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FinTech in Amsterdam: Interview with Hugo Niezen, Amsterdam InBusiness

Amsterdam InBusiness offers pragmatic and tailor made services to companies that are considering European expansion, by validating the market opportunity and making the business case for Amsterdam. We spoke with Hugo Niezen, Senior Manager Foreign Investments, to hear more about how Amsterdam InBusiness helps these businesses to establish themselves in the Dutch capital.

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“We work with local experts that can help companies in navigating the commercial opportunity, the regulatory requirements, understanding the labour market and with their corporate setup. We also make the connection with other foreign companies that have recently made the move to Amsterdam, so that they can share best practices and warn them about potential hurdles. These connections are especially valuable, because the companies they speak to have no agenda and will provide the most honest feedback. Furthermore, we can help companies with relocation of staff and all other matters related to that. We work closely with InAmsterdam (formerly the ‘expat center’) in this matter.

Looking at the key trends in FinTech in Amsterdam from the last year, Brexit has played a significant role. We’ve seen a wave of FinTech companies coming from the UK setting up offices in Amsterdam and applying for licenses at the AFM and DNB. The core activities of these companies will remain in London, however the activities in Amsterdam will grow over time, since these companies will use Amsterdam as their EU hub. A second effect of Brexit, which may be even more significant in time, is that FinTech companies from countries such as the US, Singapore or Australia that are looking to expand into Europe, are shying away from London as the hub for European expansion. Amsterdam has proven to be a very attractive alternative. FinTech companies such as Lemonade and Plaid (both from the US) have recently setup their EHQ in Amsterdam, and we see a growing interest from these countries.

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As an Investment Promotion Agency, we can only do so much to attract and assist companies ourselves. Therefore, we depend heavily on external expertise when winning over companies for Amsterdam. PaymentGenes has been a great partner in assisting companies with setting up in Amsterdam, especially when it comes to understanding the labour market, the roles that are crucial for FinTech companies to fill, and the regulatory landscape. We work with a diverse pool of service providers, and look for industry expertise, experience working with international clients, passion for Amsterdam, and a proven track record. PaymentGenes ticked all these boxes.

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Three things have contributed to Amsterdam becoming renowned for growing a Fintech business. Firstly, there’s a large and diverse local talent pool that is recognised for its quality, international focus and language capabilities. Secondly, the appeal of the city makes it easy to attract talent you can’t find locally. People love the idea of living and working in Amsterdam (the 30% ruling for expats is also attractive), and when expats arrive here they tend to stay for long periods, which decreases employee churn. Finally, the Dutch immigration process is unrivalled in Europe in terms of efficiency and speed, making it very easy for companies to attract non-EU nationals. In this very competitive labour market (which is the case for every major European city), companies in Amsterdam have a competitive edge to attract software engineers, data analysts, compliance officers and other roles that are in high demand.”

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