As the UK's second largest financial sector, Scotland is helping to lead the charge for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Sharon Hamilton, SDI’s head of financial and business services, explains why.
We’ve heard the term ‘open for business’ a great deal recently. It’s a reassuring phrase traditionally used by your local corner shop, hairdresser or café, and has now been adopted by cities and countries.
Evidently, business is not exactly as usual. We’re all operating in a period of significant flux and uncertainty. Yet we're 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 in times such as these, it’s critical to focus on solutions which are tried and trusted and can be relied upon to deliver value.
Scotland is unique in its ability to offer a strong, enduring connection with London's financial sector. 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.
Scotland is a choice location for companies seeking to complement London operations
Scotland remains a highly competitive business location, alongside 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.
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.
Foreign Direct Investment success
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 experienced in servicing global markets, Scotland offers stability and security. This is based on a strong heritage and proven 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, businesses can become part of a community with strong connections with London and global markets, and complementary teams working 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 multilingual graduates. This, combined with our famous work ethic, enables investors to benefit from a hard-working, dependable and diverse workforce. The result? Stability and reassurance for your business.
Scotland also offers businesses a cost competitive location
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.
Scotland also offers businesses a cost competitive location, which, balanced with real quality talent and an established financial services ecosystem, has proven to be a winning combination for many global financial services providers.
Working with SDI, businesses can get help with identifying premises, talent and collaborative opportunities and access to funding for employment creation, innovation and skills development.
Scotland is open for business.
This article first appeared in The Banker.