Atlanta grows as attractive destination for international payments and FinTech companies
The 2018 P20 Conference in Atlanta attracted many of the world’s leaders in payments and financial technology, highlighting the international destination that Atlanta has become for these leaders to conduct business.
Dozens of international FinTech and payments companies, many of them with roots in the U.K. and throughout Europe, have set up U.S. headquarters or expanded operations to Atlanta in recent years.
“The economic ethos of Atlanta, it’s very pro-FinTech, very outward looking,” said Lewis Howard, Managing Director of Payments and Cards Network’s (PCN) American operations. His company chose Atlanta as their American headquarters in 2017. “(Atlanta’s business community is) really trying to grow the pie for everyone, rather than keep carving it up internally.”
The move of companies like PCN to Atlanta is symbolic of the economic prosperity throughout Georgia in recent years. That prosperity has been driven largely by the FinTech industry, supported by a bedrock of payments and financial services companies which have, for decades, called Atlanta and Georgia’s “Transaction Alley” home.
That foundation of business infrastructure, combined with a generally hospitable culture and business atmosphere, and affordable office space and cost of living led Howard and PCN’s CEO Jordan Lawrence to choose Atlanta as their operations center for the United States.
“People here (in the states) are more welcoming to Brits,” said Howard. “New York and San Francisco are saturated with Brits and British companies, it doesn’t offer you any favor to be British there. Here in Atlanta, I find people socially very warm, very welcoming to British people. And that helps you not just want to set up a business here, and only think about work, but actually settle, live, meet people, have real friendships and relationships here. I find the South very friendly in that regard.”
“Great Britain has long been a partner with the United States in a myriad of things,” said Scott Meyerhoff, Chief Financial Officer at InComm in Atlanta. “London has long been thought of as the capital of business on an international basis, and tie that into what we are doing here (in Georgia), it’s good company to keep.”
Meyerhoff believes the FinTech and payments industry boom is driven by an accumulation of energy and innovation, not just from Atlanta and the United States, but around the world.
“Payments are worldwide,” said Meyerhoff. “And if we’re going to be truly the leader in payments, it’s not Atlanta’s story, it’s not a United States story, it’s a world story.”