centers, such as Frankfurt and Paris.

Disturbing this ecosystem would result in a noticeable decrease in the amount of cash available for tech firms to develop their products and services, a consideration that needs to be taken into account.

Understandably, there are concerns within the industry regarding the legislative challenges associated with working within the EU, particularly for smaller firms. However, this sentiment is felt across Europe and politicians are beginning to address these concerns.

In fact, we are on the brink of finalizing an exciting new Europe-wide project, called the Digital Single Market, that aims to ensure fair competition, data protection, better-integrated infrastructure, and a unification of digital regulations. This program has the potential to enhance the ease of doing business, reduce costs, and give startups the even playing field they need if they are to challenge the status quo.

Even the strongest advocates for Brexit admit that leaving the EU is risky in the short to medium term, and, at best, a gamble in the long run. Voters will need to weigh these risks as they make their choice.

It must be understood that London's ability to compete with its international rivals as a global hub for tech firms will depend on whether we can continue to attract the best talent, ideas, and investment to our shores. I strongly believe that a British exit from the EU would hinder these efforts and result in slower growth, less investment, and fewer jobs.

Rajesh Agrawal is founder and CEO of Xendpay, the world's first "pay what you want" money transfer company. Recently, he has been taken on as business advisor to Sadiq Khan MP, Labour's London Mayoral Candidate.


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