Financial Services Advisory Board minutes: September 2018

Record of discussion for the September 2018 meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB).

Attendees and apologies


  • Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister
  • Jim Pettigrew, Scottish Financial Enterprise
  • Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary For Finance Economy and Fair Work 
  • Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy
  • Graeme Jones, Scottish Financial Enterprise
  • Philip Grant, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Malcolm Buchanan, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Christine O’Neill, Brodies
  • Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise
  • Sue Dawe, EY
  • Damien Yeates, Skills Devlopment Scotland
  • Stephen Ingledew, FinTech Scotland
  • Louise Smith, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Colin Stewart, Citi
  • Geoff Aberdein, SFE Public Affairs Forum
  • Barry Connolly, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • David Macmillan, Prudential
  • Neville Prentice, Skills Development Scotland
  • Hugh Edmiston, University of Edinburgh
  • Ian Hanson, Skills Development Scotland

Scottish Government

  • Karen Rodger, Head of Financial Services & FinTech Policy
  • Francis Taylor, Policy Advisor, Financial Services & FinTech Policy
  • David Wilson, Director, Scottish National Investment Bank


  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin Money 
  • Barry O'Dwyer, Standard Life 
  • Agnes Tolmie, Unite 
  • Prof Peter Mathieson, University of Edinburgh
  • David Skinn, Aviva
  • Catherine Burnet, KPMG
  • Maggie Craig, FCA
  • David Ferguson, Nucleus


Items and actions

Welcome and introductions 

First Minister welcomed members and thanked EY for hosting. Apologies for absence were noted.

First Minister noted that there has been a review of FiSAB membership over the summer and welcomed new members attending their first meeting as members of FiSAB.

First Minister 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 noted that progress had been good over recent months with a clear strategy and the delivery of the new prospectus.

Scottish Government update 

Introduction of new ministers 

The First Minister commented that as well as changes to the membership of FiSAB, the summer had also brought changes to the ministerial team at Scottish Government. Derek Mackay and Kate Forbes, with Ivan McKee as Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, will continue to provide strong support for the sector and will welcome industry support in taking forward the Scottish Government’s programme to support Scotland’s economy.

Programme for Government

The First Minister provided an update on the Programme for Government, published earlier in September 2018, which underlined the Scottish Government’s commitment to a strong, sustainable and inclusive economy, highlighting the planned introduction of legislation to underpin the Scottish Government will introduce legislation to underpin the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB).

The Scottish Government will work with industry to support innovation, to increase exports and to ensure that people have the skills they need to benefit from the technological change that is transforming our world and workplaces – not least in the financial sector and will continue to work with the sector to attract new investment and jobs to Scotland.


Mr Mackay noted that Scotland’s economy strengthened in 2017, with growth continuing into the first quarter of 2018 and provided a short update on recent economic data.

Economic outlook

Mr Mackay noted that independent forecasts expect the Scottish economy to grow around 1% in 2018 and 2019, with Brexit uncertainty, weak productivity growth and slow population growth representing long term challenges for Scotland.

Digital economy

Ms Forbes commented she is looking forward to working with all members to support continued growth in the sector, especially keen to champion Fintech and Fintech scale up given her combined finance and digital roles.

SFE Update 

Graeme Jones and Philip Grant provided an update on recent activity in support of the sector’s High Level Strategy.  

The first Scottish Universities Business Challenge, held in April saw over 40 students from ten universities come together to solve real-world challenges facing society and financial services. The event in April was hosted by the University of Edinburgh Business School and sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland.

Prospectus progress

Graeme Jones provided an update on the progress of the Financial Services Prospectus, now at final draft stage. The document will be used as a promotional tool by industry and public sector. A formal launch is planned for January 2019, with involvement from the First Minister.

The Board discussed channels to promote the prospectus including digital and supporting video resources.  


Stephen Ingledew provided an update on the continuing activity of FinTech Scotland including its work the FCA. Nicola Anderson, a senior official from the FCA, is joining FinTech Scotland on secondment.

FinTech Scotland, together with Fife Council and Fife College launched the Skills Academy, the first of its type in Europe. 

Fintech Fortnight has drawn an international audience to events across Scotland. 

Louise Smith highlighted RBS’ activities in support of FinTech, highlighting a forthcoming competition event on 29 October 2018, to support early stage companies in the sector.

Graeme Jones suggested that Ms Forbes chair future sessions of the FiSAB FinTech sub-group, this was agreed by the Minister.

Sector skills update 

Graeme Jones provided an update on recent activity in support of the financial services skills agenda.

A new FiSAB Skills and Talent group has been established and will be chaired by Barry Connolly of RBS. Barry Connolly noted that this group will have a broader remit than the previous group and will continue to be supported by Skills Development Scotland.

Barry Connolly noted that a shift in focus was required to ensure that students, both school and university were “industry ready”.

Skills shortages are an issue with a global shortfall of data scientists likely in the coming 10 years. This should be seen as an opportunity for Scotland.

First Minister agreed that this would be a massive opportunity for Scotland but that support must be delivered across the entire pipeline and not concentrated on apprenticeships only.

The Board raised the importance of tackling diversity and inclusion issues; the importance of women returners and the ability to attract and retain international talent.

Sector forward look – priorities, challenges and opportunities

First Minister noted progress against the sector strategy workstreams and commended the enthusiasm and support offered by the sector. 

The Board discussed issues facing the sector over coming months noting that despite being only months away from Brexit, there was still uncertainty over whether a deal could be achieved and what the terms of such a deal might look like.

Bank branch closures were noted as a continuing pressure point, with members recognizing the need for banks to support customers in adapting to new delivery models.

The Board agreed the establishment of a banking forum as a formal sub-group of FiSAB, to  be  chaired jointly by Scottish Government and Scottish Financial Enterprise, focusing on banks’ role in the Scottish economy.

Colin Stewart commented that there is a good focus in the industry in Scotland but that the Board should also examine the international dimension in order to be able to continue to attract new and retain existing investors. A paper will be brought to the next meeting to explore priorities in this area.

AOB/conclusions and actions 

The First Minister 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 December 2018.


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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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