July 16, 2018
“The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again,” said Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister at Davos earlier this year.
It is for this reason the Investment Association – the trade body that represents 200 firms that manage assets worth £7 trillion – has created a ‘Velocity’ FinTech accelerator programme.
The programme will bring together leading figures from across the industry to help shape the strategy of FinTech innovation and adoption within asset management and the wider buy-side sector. As part of this, Brewin Dolphin’s head of digital channel and investment services, Gareth Johnson, based in its Newcastle office, has been appointed to the advisory panel. The primary role of the advisory panel will be to help determine the most innovative FinTech organisations into the Velocity programme.
“This is an exciting time to be involved in FinTech and I am delighted to take a role on this key industry accelerator panel,” says Gareth. “I am also keen to unlock the potential of the Newcastle FinTech scene to solve problems within asset and wealth management. I hope my appointment will give the region a further opportunity to participate in this key accelerator programme.”
Ultimately, the Velocity FinTech Accelerator programme aims to create an industry centre of excellence for the advancement and utilisation of the best tech solutions for the benefit of the industry and its consumers. The programme launched in July with the first cohort expected to be reviewed in Q4 of this year.
Gareth joined Brewin Dolphin in 2002 and has worked in numerous different parts of the business.
“I’m very fortunate that I’ve grown up in the business, learning about the entire infrastructure of a large wealth management business as well as selling our proposition to our customers. This gives a real sense of the end to end,” he reflects.
In addition, Gareth has been responsible for the group’s managed portfolio service for the last eight years, which has grown from around £10m to almost £3bn during that time.
“I like to think of myself as an ‘intrapreneur’; creating new business units from within. To that end, you go through all of the challenges a start-up goes through and that will hopefully allow me to have empathy with those starting their own business or trying to scale up.”
Gareth’s enthusiasm for innovation and change saw Brewin Dolphin CEO David Nicol put him forward for the advisory panel for the Velocity programme.
“I was delighted to be asked to join the panel by David. The desktop picture on my computer is a Forbes magazine front cover dating back to October 2007. The headline is ‘Nokia – One billion customers – can anyone catch the cell phone king?’
“This was not even a year after the launch of the iPhone…and we all know what happened,” says Gareth. “It serves as reminder not to be complacent but also, the customer-centric innovation that genuinely solves challenges will always succeed.
“The prospects for FinTech, and also Newcastle as a city, is fantastic. With the new National Innovation Centre for Data en route as well, I think there’s a lot to be excited about.”