Another funding boost for Scots stock exchange

Project Heather, the organization working to launch a Scottish stock exchange later this year, has received another huge funding boost.

Scottish Enterprise and Project Heather announced on Thursday an agreement on a £750,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant to support the project.

The grant provides for up to 45 highly-skilled jobs in Edinburgh, where the exchange will be headquartered, as well as Glasgow and Aberdeen, which will host representative offices.

“Edinburgh is already the fourth largest financial centre in Europe, and the establishment of a stock exchange will enhance career opportunities, while increasing the access to capital for sustainable companies to fund their growth strategies,” said Project Heather.

Project Heather is partnering with Euronext, Euro CCP and Euroclear to provide the market infrastructure for the proposed exchange, which, subject to regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, is targeting a launch in the second half of 2019.

In March, Aberdeen-based chartered accountants and business advisors Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP (AAB) said it secured a “significant seven figure equity investment” for Project Heather to support the re-launch of a Scottish stock exchange after almost 50 years.

Project Heather said it seeks to bring “impact investing,” already well-established in the world of private equity, to public markets.

“By requiring all those who use the exchange to demonstrate how they intend to use the capital raised for a purposeful and positive impact on society or the environment, the stock exchange will help meet the increasing demand from investors for companies that meet their specific criteria – whether a focus on environmental, social and governance credentials, ethical or other compliance,” said Project Heather.

“Inclusion will be at the heart of the new stock exchange and will be the thread running through hiring, development, reward and performance management practices.

“As hiring plans get underway for the roles Project Heather is seeking to fill, the team are looking to attract candidates from a diverse pool, with the intention of building a team which represents a cross section of society and provides opportunities for those groups who are under-represented.”

Project Heather CEO and founder Tomás Carruthers said: “We are delighted to receive Scottish Enterprise’s support for the creation of a stock exchange for the 21st century; one which serves society and can be trusted to serve all stakeholders.

“In addition to directly employing many highly-skilled people, a successful stock exchange in Scotland will foster greater prosperity and support the decentralisation of capital and wealth away from London and the South East.”

Scotland’s Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Enhancing the Scottish funding landscape by the establishment of a Scottish Stock Exchange would no doubt add value and provide greater choice to Scottish companies seeking to grow and fulfil their ambitions.

“This would be a welcome addition to Scotland and to the businesses who would wish to use the stock exchange for investment.”

Project Heather said the new Scottish Stock Exchange “will be the first recognised investment exchange worldwide for which companies have to measure their positive social and/or environmental impact before listing, and an annually updated impact report publicly available on their website.”