Communications between First Minister and investment firm Baillie Gifford: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Any emails, texts, WhatsApp’s, minutes of meetings or other communications received or sent by the first minister, Rt Hon Humza Yousaf MSP, which mention the investment firm, Baillie Gifford from the start of July this year.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

Having undertaken a thorough search, I note the following in response to your request for ‘any emails, texts, WhatsApp’s, minutes of meetings or other communications’:

1. Number of WhatsApp messages identified for release: zero.
2. Number of texts messages identified for release: zero.
3. Number of emails identified for release: nine.
4. Number of minutes of meetings for release: zero
5. The First Minister attended four events which are within the scope of your request where Baillie Gifford are referenced:

  • All Festivals First Minister Reception – the First minister hosted this event on 03 August 2023. .
  • Meeting with US Ambassador Jane Hartley – the First minister met with the Ambassador Scotland and the United States to discuss future working, ties and opportunities on 04 August 2023
  • First Minister Investor Panel Dinner and Presentation – the First Minister attended a dinner on 31 October 2023 to hear the recommendations of and associated presentation for the Investor Panel
  • Investment Association Edinburgh Members Briefing – the First Minister attended on the 01 Nov 2023 to deliver a keynote speech.

Further context for events disclosed.

As part of our response to your request, we have included several extracts from documents relating to events that the First Minister attended at which Baillie Gifford was either present or were mentioned in documentation relating to the event. In all four instances, Baillie Gifford was neither the central focus of the event, nor were they of substantive interest to the First Minister’s purpose(s) at these events. In some instances, there were only stand-alone mentions to Baillie Gifford as part of a larger context being presented in a document. As such, we provided some further context to each of these events, so that it is clear what Baillie Gifford and the FM’s roles were at these events.

  • All Festivals First Minister Reception – 03 August 2023

At this event, Baillie Gifford was only noted as having sent a representative to the event (please see the word document attached and the excel document attached to our response). There was no further information available relating to Baillie Gifford, no meeting or discussion between the First Minister and Baillie Gifford occurred and Baillie Gifford was not a particular area of focus for the First Minister both in the run-up to the event and at the reception itself.

  • Meeting with US Ambassador Jane Hartley – 04 August 2023

Baillie Gifford was not involved in this meeting between the First Minister and the Ambassador and was only mentioned in a briefing document prepared ahead of this meeting, given as an example of Scotland and the US’s economic ties as Baillie Gifford operates in both Scotland and the US.

  • First Minister Investor Panel Dinner and Presentation – 31 October 2023

At this meeting, the First Minister met with the Investor Panel to dine and hear a presentation on the recommendations of the panel. Andrew Telfer, CEO of Baillie Gifford, sits on the Investor Panel, however, please note he does not represent Baillie Gifford on the Investor Panel and was instead invited for his expertise in investment. While conversation may have occurred at dinner, no minute was requested or prepared, and no particular emphasis was placed on Baillie Gifford or Andrew Telfer in the First Minister’s preparations for the event.

  • Investment Association Edinburgh Members Briefing – 01 Nov 2023

At this event, the First Minister gave a keynote address at their Scottish members meeting, at which representatives from Baillie Gifford were present. The First Minister left the event after his keynote speech. There were no meetings with the First Minister and therefore no minutes produced as a consequence of this event. Other meetings within the scope of this release similarly do not have associated minutes prepared owing to confidentialities and ‘Chatham House’ rules discussions.

  • Dinner w/ Professor Danny Dorling – 22 August 2023

There are three separate email chains included in the disclosed documents attached to this response which relate to a dinner with Professor Danny Dorling. This was an event to which the First Minister had intended to attend, however, due to scheduling difficulties, was unable to attend ultimately, with the Deputy First Minister attending instead. This is why there is no associated documentation for this event, as the First Minister withdrew before such documentation could be sent to his office.

Further to these events please note that some of the information you have requested is available from the website page detailing information about the First Minister’s Investor Panel, correspondence and meetings which fall within the timeline of your request and which the CEO of Baillie Gifford [though not representing Baillie Gifford on the Panel] was present. This information can be found here: Investor Panel recommendations: Scottish Government response - ( and of the Scottish Parliament website at Written question and answer: S6W-22393 | Scottish Parliament Website. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 25(1) information otherwise held; 29(1)(a) formulation or development of Scottish Government Policy; 30(b) (i) free and frank provision of advice and 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views; 33(1)(b) commercial interests; and 38(1)(b) personal data relating to a third party, of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300385292 - Information Released - Annex
FOI 202300385292 - Information Released - Document
FOI 202300385292 - Information Released - Events


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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