£14 billion Scottish finance sector reaches out to world for fresh investment

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Scotland’s finance sector, which contributes more than £14 billion to the nation’s economy, today launched a major campaign in a bid to attract fresh overseas investment.

Membership body Scottish Financial Enterprise said its “From Scotland to the World” initiative would highlight the “unique strengths” that set the industry apart from key competitors, including the “depth, breadth and maturity of Scottish finance”. The new campaign will also promote Scotland’s “abundance of talent and strong record of innovation”, highlighted by its world-class universities and burgeoning financial technology, or fintech, sector. The country’s “vibrant culture, high standards of living and relatively low cost-base” are also singled out.

The campaign was launched as Scotland was once again named the UK’s premier inward investment location for financial services outside of London in EY’s annual Attractiveness Survey, while retaining its position as the UK’s second largest financial centre in TheCityUK’s latest “Enabling Growth Across the UK” report. Major recent investments in Scotland include Barclays’ new Glasgow campus, which has expanded its Scottish headcount to 5,700, and JP Morgan’s new tech base in Glasgow, which will house around 2,700. Meanwhile, BlackRock recently announced plans to grow its headcount in Edinburgh to more than 1,400.

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Sandy Begbie, chief executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “Scotland’s financial and related professional services industry is one of our most prized national assets. We are an industry with a distinctive heritage, and through continued innovation, collaboration and investment, we are still shaping the future to this day, contributing around £14.3bn to the Scottish economy and directly employing tens of thousands of people across the country. Our new international campaign is about getting that message out to key investors around the world, bringing them in to be a part of our unique story, supporting our future growth and theirs.”

Sandy Macdonald, outgoing director of public policy and communications, and Sandy Begbie, chief executive, SFE.Sandy Macdonald, outgoing director of public policy and communications, and Sandy Begbie, chief executive, SFE.
Sandy Macdonald, outgoing director of public policy and communications, and Sandy Begbie, chief executive, SFE.

The campaign was launched at a reception at the Scottish Parliament. The event, which was sponsored by BlackRock, was attended by industry leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum.

Scott Walker, co-head of BlackRock Edinburgh, said: “Scotland boasts a thriving financial sector that plays a vital role in the economy. Our presence in Scotland has been the foundation on which we built our European business, and our investments in critical social infrastructure and green projects demonstrates our commitment to, and confidence in, Scotland’s long term growth potential.”

Meanwhile, the first phase of an initiative to identify and nurture new entrepreneurial talent has been launched today. Funding of up to £1.5 million will be delivered through the Pathways Pre-Start Fund to provide support, mentoring and advice services for people thinking about taking the first steps towards starting a company.

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The fund was launched as Scottish economy secretary Neil Gray visited the offices of PwC UK in Glasgow to meet with members of the Black Social Entrepreneurship Programme, run by The School for Social Entrepreneurs, in collaboration with PwC. He said: “There is a moral and economic duty to do more to ensure women - indeed, every under-represented group - have the support and opportunities they need to start and grow successful businesses.”

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