Scottish financial services 'has a secure optimistic future'

Scotland’s financial services sector has a secure, optimistic future thanks to investment in innovation and a rise in tech disruptors.

That was the conclusion of KPMG‘s 30 Voices: The Next Generation event in Edinburgh attended by business leaders and Scottish Government digital economy minister Kate Forbes MSP.

The minister praised the industry for its moves towards a ‘fintech’ future.

She said: “Scotland has a longstanding international reputation for financial services and is the most important UK financial centre outside London and the South East.

“With a fintech community of more than 100 companies now operating right across financial services, Scotland is increasingly innovative and dynamic in bringing together financial services and technology.

“The collaboration between citizens, businesses and employees working together in the digital world gives me confidence that we will achieve our vision to make Scotland a top five global fintech centre by 2020.”

The MSP joined industry leaders at the event which included a panel discussion exploring the challenges ahead for the sector featuring CYBG’s brand and marketing director Helen Page, RBS managing director of everday banking Barry Connolly, Mindset Experts CEO Joe Trodden and Sustainably co-founder and CEO Loral Quinn.

Quinn said: “It’s great to see so much new talent coming through in Scotland’s fintech sector.


“As technology and the traditional financial services world combine, ensuring we have the right skills to grow and compete globally is going to be crucial.

“The Scottish eco-system has provided a great foundation for a number of success stories, but the reality is that success in this field needs to be on a scaled-up international level.

“Sustainably is flourishing because we’ve tapped in to the right markets and funding support around the world.

“Armed with knowledge, a passion for positive disruptive change, and a global mindset, tomorrow’s fintech leaders can play a key role in ensuring the long-term, sustainable growth of a vital sector in Scotland.”

Some emerging business leaders shared their ideas for the future of the industry at the event.

NewDay’s James Holt, and Anjali Mahey, Elise Bailey and Thomas Nash from KPMG UK, outlined a range of ideas.

These included a suggestion for the industry to lead investment in electric and driverless vehicle infrastructure, through a crowdfunding platform; an online educational tool providing more detailed financial literacy training for young people.

There was also suggested a radical solution to the growing problem of cyber-crime and fraud, through the creation of a unique lifetime digital ID for every citizen, to protect them against fraud and offer tailored, bespoke preventative support.

Thomas Nash, from KPMG UK, shared this concept, which was devised at a recent event for future stars in financial services.

He said: “Our starting point was to identify which factors led to the rapid increase in financial crime and identity theft.

“We found three key drivers: divergent digital literacy and cyber awareness rates, the fragmented nature of personal data storage, and the fact most financial services firms organisations their fraud analysis on internally generated data.”

He said the idea was to create a programme of tailored educational programmes for customers.

He added: “Teaming up with a diverse group of energetic and insightful Under-30s has been incredibly inspiring.

“It’s great to see that today’s leaders are actively listening to our perspectives on the future of the Financial Services sector.”


With an estimated 161,000 people working for more than 2,000 financial services businesses throughout Scotland, the industry’s long-term success has become a crucial area of focus for business and political leaders.

Scotland has already gained a global reputation for its blossoming fintech scene, combined with a 290,000-strong student population working towards qualification in financial disciplines.

But, while the shift towards digital transformation remains a huge opportunity for the sector, the industry is increasingly recognising the need to address a range of challenges, including rebuilding customer trust and investing in future skills and talent.

Catherine Burnet, KPMG UK’s senior partner in Scotland, said: “Scotland’s financial services sector plays a vital role in the success of the economy, but it’s essential that it doesn’t stand still.

“Technology is driving huge, disruptive change, leading to a shift in attitudes and practices throughout the industry.

“We’ve got a raft of young talent rising up the ranks within the field, so it makes complete sense to ask them for their views and insight as they’ll be the leaders responsible for driving the change in years to come.”


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