The chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) — the representative body for Scotland’s huge financial services industry — said SFE’s strategic ambition is for Scotland to become “internationally renowned as a financial centre with distinctive strengths in the field of green and sustainable finance.”
SFE CEO Sandy Begbie’s statement came as the UK government published a revised version of its green finance strategy — which outlined plans to track investment flows and boost transition finance as the UK seeks to become the world’s first net-zero aligned financial centre.
Begbie said SFE is very keen to work with the Scottish and UK Governments “to develop the clear role that Scotland’s world class financial and related professional services industry can play.”
Green Finance Institute CEO Rhian-Mari Thomas said: “The (UK government’s) strategy sets out a step change in how the UK will mobilize the finance needed to limit catastrophic warming and catalyze investment into nature.”
The financial services sector is the biggest sectoral contributor to Scotland’s economy, representing £13.6 billion or 9.2% of Gross Value Added (GVA).
Scotland’s financial and related professional services sector employs 160,000 people – around 9% of national employment — and Scotland has around £690 billion of assets under management.
Begbie said: “We welcome today’s updated Green Finance Strategy from the UK Government.
“It provides positive reinforcement of the stated ambition for the UK becoming the world’s first net zero aligned financial centre, with a focus on a highly credible and robust regulatory environment for ESG investment and green finance.
“Alongside the Green Finance Strategy, we also note the measures to invest in energy security and innovation to capture some of the clear economic opportunities that the transition to net zero provides.
“There is more that can still be done in relation to the wider grid infrastructure, energy efficiency and home insulation, and incentives for large investors and businesses of all sizes to invest with confidence in long-term transition, but the focus on innovation and security of our energy industry, coupled with some clear measures and some large-scale and impactful projects, is a useful foundation and step up that gives clarity on the UK Government’s commitment to progress.
“A focus on delivery and maintaining momentum is now vital.
“Over the coming year, we are very keen to work with Scottish and UK Governments to develop the clear role that Scotland’s world class financial and related professional services industry can play.
“Our strategic ambition is for Scotland to become internationally renowned as a financial centre with distinctive strengths in the field of green and sustainable finance that fully capitalise on Scotland’s key assets in ESG asset management, fintech, energy, natural capital, universities and data.”