Glasgow leads in foreign financial services investment

A new report from EY reveals that Scotland increased its share of financial services foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2019 and secured Europe’s largest international investment project in terms of job creation, while project numbers across Europe fell.

The EY UK Attractiveness Report for Financial Services 2020 said there were eight financial services FDI projects secured in Scotland last year, creating 2,911 jobs.

That’s more than three times the employment number increase for London, estimated at 806, and more than half the UK total of 4,443.

At a city level, Glasgow was the second most attractive city in the UK for financial services FDI in 2019, having secured more than three times the number of projects of Edinburgh.

At the UK level, Scotland was the second most attractive location for financial services FDI in 2019 for the seventh consecutive year, with its share of all financial services FDI into the UK increasing from 6.3% in 2018 to 8.1% in 2019.

The sector’s contribution to Scotland’s overall FDI figures also increased from 7.4% in 2018 to 7.9% last year.

Sue Dawe, EY’s Head of Financial Services in Scotland, said: “In a year where both Europe and the UK experienced a fall in their numbers of financial services foreign investment projects, it is positive to see Scotland demonstrating relative resilience and bucking the trend with an increase in project numbers.”

Scotland was the second most attractive destination in the UK for financial services FDI while London topped the list with 67 projects (68% of the UK total).

Yorkshire & Humber moved up into third place with six recorded projects while the North West recorded a decline in projects for the second year running and was ranked fourth.

Dawe added: “Across all sectors, Scotland is an attractive proposition for foreign investors, as demonstrated by the increase in the total number of FDI projects in 2019.

“This legacy of appeal and strong performance offers confidence in Scotland’s ability to continue to secure healthy numbers of FDI as we emerge from COVID-19.

“As the economy shifts to become increasingly digital, sustainable and inclusive, the financial services sector must continue to innovate and evolve in order to remain at the forefront of change and hold its position as an international leader.”