£2bn National Investment Bank opens for business

Willie Watt

The Scottish National Investment Bank has officially opened for business with the completion of its first major investment — a £12.5 million vote of confidence in Glasgow-based laser and quantum technology company M Squared.

It is the UK’s first “mission-led” development bank and it is being capitalised by the Scottish Government with £2 billion over ten years.

The bank says it will provide “patient capital” for businesses and projects in Scotland, and catalyse further private sector investment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank will help to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face now and in the years to come, delivering economic, social and environmental returns.

“It is hitting the ground running with its first major investment in M Squared – a great example of the ambitious and innovative companies we have here in Scotland that will be key to our economic recovery and future prosperity.

“The launch of the bank is one of the most significant developments in the lifetime of this parliament, with the potential for it to transform, grow and decarbonise Scotland’s economy.”

Scottish National Investment Bank chair Willie Watt said: “Today is a key milestone for the Scottish National Investment Bank.

“Our launch enables us to make mission-led, strategic, patient investments in businesses and projects that can deliver benefits for the people of Scotland.

“I am excited about the role the Bank will play in supporting and enabling growth in the Scottish economy.

“We are particularly pleased that our first investment is in M Squared which is at the cutting edge of innovation and is a recognised world-leader in its field.

“It is our firm belief that the bank will make many more investments that deliver positive mission impacts in the years and decades to come.”

M Squared CEO and founder Graeme Malcolm said: “Science and advanced technologies have a major role to play in Scotland’s future economic prosperity.

“By increasing investment in research and development with a mission-based approach, Scotland has a real opportunity to actively tackle climate change and benefit from the coming quantum revolution.

“We are delighted that the Scottish National Investment Bank has invested in M Squared as its very first business – our shared commitments to society and the environment makes this an ideal partnership that will enable accelerated growth and progress in frontier technologies.”

Benny Higgins, Strategic Adviser to the First Minister on the establishment of the bank, said: “It has been a privilege to be part of an outstanding effort to make this a reality.

“We could not have predicted that the current pandemic renders the need for mission-led investment even more vital to create a robust, resilient wellbeing economy in Scotland.”

The Scottish National Investment Bank has now been formally established as a public limited company.

State Aid approval for the establishment and capitalisation of the bank was received from the European Commission in November 2020.

The bank’s chief executive Eilidh Mactaggart was appointed in April 2020 and its non-executive directors are: Tracey Ashworth-Davies, Carolyn Jameson, Peter Knott, Jason McGibbon, Nicholas Moon, Candida Morley, Jacqueline Redmond and Jonathan Taylor.