There’s a new dawn breaking in finance. That’s the hope that’s fuelling the groundswell of interest in financial technology, with companies being founded almost daily that aim to overhaul the way financial institutions and their clients operate.

Perhaps with an eye to how other sectors have been shaken to their foundations by technology, big financial firms are taking a closer look at these upstarts, increasingly turning to start-ups to resolve regulatory requirements, security concerns, big data conundrums and rapidly changing customer demands.

The sector has attracted increasing interest from investors. Global investment in fintech ventures has more than tripled during the past five years, from less than $930 million in 2008 to more than $2.97 billion in 2013, according to research from Accenture . In the U.K. and Ireland alone, deal volume has risen 74% over the same period.

Against this backdrop, our sister publication Financial News launches its first FinTech 40 power list highlighting the key people in the sector.

The aim was to find the most important 40 people based in the broader European region who display influence or innovation in the emerging financial technology ecosystem. They had to be operating in, or have potential to impact, European capital markets and Financial News’ institutional readership.

The long-list of more than 100 people ranged from visionary entrepreneurs, to savvy investors, community organizers or technology buyers at the world’s largest financial institutions. The names were then assessed on their technological innovation in European capital markets and achievements to date; their potential to shape and influence their sector; the assets or resources at their disposal; and their broader contribution to improving efficiency. We then, finally, after much debate, whittled down the list to the final 40.

There were many tough choices. We’ve had to pass over some of the best-known fintech start-ups that operate purely in a consumer environment because it’s not yet clear that they will impact wholesale finance.

In some firms there is a slew of influential individuals. We’ve decided to select only one name per company.

And some individuals have influence broadly in the tech or start-up scene. We’ve tried to focus the list on the names with a clear focus on fintech.

The final 40 come from across the region, with representatives from Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, Brussels, Stockholm and Tel Aviv. But as the list was whittled down it became increasingly concentrated on London, reflecting the city’s dominant position as Europe’s leading fintech cluster.

There are also just two women on the list.

Most of the individuals are entrepreneurs whose young companies are making waves in the industry, while others are consultants, accelerators, community organisers and representatives from financial institutions who have demonstrated a concrete engagement with the emerging fintech ecosystem.

The biggest group is from the start-ups themselves, who make up 17 of the 40, although the sheer number of fintech start-ups mean it would have been easy to fill the list with 40 start-ups alone. Investors, a crucial part of the movement, make up seven. Large financial institutions take four places, showing how many progressive firms are spurring the development of fintech start-ups, even though these start-ups might trigger disruption and threaten internal fiefdoms. The rest of the list is made up of lawyers, accelerators, and people organising and supporting the growing community.

No fees were collected and all decisions were made by Financial News’ editors and reporters.

See the full list here on Financial News.

– Additional reporting by Anish Puaar


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