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Why Scotland and London are a combined powerhouse for UK financial services


We’ve heard the term ‘open for business’ a lot recently. It’s a reassuring phrase which traditionally might have been used by your local corner shop, hairdresser or café, and has now been adopted by cities and countries.

It’s a phrase which says that in current uncertain times, you can be sure that the cogs are still turning, the engine is running and the wheels are in motion.

Evidently, it’s not exactly business as usual. We’re all operating in a period of significant flux and uncertainty. Yet we are happy to proclaim that, like London, Scotland is very much open for business. Our skills, expertise, products and services have always been in high demand globally and that remains unchanged.

I strongly believe that at times such as these, it’s critical to focus on solutions which are tried and trusted and can be relied upon to deliver value. 

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Sharon Hamilton

Scotland is unique in its ability to offer a strong, enduring connection with the London financial sector. Indeed the bond dates back several centuries and has been built upon a shared attitude and appreciation of the sector.

Over the years, that relationship has flourished, thanks to Scotland’s ability to offer ready access to a labour pool with complementary skills to London teams and a loyal, dependable staff with solid retention rates.

Add to that the significant efficiencies of operating in Scotland which help balance the overheads of operating in the world’s leading financial centre. It won’t come as any surprise to hear that, today, London-based financial institutions account for half of all the financial services employment in Scotland. 

Both London and Scotland have benefitted from this collaborative approach, and there’s never been a more relevant time to build on this.

Unique assets


Scotland remains a highly competitive business location, second only to London for foreign direct investment projects. This includes investment built around the skills of our workforce, the quality of our research and innovation and our connected cities and business environment.

Indeed, we have a busy team of investment specialists handling enquiries relating to investment, property and access to funding, as investment continues to flow into Scotland and we continue to trade with the rest of the world.

With great connections to customers, partners and an abundance of experienced graduates, Scotland has proven time and again to be the location of choice for companies looking to establish a new base or to complement London operations.

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As our FDI track record demonstrates, Scotland is globally recognised as a great place to do business. In terms of FDI projects won, three of our major cities feature in the UK top ten and our market share of UK FDI projects has almost doubled in the last decade. This is a solid endorsement of just what our country has to offer.

As the most important UK financial centre outside of London, and with a proven track record in servicing global markets, Scotland offers stability and security. This is based on a strong heritage and world-class capabilities in banking, asset management and servicing, insurance and pensions and financial technology.

Innovation is high up our agenda too and we’re proud to host a dynamic sector. This promotes collaboration and active partnership between industry and academia to develop capabilities in areas such as fintech and cyber security.

By co-locating in Scotland, you’ll become part of a community with strong connections to London and global markets, and complementary teams working together on a range of functions, projects and deals.

As the most highly educated country in Europe, Scotland offers an experienced, flexible and tech-savvy labour pool and a strong output of world-class, multilingual graduates. This, combined with our famous work ethic, enables investors to benefit from a hard-working, dependable and diverse workforce. This in turn means stability and reassurance for your business.

Investor success

Investors in Scotland are currently enjoying ongoing growth and expansion. We know this because every year for the last five years the number of expansion projects by existing investors in Scotland has increased. We don’t see this changing – the factors which give Scottish companies a competitive advantage remain unchanged and will continue to attract international interest.

Scotland also offers your business a cost competitive location, which, balanced with the availability of real quality talent and an established financial services ecosystem, has already proven to be a winning combination for many global financial services providers. Working with SDI, you’ll also get help with identifying premises, talent and collaborative opportunities and access to funding for employment creation, innovation and skills development.

So there are many good reasons why Scotland should be on your radar right now. In times of uncertainty it makes sense to work with trusted partners. 

Scotland is open for business.

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