Owen Kelly, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Executive, writes about the growing Scottish financial sector, in the new edition of World Class Scotland 2015.
Financial Services is one of Scotland’s biggest industries, and second only to London in the UK as a financial centre.
The industry has played a huge part in the fabric and prosperity of Scotland for hundreds of years and continues to do so.
2014 was an eventful year in Scotland, with a referendum on independence and a successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Politics and sport aside, the financial services industry in Scotland continued to perform well, both domestically and internationally.
There have been significant developments in the past year: Aberdeen Asset Management became the largest listed fund manager in Europe since the takeover of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership; Tesco Bank, headquartered in Edinburgh, launched its current account; JP Morgan announced the expansion of its European technology centre in Glasgow, creating another 500 highly skilled jobs; and RBS established a centre for entrepreneurs at its global Headquarters in Edinburgh to encourage entrepreneurialism and promote economic growth by bringing knowledge and expertise together to support fledgling businesses.
The industry in Scotland thrives in a competitive environment while providing a strong and reliable service to its customers. So much of the industry’s strength in Scotland is rooted in its diversity, with banking, asset management, insurance, pensions and asset servicing all being significant parts of the industry here.
Asset management growth
Asset management continues to grow and our latest survey of SFE members puts assets under management at more than £800 billion.
Owen Kelly, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise
Asset management continues to grow and our latest survey of SFE members puts assets under management at more than £800 billion. This is an impressive achievement even in the best of times, but outstanding when taking into consideration the many challenges and uncertainties facing the global economy.
Asset servicing, which includes custody, investment administration, fund accounting and other aspects of overseeing the investment process, is an increasingly busy sector. Scotland is the leading centre for asset servicing in the UK and probably the third largest in Europe.
Looking forward, it is hard to overlook the implications of “Big Data” and other technological changes. These developments present many questions, but much is already happening in the financial services community in Scotland to embrace the opportunities these changes are bringing.
The industry in Scotland has a long history of championing innovation and today we have the very best academic institutions leading the way in these technologies with excellent links to our industry. The opportunities are there to work together and shape the future of the industry to deliver the best for our customers.
The continued success of our financial services industry serves the whole of Scotland and contributes much to the prosperity of its people. The industry will continue to look outwards to market opportunities round the world, where our enduring competitive advantages – namely skills, a long term approach to investing and a strong tradition of excellence in professional services - can flourish.
Download the new edition of World Class Scotland
(PDF; 43 MB - may take some time to download, depending on your broadband connection)