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The UK has strengthened its role as a European leader in fintech through a flexible regulatory regime, supportive government policy and strong investment, new research reveals.

As a European hub of the fintech ecosystem, it received total funding of $3.9 billion 2018, out of total investment of $6.9 billion across Europe.

A new study by Accenture Strategy and Assifact, the Italian Factoring Association, analysed more than 250 companies in seven countries, with the aim of identifying the most innovative solutions and business models in supply chain finance.

More than 70% of analysed fintechs offer financing solutions for SMEs not covered by incumbents due to a too high cost-to-serve. New players also show specialisation to support underserved niches, such as freelancers and online merchants.

Their investment in open digital platforms that integrate with external management systems also enables further disintermediation from banks, the report concluded.

Alessandro Carretta (pictured), secretary general of Assifact, said: “Italian banks and factoring companies need to improve their profitability by strengthening and evolving their operating and business model through digital transformation, service quality improvement and new products and services to customer segments not yet covered, either via internal development or the activation of partnerships."

Stephen Pegge, commercial finance managing director at UK Finance, added: “There continue to be successful and competitive banks and traditional specialist firms that have longstanding relationships with clients but innovation in products and new competitors mean there is now more choice than ever before.”

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