Financial Services Advisory Board minutes: January 2019

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

Attendees and apologies


  • Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary For Finance Economy and Fair Work 
  • Kate Forbes, 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
  • Gerry Mallon, Tesco Bank 
  • Colin Stewart, Citi
  • Barry Connolly, RBS/FiSAB Skills & Talent Lead
  • David Macmillan, Prudential
  • Prof Peter Mathieson, University of Edinburgh/Universities Scotland
  • Damien Yeates, Skills Development Scotland 
  • Jim McConville, Phoenix
  • David Ferguson, Nucleus 
  • Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise
  • Geoff Aberdein, Public Affairs Forum, SFE
  • Louise Smith, RBS

Also in attendance

  • Ian Hanson, Skills Development Scotland
  • Clare Carswell, EY
  • Derek Brownlee, RBS

Scottish Government

  • Karen Rodger, Head, Financial Services & FinTech Policy
  • Francis Taylor, Policy Advisor, Financial Services


  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia
  • Agnes Tolmie, Unite 
  • David Skinn, Aviva

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions 

Mr Mackay welcomed members and noted First Minister’s apologies.

Mr Mackay welcomed new members attending their first meeting as members of FiSAB.

Mr Mackay advised members that The Lobbying Act (Scotland) 2016 came into force on 12 March 2018 and that Scottish Minsters are covered by its terms. 

Jim Pettigrew added his own welcome and noted positive progress FiSAB has made over past 12 months.

Scottish Government update 


Mr Mackay noted that uncertainty and turbulence remains given that Withdrawal Agreement has not been agreed by Westminster, and that continued uncertainty is unhelpful to business.

Mr Mackay noted positive engagement with the     banking community on readiness. The threat of Brexit makes it essential that Scotland’s finance sector is in best possible health, whatever the coming weeks and months may bring.

Mr Mackay commented that he is co-chair of the Banking and Economy Forum which is looking at implications of Brexit for the wider Scottish economy and our readiness to support business. Senior officials have held one to one meetings with banks to explore in more detail issues raised. We will continue that close engagement over coming weeks and months. 

Scottish Budget and economic outlook

Mr Mackay outlined measures in the Scottish Budget, presented in December, highlighting future investment as a priority. There would be a need for both the UK and the SG to revisit respective budgets should a no deal Brexit go ahead.

Mr Mackay discussed recent economic performance, with economic indicators showing that Scotland is outperforming the UK in a number of areas. Economic forecasts are subdued by the challenges brought by Brexit. Banking and Economy Forum

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) 

Maggie Craig delivered a summary of work undertaken over the past year since her appointment as FCA Head of Scotland Office. The strategy includes complete teams and departments being located in Scotland. This will result in an increase of staff from 86 to 200. Overall, the new structure will increase the strength of supervision and authorization capability in Scotland. The expansion programme will take around two-three years and efforts are underway to identify suitable premises.

Mr Mackay welcomed this news, acknowledging that it was an indication of confidence in Scottish financial services from the regulator.

SFE update 

Jim Pettigrew thanked all of the FiSAB group for their valued input and support over the past year. Jim also congratulated Fintech Scotland on reaching its first anniversary.

Graeme Jones reviewed industry achievement over 2018 included:

  • the first anniversary of the establishment of FinTech Scotland
  • the Scottish University Business challenge
  • fintech Conference 
  • SFE Young Professionals event at Parliament
  • the creation of two new FiSAB sub-groups, Banking and Economy group and Fintech group
  • development of the Scottish financial services prospectus


Geoff Aberdein noted that the Lord Mayor would be hosting a “Burns” dinner with FM on 28 January 2019 which will be used as a platform to launch the Prospectus. Thereafter, it will be for all firms to promote the prospectus at a national and global level.

National Societal Impact paper

A paper on the National Partnership for Societal Impact paper was prepared by Helen Page of CYBG on behalf of SFE.

Steering group has agreed that the key aim is for industry to be a constructive participant in Scottish society and that work is needed to improve on the current low approval rating of the sector (30%).

Outcomes set by the workstream include:

  • reducing levels of financial exclusion
  • providing greater levels of support for vulnerable customers
  • increasing financial literacy rates
  • reasserting Scotland’s reputation as world leaders in the field

Board discussed the paper noting that business needs to work harder to increase the visibility of what is being done by the sector. It was acknowledged that this will involve commitment and appropriate resourcing and that there should be collaboration among competitors.

Skills and Talent 

Barry Connolly outlined progress on the Skills and Talent group’s six workstreams. Mr Mackay welcomed the focus and pace of work and the commitment from the group. Skills one of the key priorities across all sectors and Mr Mackay stressed the importance of maintaining momentum in this area, and noted a need for clarity on goals.

Skills and talent will be a key focus of the next board meeting in April.

FinTech Scotland 

Stephen Ingledew introduced an update on activity in fintech. FinTech Scotland has reached its first anniversary and has been successful in attracting interest from businesses seeking to establish operations in Scotland, with close links established with Irish counterparts.

FinTech Scotland has identified opportunities for fintech to address consumer needs through innovation, initially looking at debt, credit affordability, and financial literacy. FinTech Scotland is making plans to establish a fintech consumer panel to support these interests.


Colin Stewart commented on the success of our efforts to attract inward investment, noting that Scotland needs to build on its reputation as in the face of Brexit. Other countries are stepping up their marketing aimed at UK based companies.

The prospectus is already proving to be a valuable tool. However, we need a more coordinated approach in showcasing Scotland’s talents. Scotland is already seen as a trusted nation. This is a real opportunity for new and existing companies and with the commitment of the FiSAB membership, we could excel.

The Cabinet Secretary highlighted the ongoing work on Scotland’s export strategy, international presence and the goodwill towards Scotland but agreed that we could be more organized and targeted in our approach. 

Colin Stewart suggested establishing an informal working group offered to engage with FiSAB members to develop tangible actions.

AOB/conclusions and actions 

The Cabinet Secretary closed the meeting, thanking participants for their continued support and efforts.

The FiSAB secretariat will contact board members with details of the next meeting which is likely to take place in April 2019.


Telephone: 0300 244 1196

Post: Scottish Government
Financial Services and SME Finance Policy Team
Innovation, Investment & Industries Division
Directorate for Economic Development
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU

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