Scots finance exports rose 86% to £8.8bn in 10 years

Scotland exported £8.8 billion of financial and related professional services in 2020, 7.4% less than in 2019 but 86% more than in 2011, according to a new report from TheCityUK.

About 27% of Scottish financial services exports went to the EU in 2020, and the remaining 73% went to the rest of the world.

The report said: “In 2020, financial and related professional services exports from Britain (data for Northern Ireland was not available) totalled £129.7bn, according to TheCityUK’s estimates.

“Forty-three percent of this total originated outside London; the regions and nations outside London making the largest contributions were the South East (9.1% of the total), Scotland (6.8%) and North West (5.4%) …

“In about half the regions and nations in Britain, relative shares of financial services exports and related professional services exports are quite balanced.

“In Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber, however, financial services exports accounted for around 85% of those territories’ overall financial and related professional services exports — the highest percentages in comparison with other regions and nations …

“London had the largest financial services trade surplus of £34bn in 2020, followed by the South East (£5.1bn) and Scotland (£4.6bn) …

Anjalika Bardalai, Chief Economist and Head of Research, TheCityUK, said: “As London is one of the world’s leading international financial centres, it inevitably leads the UK’s exports of financial and related professional services.

“But the idea that London sells these services overseas and the rest of the UK focuses on domestic activity is misleading.

“Other regions, especially the South East, Scotland, the North West and the East of England, also make important contributions to exports of financial and related professional services, demonstrating the vital economic role the industry plays across all parts of the country.

“In addition, as the UK braces for an economic storm, the surplus generated by financial and related professional services provides an important buffer against the risks of a widening trade deficit.”