Ministerial Foreword - First Minister of Scotland
Scotland: achieving shared ambitions - building future success
Welcome to the second Annual Report of the Strategy for the Financial Services Industry in Scotland.
Improving Scotland's economic growth is our number one priority. Although financial services regulation is the responsibility of the UK Government, we are continuing to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to give Scotland an extra competitive edge. Building from the stability in the UK economy, our investment in skills, innovation and infrastructure is driving economic growth in Scotland year on year.
As this Report confirms, Scotland's financial services industry remains one of our major economic success stories. Scotland is a leading European financial centre, home to the global headquarters of some of our foremost financial services companies, and a financial services industry that accounts for almost 1 in every 10 Scottish jobs.
In the past year, the industry has grown at over three times the rate of the Scottish economy. Scottish-based companies have expanded their operations and some of the world's most successful companies have chosen to locate new operations here. Thousands of high quality jobs have been created and, in the face of increasingly fierce international competition for labour and skills, we've continued to attract a growing number of skilled and talented workers and students from all over the world.
The Financial Services Advisory Board, a unique partnership between government, the industry and trade unions, is helping to deliver that success and our shared ambitions for Scottish financial services.
In the last year alone, our work together has delivered high quality training and qualifications to hundreds of people who are already in the industry, or who are looking to build a career there. FiSAB met with University Principals to develop even closer collaboration between the financial services industry and our first class Higher Education Institutions. Initiatives such as Determined to Succeed are ensuring that young Scots are better prepared for life beyond school. And the work that we're doing to increase financial education in schools and financial capability in the wider population will have knock-on benefits for the industry too.
For our part, in government, we've continued our work to improve Scotland's infrastructure even further. Since devolution, direct international air routes from Scotland have more than trebled. Scotland is also connected to more international cities - 21 in 1998 compared to 77 today. This has increased our attractiveness to international investors and connected us as never before to other major financial centres. And we've raised the profile of the industry, showcasing Scotland's excellence in financial services around the world - from Paris and mainland China to Hong Kong and Japan.
Two years after we launched our Strategy, we can be pleased about the progress that we have made. But in an increasingly competitive global environment, we cannot afford to sit still.
Our achievements to date have established a strong platform for future success. Now we need to build on that. This report begins that process and sets out a clear direction for the future - not only looking ahead to the actions for the next 12 months, but also setting a strategic approach over the medium and long term.
As First Minister and Chair of the Financial Services Advisory Board, I am committed to working together with the industry, trade unions and wider public sector to deliver those actions and to support our financial companies to achieve our shared ambitions.
The Right Honourable Jack McConnell MSP, First Minister of Scotland
Industry Foreword - John Campbell
Scotland: working in partnership for continuing success and growth
In the highly competitive and fast-changing global environment in which the financial services industry operates, Scotland continues to outperform many of its rival business centres around the world as a preferred location for leading financial services companies.
The reasons for this are clear. Scotland has a long-established and successful international financial services industry with expertise and critical mass across all of the main industry sectors. It has a knowledgeable, talented workforce with a broad, deep skills base supported by its many excellent universities and professional institutions. Scotland is a vibrant hub of financial services innovation. For over 300 years its experts have led the design and delivery of financial products, services and technologies that add value to customers, shareholders and economies around the world. Scotland also provides a cost-effective, stable and secure operational base from which to serve the global market - and the quality of Scotland's living and working environment is second to none.
These advantages are well established and well known. However, over the last four years, Scotland has developed another major distinguishing asset which is of significant importance to the financial services industry, particularly given the volatility of the commercial and political world that affects us all.
That asset is the strength of the unique partnership now firmly cemented between government, the industry and trade unions working together to continuously improve the business environment that Scotland provides for financial services companies.
In our first Annual Report we demonstrated the strong progress made in establishing this pioneering partnership and delivering the Strategy for the Financial Services Industry in Scotland. In this, our second Report we highlight the extensive work that has been undertaken to develop the Strategy over the last 12 months and the main areas that will be our priority going forward.
The benefits of much of this work will take time to realise. However, thanks to the efforts of all of the partners involved, the many financial services companies that are headquartered and located in Scotland are now gaining advantage from increased direct flight connections with other strategic financial hubs, new initiatives to expand the skills pool available to us in Scotland, and a joined-up approach to promoting Scotland as a leading international centre of financial services expertise.
On behalf of Scotland's international financial services industry, Scottish Financial Enterprise is committed to building further on the success of this partnership to the long-term advantage of the financial services industry and the economy of Scotland. We are delighted that our partners from the public sector and the trade unions share this commitment and we look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve our joint vision.
John Campbell, FiSAB Industry Deputy Chair (and Chairman, Scottish Financial Enterprise and Senior Managing Director, State Street Corporation)