Canada is home to over 1,200 FinTech companies with Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Toronto all described as ‘thriving hubs’.
The latter is known for being the fastest-growing tech market in North America and has been responsible for providing in the region of 80,000 tech jobs over the past five years. Significant developments in open banking, FinTech IPOs, and equity suggest the country is playing a prominent role in the world’s FinTech ecosystem – but there’s been a recent change of direction for FinTech investment in Canada.
Here we delve deeper into the current FinTech trends we’re seeing in Canada. For a broader picture, check out our comprehensive 2024 North America Salary Guide.
Recent Downfalls in FinTech Investment
Just a couple of years ago, a stout 2021 saw record levels of financial investment in Canada.
Yet during the first half of 2023, the world experienced a dip in FinTech funding of around 17%. Venture capital funding for startups plunged by a sizeable 49% and Canada was not left unscathed.
In fact, amid global economic downturn, investment in Canada’s FinTech market has halved during the first six months of 2023 when compared to the previous year. Investor interest has slumped, and startup valuations have been hit hard in the wake of recession and ever-increasing interest rates.
Statistics published from KPMG in Canada illustrate that the total from venture capital, private equity and merger & acquisition activity reached $353.7m in 2023, down from $834.1m in the first half of 2022. The implications for hiring and talent are:
A hiring strategy is essential
Georges Pigeon (a partner in KPMG in Canada’s Deal Advisory practice who specialises in financial services) comments on the economic downturn affecting FinTech “…instead of a ‘growth at any cost’ mentality, many FinTechs are now focussing on sensible growth while preserving the cash they have on hand for as long as they can…” Employers should strategically consider where to allocate spend on hiring, and how to maximise the skills that will help them to navigate this turbulent period.
Top talent may be more accessible
Careful, strategic hiring doesn’t equate to a hiring ban. Hirers can benefit from targeting top talent during these slower hiring interludes. It’s a particularly good time to liaise with experienced FinTech professionals who may have been affected by redundancy or increased workloads.
Surges in AI Adoption
Usage levels of AI within the financial services industry are persistently increasing. In recent years Canada has witnessed notable evolution when it comes to artificial intelligence, propelled by a blend of industry collaboration and government backing.
One in five Canadians are now reportedly using generative AI tools, and FinTechs are presented with a wealth of opportunities for improving their game in payment options, customer service, lending offerings, fraud protection, and more. The innovation and agility AI provides can give FinTechs a competitive advantage over more traditional financial service establishments. The implications for hiring and talent are:
AI salaries are higher
AI advancements, combined with Canada’s vivacious tech landscape, means demand for AI professionals has skyrocketed. Salaries for artificial intelligence roles have significantly risen.
AI competition is fierce
To attract and retain the best AI talent for taking their FinTech to the next level, businesses must assess and benchmark their EVP, benefits, and packages. Organisations can further strengthen their offerings by re-evaluating company culture, working environment, flexible working options, developmental opportunities, etc.
Open Banking is Imminent
Open banking has been on the horizon for Canada since 2018, and despite still having no formal date for the adoption of an open banking framework, a late 2023 introduction is speculated (the first deadline of January 2023 was missed).
When open banking does commence in Canada, it guarantees to open doors for FinTechs and will be a deciding factor in the direction of the country’s future financial market. The implications for hiring and talent are:
Preparation is key
Open banking will change the way many companies and individuals do business. Stay ahead of the competition by considering key operational changes now, ahead of the launch of an open banking framework in Canada. Even if it arrives later than anticipated, both candidates and clients will benefit from deliberating the impact of open banking and how they can thrive in this exciting, new agenda.
Understand the most in-demand roles
Data, privacy, and cybersecurity will play significant roles in open banking. Talent within these specialisms is about to become highly sought after.
Bill C-27 Brings Legal Changes
FinTechs will soon be affected by the introduction of Canada’s Bill C-27. The Bill proposes changes to Canadian federal private sector law, meaning FinTechs can now be penalised for non-compliance and in line with rules around de-identification, as well as the anonymisation and security of information. The implications for hiring and talent are:
Data and security roles are a priority
As with open banking, data, privacy, and security will all be fundamental in preparing for Bill C-27. Employers need to ensure they have these kinds of resources available to future proof their organisations.
The Largest Market will be Digital Investment
In 2024, Digital Investment is likely to remain a key focus in Canada’s FinTech sector and is expected to surpass the 2023 AUM of US$3.89bn and average AUM per user of US$816.00.
By 2024, it’s predicted that the Digital Assets market will grow by 36.7%, and the number of individuals using digital payment methods will total more than 32m by 2027. The implications for hiring and talent are:
Companies can gain a competitive edge with digital nomads
As a country with ardour to be promoted as a destination for digital nomads, it makes sense for Canadian employers to address digital labour shortages with digital nomads. Broaden your search for the very best digital specialists who’ll provide a competitive edge as digital investments ramp up. The Canadian Digital Nomad Program, and Canadian immigration rules, currently denote that a digital nomad needs visitor status only. They can relocate to Canada for up to six months at a time while performing a role remotely for a foreign employer.
Improved labour mobility could help hirers
From 16 July ’23 (and for approx. one year), workers in the USA with an H-1B speciality occupation visa are eligible to enter Canada (along with their immediate family). Lots of workers with high-tech professions – including those in FinTech with digital prowess – are employed by multinational giants, operating in both Canada and the USA. This provides employers with greater access to digital skillsets, but also provides digital professionals with improved opportunities to further their FinTech career in North America.
Canada’s FinTech market, despite a tumultuous 2023, is expected to continue to recover quickly and on its upward growth trajectory.
Constant technological advancements and innovation, government support and the increasing popularity of digital adoption are all anticipated to contribute to Canada’s dynamic financial landscape. To learn more, download our 2024 North America Salary Guide.