April 20, 2017 By James Titcomb THE UK dominates the European financial technology industry, with figures showing it boasts more billion-dollar fintech companies than the rest of the continent put together. Britain houses four fintech “unicorns” – companies valued at $1bn (£780m) or more – with a combined valuation of $18.5bn, according to a report by the technology investment bank GP Bullhound. $112.3bn: the value of the 13 fintech unicorns in China, which has looser regulations than Europe This compares with two in the rest of Europe, which are worth $4.6bn between them. London has emerged as Europe’s fintech capital in recent years, with a swell of high-profile start-ups. However, the report showed that both Europe and the US are lagging behind China as a hub for fintech. Funding to Asian fintech companies surged to $7.1bn last year, more than in the US and Europe combined. Investors put $4.6bn into American fintech firms against $1.4bn in Europe. China, which is more underserved by the traditional financial system and has looser regulations than in Europe and the US, counts 13 fintech unicorns with a combined value of $112.3bn. They include Ant Financial, a spin-off from the Chinese retail giant Alibaba, which is valued at around $60bn, and Lufax, the giant peer-to-peer lender. “What’s driving them is a huge underserved market for consumers and small businesses with only very limited access to traditional financial services,” said GP Bullhound’s Carl Wessberg. “China has a slightly more open-market driven approach [to fintech], it’s slightly less regulated.” British fintech companies mentioned by GP Bullhound include financial information company Markit, the money transfer firm Transferwise and peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle. Last week, Mark Carney warned fintech firms that the Bank of England may have to step in with regulations if they threaten to disrupt the financial system. “The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that fintech develops in a way that maximises the opportunities and minimises the risks for society,” the Bank’s Governor said.