President & CEO, Toronto Finance International
Thanks to a symbiotic relationship between Toronto’s financial services industry and its fintech innovators, the region is one of North America’s leaders in financial technology.
While many Canadians are familiar with California’s Silicon Valley, few realize that Canada itself is set to become a world leader in fintech. With a world-class hub of innovation, technology, and finance, Toronto is leading the way in fintech innovation.
A growing reputation
“Toronto is the second-largest financial centre in North America,” explains Jennifer Reynolds, President & CEO of Toronto Finance International. “It’s taken some time, but our reputation is growing globally. We aren’t as well-known as we should be for the strength of our financial centre and our fintech development. Canada has historically been defined as a nation of natural resources, but people are coming to understand that we’re also a remarkable hub for technology innovation and fintech.”
One secret to the success of Toronto’s fintech community is the strength of the area’s financial services sector. “Toronto’s among the top ten financial centres in the world,” says Reynolds. ‘We have leading companies in banking, insurance, and asset management who are operating on a global level. In addition to that, the region is the second largest technology cluster in North America. Not every financial centre has those two pools of talent to draw from and that has no doubt fostered a more robust and vibrant fintech ecosystem.”
Reynolds explains that this is compounded by the significant investments of the financial services industry into technology. “We hire a large number of technology professionals and the largest banks alone invest more than $13 billion annually on technology. The financial services industry has also always been a big supporter of accelerators and incubators — we have more than 20 incubators in the Toronto region alone, all supported by the industry. These relationships are a springboard for innovation, and serve to draw very skilled people into the sector.”
Canada has historically been defined as a nation of natural resources, but people are coming to understand that we’re also an amazing hub for tech innovation and fintech.
Success in diversity
There’s no shortage of world-class tech talent in Toronto. “Ontario has one of the highest rates of STEM grads in North America,” says Reynolds. “That high-quality pool of educated people is augmented by gifted international innovators who want to work in Toronto. They’re drawn to Canada by its diversity, political stability, and welcoming immigration policies.” This commitment to diversity helps Toronto attract talent from across the globe, especially when combined with a high quality of life when compared to other financial centres worldwide.
Toronto’s status as a hub for artificial intelligence (AI) innovation is an additional asset. “AI’s an important tool for the financial services industry and Toronto has the densest cluster of these startups in the world. We’re ranked fourth globally for our AI sector, which certainly adds strength to the talent pool for both financial services and fintech.”
“Large global technology companies have been setting up development centres in the area as a result of this talent pool. There is a growing recognition that we have a highly qualified technology talent pool alongside one of the largest financial centres globally,” says Reynolds. “And a growing recognition of the important driver that this is to the robustness and the growth of the region.”