Plans to make Scotland global centre of ethical funds

Baillie Gifford's current Edinburgh HQ

The Scottish Government has published plans to increase the value of private investment flowing into Scotland and make the country a “global centre of ethical finance.”

The Global Capital Investment Plan contains 30 measures “to increase the availability of private capital to businesses and projects while improving links with financial centres.”

Edinburgh-based global investment firm Baillie Gifford was part of an expert Ministerial Reference Group which advised on the plan.

Baillie Gifford’s head of governance and sustainability Andrew Cave said: “Baillie Gifford has been pleased to support the development of Scotland’s ambitious new Global Capital Investment Plan.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the overt focus on sustainable and responsible investment, given the potential for very rapid growth of this exciting area of financial services in Scotland in the countdown to COP26 and beyond.”

In the plan, priority will be given to building markets in sectors where Scotland “is already strong and which are attractive to global investors.”

These include low carbon transition, digital, health and life sciences and high value manufacturing.

The Scottish Government said it is investigating new financial products including green bonds, which enable investors to support sustainable products and initiatives, and a Series A fund which “would channel private capital into innovative companies wishing to expand.”

It has also linked up with the Global Ethical Finance Institute to stage a series of events showcasing Scotland’s investment opportunities in the run up to November’s COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow.

Trade and Innovation Minister Ivan McKee said: “The time is right for us to become a global hub for ethical investment.

“Scotland-based investment funds already manage 11% of the UK’s responsible investing market, compared to a 7% share of the conventional market, and I am determined we should build on that by proactively engaging with ethical investors and with sources of capital new to Scotland.

“We are launching this plan while economic uncertainty around Covid-19 still remains.

“But now is not the time to sit back.

“We must be bold and support our businesses and projects with an investment-led recovery.”