Higgins to create Scottish National Investment Bank

Benny Higgins

Tesco Bank CEO Benny Higgins has been appointed by the Scottish Government to create a new Scottish National Investment Bank.

Higgins, a colourful character who was formerly a leading executive at RBS, HBOS and Standard Life, is due to retire from Tesco in February 2018.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the investment bank will be established to take a “new approach” on capital investment.

The commitment to create the bank, which is part of the Programme for Government 2017-18, has been informed in part by advice from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

The Council of Economic Advisers has highlighted the important role national investment banks play in providing long term investment to support economic growth in many European countries.

Sturgeon told MSPs: “A significant constraint faced by many businesses with growth potential is access to long term, patient capital.

“I can therefore announce today that we will begin work to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank.

“Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, has agreed to lead work on developing the bank’s precise remit, governance, operating model and approach to managing financial risk.

“The Scottish Government has already taken steps to improve access to finance through, for example, the establishment of the Scottish Growth Scheme.

“However, if we are to succeed in raising our ambition, this is a challenge we must do more to address.

“We believe that the time is now right to take a new approach on capital investment.”

Higgins said: “It is a privilege to be asked by the First Minister and the Scottish Government to lead the work on creating the Scottish National Investment Bank.

“It is vital that Scotland puts in place the right structure to develop long-term, sustainable growth for all aspects of the economy.”