Leeds & Partners dedicated to support aql’s ambition to make Leeds a Northern Fintech hub

Last week’s Leeds and Partners Annual meeting had a clear message for stakeholders: Leeds is ready for digital business. A key announcement was that with over £1m in private sector support secured and as the only Fintech Accelerator outside London, Leeds and Partners are ahead of schedule with their ambitions to position Leeds City Region as a Global Fintech hub.

Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql sat as the private sector representative on the panel “Accelerating Fintech: A World of Opportunity” creating an underlying support for private sector and public sector working together to create a better future.

The city region’s intent to be a global Fintech hub was also set out: Leeds, as the second financial City in the UK, is uniquely placed as a knowledge-centre for financial-centric technology. aql plays a key role in the support of Leeds’ digital infrastructure, operating the main Leeds datacenters, through which much of the region’s data flows. aql also houses IXLeeds – the Yorkshire internet exchange – where many of the regional and national operators connect with huge capacity networks. This point of interconnects allows operators to keep traffic local and to become independent of London-based infrastructure.

The importance of this capability was echoed by keynote speaker, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, the former Minister of State for Security and Counter-Terrorism, and member of the National Security Strategy: “The digital and information economy offers Leeds City Region a promise of great prosperity, but it has to be based on sound development and the capacity and connectivity being carefully built. Leeds hosts the largest healthcare data platform in the world and is already showing how it can be bigger, better and stronger than other UK cities. With a strong academic base, it is a great place for start-ups and has the potential to be the go-to place for Fintech and data analytics.”

Baroness Neville-Jones made special reference to the work of companies like aql, expressing the importance of cyber essentials and data security.

Dr Adam Beaumont added: “Hearing Baroness Neville-Jones deliver a message, that a digital region must be underpinned by sound infrastructure, confirmed everything that aql is trying to work towards in Leeds. We’re dedicated to building the capability to support world-class hosting within the city and to promote the city as the main out-of-London disaster-recovery site for the UK”.

He continued “Most of the UK’s financial institutions keep their core infrastructure within the M25 corridor. This is a significant exposure. By encouraging financial institutions to adopt a North & South approach to their infrastructure, this increases the resilience of the UK on a global perspective and also encourages duplicate investment by the financial industry in Leeds and the City Region”.