Toronto Launches New Hub for Financial Innovation

The University of Toronto is fuelling fintech innovation in the country’s financial capital.

The university’s management school is launching the Rotman FinHub, a place for students, the financial industry, startup entrepreneurs and faculty to interact, research and incubate ideas for financial applications of new technologies.

The Rotman FinHub will offer new classes and learning opportunities for students in the booming fintech field including machine learning and blockchain, according to a release. The program is open to students in Rotman’s MBA and Master-level programs, and will also support scholarships for students interested in the field.

The school’s financial innovation hub isn’t only reserved for student development. The Rotman FinHub promises to be a research engine, encouraging faculty members to dive into financial innovation research, leverage existing research centres and collaborate with other faculties at the university.

“Given the radical changes currently affecting the finance sector, we believe that our Rotman FinHub initiative will enhance the Rotman School’s leadership position in financial management teaching and research,” said Peter Christoffersen, TMX chair in capital markets. “It will also help us attract the best researchers as well as students who are interested in studying financial innovation.”

The initiative will also promote engagement with the financial industry through conferences and symposiums, and external financial, economic and technology organizations.

The Rotman FinHub is backed by a $1 million donation from TD Bank and a $1.3 million contribution from the Rotman Catalyst Fund, a venture fund to provide seed capital for bold innovations and initiatives within the Rotman School. The Toronto-based Global Risk Institute in Financial Services also injected $150,000 into the fintech hub.

Christian Nelissen, TD Bank’s SVP in enterprise data and analytics, said the future of the country’s financial sector relies on continued innovation, with data as the engine for banks to develop deeper customers relationships.

“To do this, banks must face a fundamental challenge head-on – we must continue to put our data to work for our customers to give them even more information and more options to build their financial futures, ” said Nelissen

“To do that we need to foster the development of a strong culture of innovation and the talent to support it. Toronto’s FinTech ecosystem is among the best in the world and Rotman and the University of Toronto are leading financial educators – we think that’s a powerful combination.”

The creation of a dedicated space for innovation isn’t a stretch for the Rotman School. In 2012, the school launched the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), one of the world’s fastest-growing venture labs. In October, CDL expanded to New York City with through an NYU. partnership.

Toronto is also leading the way in Canada’s fintech world, and is being recognized for city-grown innovations on the international stage. The Toronto-based companies SecureKey Technologies, Wealthsimple, League, Borrowell, Sensibill and Wave HQ were all named in the 2017 Fintech100 by KPMG Fintech and H2 Ventures, an annual list that ranks global fintech leaders and emerging companies.