Worldpay is a global provider of payment technologies and solutions, processing over 40bn transactions annually. The company has ambitions to expand into high growth markets and customer segments such as eCommerce and B2B.
We spoke to Jana Mackintosh, director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Worldpay, about the company's long association with the UK and why it remains important to the company's future growth strategy.
What does your company do?
“Worldpay is a payment processing company. We were originally a UK company established in the back end of the 1990s to help consumers buy goods on the internet. We were then acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland and divested in 2008. We were listed on the London Stock Exchange, becoming a FTSE 100 company. The company grew substantially, quite quickly, driven by the emergence of non-bank licences and the prominence of the digital community and online payments. It was a huge success story and in the beginning of 2018 we were bought by a US company that has a very similar history to ours. We are now headquartered in the US and listed on the New York Stock Exchange and operate across 146 countries and 126 currencies. We have offices in 27 countries. The UK remains a very appealing market. Being able to attract money and investment through the City of London means it is always an attractive place for fintechs to start. We now employ just shy of 5,000 people across the UK.”
“Being able to attract money and investment through the City of London means it is always an attractive place for fintechs to start”
Why is your UK presence so important to Worldpay today?
“There are a number of reasons. One, the regulatory environment here in the UK is very conducive to the likes of technology companies, and payment companies in particular, to operate independently and flourish and grow. Another is the incredibly positive policy environment that comes alongside it. The UK, through government and the regulators, have pushed a very strong pro competition and innovation agenda over the last 7 to 10 years which meant that there was a lot of support for companies like ours to establish ourselves and innovate in the UK market. That, together with helping us in the UK market, sets the UK apart from the rest of the world, especially when it comes to payments and fintech. We export a lot of the policies that we develop over here into other jurisdictions so it sets a good example internationally. So as a UK-based company expanding internationally, we take that experience and those policies with us which makes a difference in those countries as well. The third element are the connections and support you get from UK government departments. This really does support UK companies expanding internationally. So companies can grow from here, they don't necessarily need to establish elsewhere.”
How do you see your future commitment to the UK?
“The UK will always remain a really important market for us. We have a very strong employee base here and we have a very very strong customer base here. There is a lot to be said for tech talent and digital skills in the UK. There is a big drive in the UK and the government and the City of London at the moment about how we keep growing fintech and tech skills through schools' programmes and these kind of things. We run a university programme ourselves with Middlesex University where we have established a Master's course to help with skills development of our staff.”
“The connections and support you get from UK government departments really does support UK companies expanding internationally. So companies can grow from here, they don't necessarily need to establish elsewhere.”
What growth opportunities are there in your sector going forward and how can the UK help in fostering your growth ambitions?
“Post merger, we see most of our growth from online and digital. One thing that's important is what the digital agenda for the UK should look like. So, government strategy and thinking around digital tax is important so that companies that base themselves in the UK will still see this as an attractive place to stay. The connections and the support that you get from government departments, the Department for International Trade, Foreign Office, City of London and the Lord Mayor programmes and its delegations really does support UK companies in connecting internationally.”