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mike carterFintech has emerged over the last few years as the most striking growth opportunity in the global financial services industry. A KPMG report released in March found investment in the sector more than doubled to $13.8 billion in 2015, meaning it has multiplied almost seven-fold over the past five years. Today the U.S. dominates the list of the world’s most competitive financial centers, boasting five of the 11 top-ranked cities, according to a recent report by Z/Yen. To maintain this strength, it is imperative that U.S. financial institutions actively lead the charge in fintech innovation – or else risk losing ground not only to their European peers, but budding financial centers from the emerging world.

It’s clear, however, that this will not be straightforward. The stakes are high and global competition is fierce. Last year, the U.S. was once again the world’s biggest investor in fintech: A surge in mega-rounds (deals worth more than $50 million) propelled its funding to $7.4 billion, up 72% over 2014. The most eye-catching mover, though, was China – a relatively minor player on the scene just 12 months before – whose investment more than quadrupled to $2.7 billion, a fifth of the global market.

While Europe was more subdued on the whole, the U.K. was a notable exception. With London being the top rated city in the latest Global Financial Centres Index – edging New York City into second place – it appears U.K. regulators are laying the foundations for the U.K. to fully capitalize on the next stage of the fintech revolution. By contrast, largely due to inconsistent regulation between states and uncertainty over legal jurisdictions, the U.S. could risk missing out.

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