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Explosive growth in Norwegian Fintech

A fresh survey from Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows significant growth in the Norwegian fintech industry in the period 2015 - 2020. While the overall growth is positive, the region of Bergen clearly stands out from the rest of the country.

This text is translated from the original Norwegian article published by Bergen Næringsråd.

The survey was initiated by the Finance Resource Group in Bergen Chamber of Commerce and was last carried out in 2015. Since then, the industry has experienced exponential growth with a 20% increase in job creation and deployed focused efforts towards sustainability.

A positive development
In 2015, 5,870 employees worked in financial services in the Bergen region.
From 2015 to 2020, this number has increased by 20% to 7067 employees in 157 companies.

In comparison, for the entire industry, nationally, there has been an increase in the number of employees of 1.6% from 2015 to 2020.

Given the negative trend that was seen towards 2015, this is a formidable growth in a few years. In 2015, there was concern that digitalization would automate many jobs, and that more players would move jobs out of Bergen. Five years later, the picture is completely different, where the players have chosen to focus on strengthening their presence in the Bergen region.

The total assets under management in the Bergen region are NOK 1,298 billion (net total assets + lending volume). This is at the same level as an entire Norwegian state budget. Many of the country's leading asset managers are headquartered in Bergen, including DNB Livsforsikring (insurance), Nordea Investment Management AB Norway, Holberg, and Argentum. Both total assets and lending volume are expected to grow beyond 2021, by 4% and 6.8%, respectively.

Bergen, the fintech capital of Norway
Despite the concern about how digitalization and new technology would affect the financial industry in 2015, Bergen has really taken full advantage of this opportunity. This is an important explanatory variable for the growth in Bergen since 2015.

Today, NCE Finance Innovation, the national cluster for fintech development, is located in Bergen. Much of the development in the financial industry within IT, therefore, takes place in Bergen. When we know that Norway is at the very top of the world when it comes to digitizing the financial industry, this has become an important strength of Finansbyen Bergen. Fintech jobs in 2015 were few and far between, while in 2020 there are over 340 pure fintech jobs in bergen. On top of this are several hundred people working in the tech space for companies such as DNB, Sbanken, Tryg, and Sparebanken Vest.

The report finds that 8 out of 10 companies will continue to invest significantly in digitalization over the next two years so that they can continue to be competitive.

Sustainability - the driver of development
8 out of 10 companies believe that they are relatively well prepared for the digital transformation that the green shift requires.

The companies found that the EU Taxonomy and EU Green Deal are two of the most important regulations and frameworks that will matter in the coming years.

7 out of 10 believe that this will largely change how they operate and operate their products and services. The financial institutions are now working to increase their competence so that they are prepared to assist their customers in the green transition.

Findings in the report

  • There are a total of 5609 students studying economics and finance in Bergen, at UiB, NHH, HVL, and BI Norwegian Business School
  • The market outlook is very good. Every third company expects improved results in 2021, while only 2% expect a decline. This is despite the fact that higher key interest rates and weaker growth on the stock exchanges are expected during 2021.
  • 7 out of 10 companies in Finansbyen Bergen are headquartered in Bergen
  • Every third business has been positively affected by Covid-19. This is due to lower key interest rates, records on the stock exchanges, and records in the housing market.