SFSA profile blog with 2019 winners FNZ
FNZ is a global platform-as-a-service and fintech provider. Its innovative solutions support their B2B clients boost engagement, improve accessibility, increase efficiency and reduce costs, thereby helping more people to achieve their financial goals.
The company partners with more than 150 financial institutions globally, employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide, and is responsible for £900 billion in assets under administration. The firm achieved ‘unicorn status’ in April 2019 when Generation Investment Management LLP and Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec combined to acquire stakes that valued the business at £1.65 billion.
FNZ has continued to grow, both organically and through acquisition, and this year created more than 200 highly skilled new jobs in Scotland to support the company’s ambitious expansion plans. The positions were based in Edinburgh and Dundee, where FNZ established a new operations centre at the beginning of 2020, with a significant number of roles designated for graduates.
As of 2021, around 1,000 people are employed in Scotland and with more than 30 different nationalities represented.
FNZ took home the Impact and Investment Award in recognition of the company’s impressive business growth and contribution to Scotland’s standing as a world-leading financial services centre, as well as its commitment to making a positive social impact.
FNZ technology powers ‘The Big Exchange’, a mobile-first investment platform designed in partnership with The Big Issue and other industry partners, that connects a retail audience directly with a wide range of social and environmental impact funds.
What are the team at FNZ’s memories of the 2019 Scottish Financial Services Awards?
The first half the event was nerve-wrecking as we waited to hear whether FNZ had won in the categories in which we were shortlisted. We were able to relax more during the second half (after the winners were announced) and focus on enjoying time with colleagues and peers from across the Scottish financial services industry.
What did the award mean to FNZ and its team?
FNZ would not be the company it is without the diverse range of talented colleagues who drive innovation and deliver exceptional service for our clients here in Scotland and elsewhere around the world. The Impact and Investment award is meaningful to us in its recognition of the meritocratic, positive and fully inclusive working environment that FNZ strives to build for our employees, where highly skilled and motivated people are supported to become the next-generation of leaders.
Over the last 17 years, FNZ has grown to become a company headquartered in Scotland but with a significant presence across the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and North America. This award highlights not only our commitment to Scotland and remaining a key part of the Scottish financial services ecosystem, but how FNZ champions Scotland as a global company making an impact on the UK and international savings and investment market.
Tell us a bit more about the work you did to win the award, such as The Big Exchange and the charity donation schemes. Where are these projects now and what have they achieved?
Co-founded by The Big Issue and other industry partners, The Big Exchange is a sustainable and responsible, mobile-first investment platform, aimed at offering consumers a more ethical way of investing their money.
The Big Exchange launched its first public crowdfund in July 2021, which was positively received and has exceeded its initial target by more than double. The platform currently offers 50 independently rated social and environmental funds from 15 asset managers managing a total of £58bn of assets.
From inception in early 2019 until today, the platform remains powered by FNZ technology. FNZ is also proud to be a mission-aligned supporter of The Big Exchange.
The 2019 awards took place right before covid-19. How has FNZ responded to the pandemic?
At FNZ, we are proud to offer a positive, inclusive and people-centric working environment for our team. The pandemic has posed challenges for everyone but we have always recognised that our colleagues may sometimes need additional support. We have dedicated resource to raising awareness of mental health issues and providing our colleagues with the support and resources they need, including regular well-being sessions.
We are fortunate to say that neither the pandemic nor remote working has stalled the progression of our business or our team. In fact, we’ve actually created hundreds of highly-skilled new jobs across our global network to bolster our continued growth. Many of those positions are based in Edinburgh and Dundee and span a variety of divisions in the company, including operations, IT and other support functions, with a significant number of roles designated for graduates.
We will also be expanding our footprint in Edinburgh by opening a second office at The Registers building in St Andrew Square. The space will provide additional capacity for our growing team and a place to meet with existing and potential clients and partners.
We have delivered some of our best work during this pandemic, and it is entirely due to the effort and dedication of our colleagues.
What is FNZ focusing on now, and what does the future look like for the firm?
Allocating capital to sustainable enterprises and projects will be critical to tackling the climate emergency.
At FNZ, we see technology as part of the solution and our focus is to now develop products that empower retail investors with the information they need to make sustainable investment choices and support the global transition to net zero.
The organisations we partner with also underscore our commitment to the tackling the climate emergency. In addition to The Big Exchange, FNZ is a taskforce member of Benchmark for Nature, a collaborative project between the University of Oxford and the Royal Foundation of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s United for Wildlife Financial Task Force, which aims to be the first validated open tool to support decision-making in the financial sectors with regards to the impact on living nature.
FNZ has also committed to net zero emissions, in line with the Science Based Targets methodology, with the ultimate aim to achieve net-negative status by 2040. We have also pledged to offset our historic carbon footprint since the company’s foundation in 2004.
Any advice for the finalists in this year’s awards?
We all know that the financial services ecosystem in Scotland is peppered with firms doing some incredibly innovative and impactful work.
Being nominated as a finalist was in itself an honour for FNZ; and regardless of who takes home the award, everyone should feel proud of themselves and all of the great work they’ve achieved.