Scots finance sector wants more Govt collaboration

SFE CEO Sandy Begbie

Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), the representative body for Scotland’s financial services industry, has launched its first ever election manifesto — calling for much more collaboration between business and the next Scottish Government.

SFE is calling for a dedicated quarterly cross-sector forum of key industry groups in Scotland co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and/or Economy and the SFE Chairperson.

Scotland has the second largest financial services cluster in the UK after London, and the industry is the biggest sectoral contributor to Scotland’s economy at about £13 billion or 9.4% of GVA.

More than 160,000 people are employed in financial and related professional services in Scotland.

The financial services industry in Scotland includes banking, fund management, insurance, life assurance and pensions, asset servicing and professional services — and accounts for 24% of all UK employment in life assurance, and 13% of all banking employment.

Among SFE’s other “asks” of the next Scottish Government is for a commitment to review Scotland’s apprenticeship system “to assess whether it is properly supporting a growing financial services sector, which has the appetite to create more apprenticeships.”

SFE said the manifesto will be followed by the release of a renewed Financial Services Strategy “which will serve as the context for the industry’s collective focus on issues such as climate change, the workforce of the future, changing customer needs, innovation, inclusion and ensuring Scotland remains an attractive location for investment.”

Scottish Financial Enterprise CEO Sandy Begbie said: “At a time when public finances are stretched and the economy is in sharp focus, the public and private sectors must collaborate to ensure we deal with the challenges ahead and rebuild our economy.

“The financial and professional services industry will play a vital role in this because our businesses support all aspects of the economy.

“The focus of each political party in this election campaign has rightly been on how we rebuild our economy after the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people and businesses across the country.

“Next month’s election comes at a crucial moment in the response to the pandemic and SFE is firmly committed to working with the next Scottish Government, UK Government and parties across the political spectrum to help Scotland achieve a fair, inclusive and green recovery.

“That is why SFE has launched its manifesto to highlight four areas of public policy that we view as priorities for the next Scottish Government that will, if adopted, contribute to sustainable economic growth during the next parliamentary term and beyond.”

The manifesto called “Supporting Economic Recovery Through Collaboration” sets out four key asks of the next Scottish Government, including:

  • Collaboration on economic recovery: Convene a dedicated quarterly cross-sector forum of key industry groups, co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and/or Economy and the SFE Chairperson, focussed on developing clear public policy actions to accelerate Scotland’s economic recovery.
  • Collaboration on climate change: Placing financial services at the forefront of Scotland being recognised as a global centre for green finance and work collaboratively with the world leading expertise within Scotland’s energy sector to achieve this.
  • Collaboration on skills and inclusion: Ensure the improvement of digital inclusion, preparing young people from a range of diverse backgrounds for the workforce of the future and re-skilling current employees. SFE also calls for a commitment to review Scotland’s apprenticeship system to assess whether it is properly supporting a growing financial services sector, which has the appetite to create more apprenticeships.
  • Collaboration on securing Scotland’s global position: Encourage collaboration between both the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure Scotland remains an attractive location for inward investment in order to cement our position as a leading and internationally recognised financial cluster.

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.