Financial Services Advisory Board minutes: April 2019

Record of discussion for the April 2019 meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB).

Attendees and apologies


  • First Minister
  • Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work
  • Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy
  • Jim Pettigrew, SFE, Industry Chair
  • Philip Grant, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Barry O’Dwyer, Standard Life
  • Catherine Burnet, KPMG
  • Christine O’Neill, Brodies
  • Graeme Jones, SFE
  • Sue Dawe, EY
  • Maggie Craig, FCA
  • Stephen Ingledew, FinTech Scotland
  • Louise Smith, RBS/HMT FinTech Envoy
  • Barry Connolly, RBS/FiSAB Skills & Talent Lead
  • Jim McConville, Phoenix Group
  • Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise
  • Geoff Aberdein, Public Affairs Forum, SFE
  • Malcolm Buchanan, RBS
  • Helen Page, CYBG

Also in attendance:

  • Ian Hanson, Skills Development Scotland
  • Gordon McGuiness, Skills Development Scotland
  • Clare Carswell, EY
  • Scott Stewart, Barclays
  • Richard Caldicott, Chief of Staff, Wealth Solutions, Prudential
  • David Judic, Head of Retail Marketing, CYBG
  • Joanna Finlay, Product Manager / Strategy, Virgin Money
  • Catriona Donald, Senior Tax Manager, KPMG
  • Alistair Brannan, Director, EY
  • Damien McGarrigle, University of Edinburgh
  • Alison Houston SDS

Scottish Government:

  • Liz Ditchburn, Director General, Economy
  • Colin MacBean, Deputy Director of Enterprise & Innovation
  • Karen Rodger, Head of Financial Services & FinTech Policy
  • Jacqueline McKellan, Financial Services, Senior Policy Executive
  • Francis Taylor, Financial Services, Policy Advisor


  • Colin Stewart, Citi
  • Prof Peter Mathieson, University of Edinburgh/Universities Scotland
  • David Skinn, Aviva
  • Gerry Mallon, Tesco Bank
  • David Ferguson, Nucleus
  • Damien Yeates, Skills Development Scotland
  • David Macmillan, Wealth Solutions, Prudential
  • Agnes Tolmie, Unite

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The First Minister welcomed members, in particular Helen Page of CYBG who has joined the FiSAB board and thanked Jim McConville for hosting the meeting. Apologies for absence were noted.

Jim Pettigrew noted the quality of the agenda for this FiSAB meeting. He referred to Scottish Financial Enterprise’s strategy and particular focus on skills and talent, societal impact and fintech.

Graeme Jones highlighted the continuing success of Scottish Financial Enterprise and the launch of the Financial Services prospectus and joined Geoff Aberdein in encouraging members to make full use of the resource.

Scottish Government and SFE update 

First Minister noted that there was cautious optimism in the Scottish economy with unemployment at its lowest rate yet; and that with the issue of Brexit unresolved the Scottish Government was maintaining its preparations.

Scottish Budget and economic outlook

The Cabinet Secretary highlighted Scotland’s economic performance with GDP outperforming the rest of the UK. He expressed his thanks to the FiSAB board for their engagement with the Banking and Economy Forum.

Skills and Talent?

Barry Connolly introduced an update on the work of the Skills and Talent Group, noting the rapid progress made by the group in a short time.

Catherine Burnet spoke on the demographics of the financial services sector.

The Unified Schools Programme has had a successful pilot. In the next stage there is an aspiration to connect with 11,000 pupils, regardless of background or gender, with a target of encouraging 800 of those into the sector.

The First Minister expressed an interest in the geographical spread of the programme.

Action: Barry Connolly to update on the logistics at next meeting.

Apprenticeships – Alison Houston highlighted the need for an increase in the number of apprenticeships in the sector and some of the issues raised by employers in the sector, particularly on navigating the system and on use of the Apprenticeship Levy. Skills Development Scotland are working with the sector to address issues raised.

First Minister asked the group to look at the barriers that face employers and provide a clear understanding of the policy/financial issues and present clear recommendations based on gathered data.

Work readiness/Regional Hubs: Good progress being made in Glasgow with launch of flexible courses at City of Glasgow College and partnership with Barclays. Now looking at expansion to further regions, with progress being made in Edinburgh. Future work will include mentoring and course accreditation Strategic Skills Forecasting: Skills Development Scotland (SDS) have issued a technology skills survey which should help to identify the roles and where/how people would prefer to work. SDS require the full participation and support of the sector to ensure success. SFE will encourage participation and engagement of their membership. The Board endorsed this position.

National Partnership for Societal Impact

Helen Page and David Judic updated on the progress of the Societal Impact working group. The group is working through five workstreams. Financial literacy seen as key issue for the group. KPMG undertaking initial work on assessing the problem, with other organisations having a key interest in this area, such as Princes Trust.

Financial inclusion – Work required to identify barriers to financial inclusion and address assumptions and misconceptions made. There needs to be collaboration across the sector to address issues.

Action: A further progress report to be provided at the next FiSAB meeting.

FinTech Scotland strategic update 

Stephen Ingledew gave a brief overview of the work currently being undertaken by Fintech Scotland to develop the organisation’s future strategy. He highlighted the importance of financial inclusion and that Fintech Scotland is currently working with partners on the issue of debt. 

OB/conclusions and actions

The First Minister closed the meeting, thanking all for their participation, noting that work on skills and financial inclusion are two important areas of work for the Board and that progress can and should be made quickly. The next meeting is expected to take place on 19 September 2019


0300 244 1200

Scottish Government
Financial Services and Fintech Policy Team
Enterprise and Innovation Division
Directorate for Economic Development
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU

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