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HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, selected Scotland to establish a UK centre for its global risk and compliance operations.

Paul Kelly

HSBC currently operates in 71 countries and territories, serving more than 47 million customers worldwide.

In Scotland, a recently announced expansion programme will create 500 new roles, increasing the company's Scottish headcount to 4500.

This expansion programme spans different locations, skills and disciplines, supporting lots of communities in different ways. We are absolutely committed to helping businesses and individuals to achieve their ambitions. The successful establishment of our global risk function demonstrates that Scotland has the talent we need and HSBC is a place that talented people want to work.

Alison McGregor,chief executive, HSBC in Scotland

HSBC's global risk function, established in Edinburgh in 2015, will be expanded with new roles also created at its Centre for Excellence for Customer Contact in Hamilton.

Paul Kelly, HSBC’s group head of policy and oversight for systems, data, and transaction processing risks, says: “All four of our global businesses operate in Scotland, the retail bank, private bank, corporate bank and investment bank. Scotland is also home to ten HSBC retail branches. Quite a lot of the support operations for our investment bank are also based in Scotland."

Risk and compliance is an area of growing and critical importance to the global banking sector. As a result, HSBC wanted to create a UK centre of excellence to handle those functions.

Scotland’s risk and compliance credentials

When it came to choosing the right location for its centre of excellence, HSBC called on the expertise of Scottish Development International (SDI) to help them make an informed choice.

HSBC recognised three key attributes of Scotland:

  • Its global reputation in banking and finance
  • The access it offers to a deep and growing pool of financial and technical talent
  • Good transport connections to HSBC’s other global locations, in London, India, North America, and the Far East

With advice and support from SDI, HSBC decided to locate their centre of excellence in Edinburgh.

Paul Kelly
Why HSBC chose Scotland to establish a UK centre for its global risk and compliance operations.
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Paul says: "When it comes to managing financial risk and compliance, Edinburgh, with its long history as a banking and financial centre has a global reputation for excellence. Our new base also gives us access to a top pool of talent, a pool that is being fed by Scottish universities offering dedicated degrees in risk management. These courses support our activities in financial risk, compliance risk, and operational risk."

Providing global oversight

As global markets become more complicated and interdependent, the need for effective oversight has become even more crucial. Scotland’s location, ideally placed between the European, American, and Far Eastern markets, allows our financial sector to work on the 'follow the sun’ model, enabling companies to do business 24/7.

Paul explains: “Within our Edinburgh centre we undertake many activities across financial crime compliance, regulatory compliance, wholesale credit and market risk, operational risk, and risk analytics."

Collaboration is key to building business

An additional benefit for HSBC in selecting Edinburgh for its new base is the high level of collaboration and connectivity between government, academia, and industry.

Paul says: “We are already growing our relations with the Scottish university sector, to provide students with research projects. That sort of activity improves their understanding of our business and activities.”

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Of Scotland’s annual pool of 97,000 graduates, 12 per cent graduate from financial technology related courses. Across Scotland there are a number of specialised finance, banking and risk management courses available. Nine of Scotland’s 17 universities provide more than 50 specialised courses (mostly at postgraduate level).

Paul says: “The new graduates coming on stream are already contributing to our business.”

Alison McGregor, chief executive of HSBC in Scotland, adds: “HSBC has a clear role to play in supporting the growth of the Scottish economy. We are committed to helping businesses of all sizes grow both internationally and domestically, and helping individuals achieve their ambitions.”

Scotland, a great place to live, work and invest

Scotland’s financial sector is the largest in the UK outside of London, hosting over 600 financial and business services companies. An established and growing fintech sector, a skilled and adaptable workforce, and easy access to the world’s global financial markets, make Scotland a great place to live, work, and invest.

Scotland also has an extremely attractive cost of living compared to other leading financial centres.Add in our equally vibrant culture, traditions and world-famous scenery, and they combine to produce a hotbed of opportunities for financial companies.

As HSBC continues to grow in Scotland, SDI will continue to provide support and advice.

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