Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

9. Financial Services Industry Leadership Group

Figure 9.1 – GVA of the Scottish Financial Services Sector [15]
Figure 9.2 – Employment of the Scottish Financial Services Sector [16]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

The industry has a number of strategic aims to achieve by 2030 including:

  • to attract more inward investment, be recognised internationally and to grow employment in the sector by 2025;
  • to facilitate the immediate and sustainable recovery of the Scottish economy following the pandemic, and support SMEs in their transition through recovery to net zero; and,
  • to develop and promote Scotland as a global centre for sustainable and green finance.

Industry Opportunities

The industry has identified a number of opportunities to support its ambitions:

  • Scotland is uniquely placed to be successful in continuing to attract investment and financial services firms to locate here. Scotland has a competitive cost base, a pipeline of talent, a high quality further and higher education system and an excellent quality of life;
  • Scotland also has the potential to take advantage of the $5.5 trillion global fintech market. It has the first fintech cluster in the UK to be recognised for the cluster excellence award and one of only three in Europe. The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence will be established in Scotland, and Edinburgh and Glasgow are ranked in the Global Financial Centres Index;
  • hosting COP26 is an advantage for Scotland and its financial services sector, which is already a leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing; and,
  • industry cross collaboration provides further opportunities and has potential to utilise the position of Scottish Financial Enterprise as a fulcrum to enhance the connectivity and collaboration between Scottish firms and globally significant financial services hubs; and encourage collaboration to strengthen the ecosystem benefits.

Industry Challenges

The Financial Services industry challenges relate to:

  • the evolution of customer needs and demographics. A rapid acceleration towards digital transactions and interactions is combining with an increase in the ‘advice gap’ which is causing challenges.
  • supporting economic recovery. Relative to other industrial sectors, financial services has continued to operate and this has increased its relative value to the Scottish economy. The whole sector must now combine to utilise its strength, expertise and capital to finance the restart of the economic recovery, sustainably, as soon as possible.
  • connecting the available capital with the key areas of consumer change, namely buildings insulation and transport, to help facilitate change at scale; and,
  • ensuring the net zero journey is inclusive and everyone is supported, especially those who can least afford it.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The Scottish Financial Enterprise Strategy is focusing on developing skills and inclusion, leading the journey to net zero, supporting economic recovery and responding to changing customer needs.



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