Profile Blog | Scottish Financial Services Awards 2021 – Our Winners & Commendations

Positive Impact Award Winner - Barclays’ Covid-19 Community Aid Package

The Positive Impact Award recognises initiatives that have had a significant positive impact on customers, employees, communities, and society as a whole.

During the unprecedented social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, Barclays partnered with charities around the world to provide COVID-19 relief to communities through the £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package. In Scotland, over £2m has been donated to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic, helping both charities and the NHS amplify support for the most vulnerable members in the community. Through their Colleague Matched Donations Programme, over £315k of matching was donated or fundraised by colleagues based in Scotland. The impact of this programme was a significant financial sector contribution to charity, which made a substantial difference in Scotland and communities around the UK.

Commenting on winning the Positive Impact Award Koral Anderson, Barclays Scotland Lead, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, Barclays has been helping customers, clients, colleagues, and the wider community deal with the unprecedented social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. As part of this response, we launched the Barclays £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package to support the communities in which we live and work. To ensure the right support was delivered where it was most needed, Barclays built on existing partnerships with trusted charities and connected with new charities who were well placed to deliver COVID-19 relief efforts. Through this collaboration hundreds of organisations have received funding that has helped to amplify the transformational impact they are having on communities.”


Positive Impact Award Commendation - Our Minds Matter, Phoenix Group Phoenix Group's 'Our Minds Matter' Network was also recognised with a commendation. For more than 8.000 colleagues, the initiative has been instrumental in encouraging conversations about addressing the stigma associated with mental health. This included a very successful initiative called 'Behind the Mask,' which showcased people's personal experiences with mental health throughout the pandemic. This programme has had a positive impact on thousands of people and the broader community.



Brighter Future Award Winner - Nathalie Cutting, Barclays



The Brighter Future Award is in recognition of ground-breaking and innovative ideas, skills or technologies that have made a difference to any of the four pillars of the sector’s strategy, resulting in improved outcomes for future generations.

Nathalie Cutting, Premier Manager at Barclays, won this category. Nathalie's inspiring story exemplifies her selfless dedication to her work and the community at large. She has led volunteer projects to advocate for poverty alleviation among refugees, rehabilitate prisoners, promote a more inclusive society, and help vulnerable customers gain financial inclusion and access in Scotland. Nathalie is deserving of the Brighter Future Award because of her drive to make the world a better place.

In her comments after receiving this award, she noted: “The work that has been done in recent years to break down barriers and encourage people to think about the issues facing refugees and those seeking asylum has been important but there is more to do. I am hopeful that this award will bring a greater focus of the challenges facing those who have come through the asylum process and want to contribute to their communities.”

Brighter Future Award Commendation - Scottish Widows App 

This year's commendation for the Brighter Future category went to the Scottish Widows App. The interactive ESG-focused app was created to allow clients to consider the real-world impacts of their investments alongside their financial performance. Through education on how their pension investments can impact the world around them, this app paves the way for a brighter future for the FS industry's customers.


Rising Star Award Winner - Kirsteen Kearny, Barclays 

The Rising Star Award puts a spotlight on early-stage industry professionals who are already having an impact beyond their personal career to promote the industry and its role in wider society.

Kirsteen Kearny is a Vice President of Operations at Barclays Investment Bank. Despite coming from a disadvantaged background and experiencing childhood trauma, Kirsteen's determination to succeed in the face of adversity is inspiring. She used her personal experience with adverse childhood experiences to influence and create an innovative solution to address inequalities and improve quality education.

She was recently nominated by the Scotland Senior Leadership Team for the Women in Leadership Cohort of 2020 to participate in a programme where she finished third overall globally from a class of 260, first for Scotland. Kirsteen manages and balances a lot of positive external activity outside of her day job, demonstrating genuine leadership and great accomplishments in the early stages of her career path.

Kirsteen said: “I’m very grateful to have been recognised as a Rising Star in testament to overcoming barriers to succeed. Being in an organisation and industry that creates opportunities for everyone to thrive regardless of background and circumstances is meaningful and I’m thankful to be part of it.”


Rising Star Award Commendation - Asabea Owusu, Capco 

In this category, Asabea Owusu received a commendation. Asabea is an Associate Consultant at Capco. She has been recognised for her outstanding work in her current role at Morgan Stanley as well as her volunteer efforts to empower black professionals and promote black inclusion and diversity initiatives in financial services.


Unsung Hero Award Winner - Rabya Akhtar, Phoenix Group 

The Unsung Hero Award is for individuals who are not always recognised at industry awards but quietly leave a legacy in people's lives at their organisation or in the community.

Rabya's extensive volunteering and significant contribution to inclusion and local community outreach are exceptional. She plays an important role in leading key discussions and challenging conversations to improve inclusion and lead change in her organisation and throughout Scotland. She was recently featured in the prestigious EMpower Ethnic Minority Future Leaders Role Model List 2021, where she was chosen as one of the top 100 future leaders who make a significant contribution both at work and outside of it.

Rabya Akhtar, who co-chairs the Phoenix Group’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleague network, said:

“I am delighted to win the Unsung Hero Award at the Scottish Financial Services Awards for the work I do for Phoenix Group’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic colleague network (MOSAIC), alongside my co-chair Imran Khan. At Phoenix, and through MOSAIC, we have been delivering a range of events and initiatives to help raise cultural awareness, spark conversations and inform our colleagues. This is important to us. Our initiatives have included inviting expert guest lecturers to help us understand more about racism and we marked Black History Month with a number of activities. The award also recognises the work I’ve been doing to drive greater cultural awareness and change in my local community too, which is extremely important to me. It’s wonderful and humbling to be recognised for this work and I remain passionate and committed to driving change for equality and diversity. I’ll continue to champion this both in the workplace and externally.”


Unsung Hero Award Commendation – Nik Bobb, HSBC 

Nik Bobb received a commendation in this award category. Nik works at HSBC as a Senior Project & Risk Manager. His work in the industry to promote diversity and inclusion is impressive and he plays a key role in leading and developing the industry’s Unified Schools Programme. He is regarded as an exceptional mentor with a strong interest in youth advocacy.

Chair’s Award Winner - Tracy Robinson, HSBC 

During the judging process, this award was created to give special recognition to Tracy Robinson of HSBC for her inspirational work. Tracy was nominated in the Unsung Hero category, but the panel felt she was deserving of a separate award.  After being diagnosed of breast cancer in 2017, Tracy has continued to work at HSBC, manage her career whilst also being a single Mum to a teenage daughter. Even in such a difficult situation, she established the HSBC Cancer Support group, which provides a safe and supportive network for all HSBC colleagues affected by cancer.

Tracy’s nomination at the award ceremony was described to have transcended all categories with huge personal challenges being overcome whilst she generated positive, personal impact and transformational change for others in Scotland and beyond.

Winner Chair’s Award, Tracy Robinson said: “I am honoured to be the recipient of the ‘Chair’s award’. It truly was amazing to be recognised for everything achieved both in HSBC with the Cancer Support Group and also the work I have done within the community independently. I am passionate about ensuring everyone touched by cancer is offered support and never feels alone, so to receive an award for doing this really does mean so much to me.”