Moncton, New Brunswick is rising through the ranks as a hotbed for Canada’s financial sector. To find out what’s fueling this growth and how payments Modernization will help, we spoke with Richard Dunn, Economic Development Officer for the City of Moncton. During our conversation, we also took the opportunity to ask Richard why part of his growth strategy includes attending the Payments Canada SUMMIT.
Financial institutions are flocking to Moncton as are Fintechs. Why is the financial sector, in particular, flourishing in Moncton?
There are a couple of reasons why Moncton has become a financial hub. For one, we have a bilingual workforce, which is attractive to companies needing to service customers in both languages.
Secondly, we have the infrastructure to support technology-driven companies. Even before the internet was as widespread as it is today, there was plenty of investment in local telecom. Fibre optic cable was installed all over Moncton, helping make our communications network one of the best in the country. This fact helped a lot of technology companies ramp up quickly. Our business community grew organically from there, with many of Canada’s best known financial institutions and up-and-comers starting to establish a local presence.
How do you think a modernized payments infrastructure will impact the businesses operating in your community?
A modernized payment system that allows for digital payments to flow faster and with more information attached to the payment will help businesses here reign-in their operating costs while making the global marketplace more accessible than before.
I also believe that Moncton can play a role in the payment industry’s exploration into crypto currencies and the potential of distributed ledger technology. Why? Well, when you look at a world map and how all of the fibre optic cable routes travel from country to country, you’ll notice that Moncton has a node that is a junction, essentially serving as the closest and thereby the fastest point of connection between the Canadian and European grids. It’s still early days, but this fact should be of interest to those working with technology that requires bandwidth, stability and speed.
For the past four years, the City of Moncton has attended the Payments Canada SUMMIT. Why do you feel it’s important to be at this annual payments ecosystem conference?
When I joined the economic development group in Moncton, the question was how do we continue to build on such a great financial industry presence within our community and be ready for the future. We knew payments modernization was starting to happen, but we needed an “in” so we could get a better understanding of what is going on within the Fintech and traditional banking industry.
In 2014, the Payments Canada SUMMIT was in nearby Charlottetown so we decided to make the drive and investigate. We were thrilled with the contacts that we made and where the conversations led us to. Subsequently we also explored some trade shows and payments conferences in the U.S. Overall, we were blown away with the innovation that was taking place in North America. Everything that we think about now, in association with payments Modernization and the industry, was at these conferences and all of it was very exciting.
Today, we continue to attend the Payments Canada SUMMIT. This past year we decided to have a presence in the exhibition hall and left with really good contacts and conversations - ones that we are planning to nurture. I’m pleased to share too that some of the conversations have led to start-ups and other businesses deciding to establish a presence in our community which is a win-win for everyone.