Skyscrapers being blanketed by fog

The fifth annual FinTech Canada Conference, producer of the annual FinTech & AI Awards, took place in August in Toronto, Ontario. Founded and produced by The Digital Finance Institute, the event recognizes and celebrates Canadian innovation from coast to coast. The event brought together executives, entrepreneurs, investors and regulators from around the globe to explore the latest in FinTech.

This year, the event centred on a wide variety of topics, from developments in the open banking sector to women in tech.

Here are three of the most talked about themes from this year’s event.

  1. Empowering women in tech is a win-win

    This year’s conference came to Toronto on the heels of the city being named one of the best places in the world for female entrepreneurs. But inside the National Club, a 130-plus year old private club located within the heart of the city’s financial district, attendees of Fintech Canada Conference’s Women in Tech event remain acutely aware of the fact that women are still vastly underrepresented. Fortunately, local trailblazers were on hand to share their stories of growth and inspiration with the industry’s next generation of female leaders. Among the most salient advice: get serious about your goals, have the courage to remove barriers, and have the confidence to seize leadership opportunities. With more than one speaker pointing to studies that show women-led companies outperform those led by men, Toronto has much to benefit from further bolstering support for female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders alike.

  2. Toronto is turning heads due to its high concentration of IT firms and industry-leading talent

    Toronto is North America’s fastest growing tech talent market, having created more tech jobs than New York City, Seattle and Boston combined – and the strength of its tech talent is among the highest quality in the world. It’s that unique combination of financial services and IT that has attracted investment from Square, Oberthur Technologies and HSBC’s new AI lab. Ontario’s strength in talent was on full display at this year’s conference where many of Canada’s most promising fintech start-up companies were represented. Among them, we heard from alternative banking start-ups Koho, SecureKey, in addition to Lendified, a state-of-the-art, AI-powered platform that allows users to quickly assess price and monitor risk of small business lending.

  3. Toronto’s fintech sector is primed for growth

    With its standing as a leading global financial services hub and its ability to attract top IT talent, investors are taking notice. Toronto is North America’s second largest financial services hub after New York City in terms of industry employment. It’s also ranked second only to New York in North America, and eighth in the world, as a top international financial centre. A report prepared for the Government of Canada found that Toronto is home to roughly 50% of Canada’s fintech start-up companies, with strengths in those focused on artificial intelligence, digital payments, and robo-advising. Last year, $40 billion was invested in Canadian fintech by VCs, an increase of 120% compared to 2017 according to CB Insights. Despite the relatively low adoption rate of fintech products by Canadians, Canadian banks are recognizing the immense opportunity presented by collaboration with the region’s globally competitive fintech industry.

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