Annual Awards - 2015 Finalists

FANTASTIC FOUR

Four finalists are in the running to be crowned winners of the Scottish Financial Services Awards for 2015.

The awards, run by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) and sponsored by EY, recognise nominees for their contributions to Scotland's standing as a financial centre, their long term perspectives, the benefits they bring for customers and their innovation and imagination.

The overall winner will be announced at SFE's annual dinner on 29 October in Edinburgh.  Last year Tesco Bank scooped the award. Previous recipients have been Standard Life Investments,  business journalist Bill Jamieson and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The finalists for 2015 are:

AVALOQ

  • for the expansion of its hi-tech research and development facility in Edinburgh.

LINC Scotland

  • for winning a contract with the World Bank to share Scotland’s experience and assist with the development of business angel markets in the Caribbean and potentially elsewhere internationally.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND

  • for the creation of a network of start-up business accelerator hubs across the UK, giving new enterprises free access to a range of support and guidance, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark.

THE GLASGOW ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP, FINANCE AND BUSINESS SERVICE WORK STREAM

  • for the launch of the foundation apprenticeship in financial services.

Owen Kelly, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise said:

“This year we have some real diversity among our finalists, but one common thread which stands out is the way they are all working to shape the future of financial services both here and abroad.  We have a Swiss company developing high tech software in Scotland; a Scottish organisation helping to develop angel investing in the Caribbean, a bank helping entrepreneurs and start-ups take their next steps and a collaboration of education and industry helping young people take their first steps into the world of financial services.

“It’s always a challenge for the judges to choose a shortlist from the wealth of talent and initiative on offer, from the industry itself and among its varied support services, and this year has been no different.  The strength of the Scottish financial services industry is rooted in its diversity and I am delighted to see this reflected in the range and depth of our finalists.

"All of our 2015 finalists deserve recognition for their outstanding contributions, whether for customers, education, business or society as a whole.”

George Reid, head of financial services at EY in Scotland, said:

“Scotland’s financial services industry is thriving thanks to the inspired and innovative approach employed by many people and organisations within the sector. The Scottish Financial Services Awards recognise accomplishments made within financial services in Scotland and in turn the sector should be celebrated for the contribution it makes towards a healthy Scottish economy. The diversity of this year’s finalists provides an insight into the country’s strength as a financial centre and is an indication of a bright future ahead.”

Finalists – Background Details

Avaloq

As an international leader in integrated banking solutions for wealth management, retail and universal banks, Avaloq is the only independent provider for the financial industry to both develop and operate its own software. The Swiss-based group has a global customer base of more than 140 financial institutions in over 20 countries, including tier one banks in the world’s most demanding financial centres. Avaloq is one of the world’s largest fintech companies and number one in Switzerland. Passionate about innovation, Avaloq has a reputation for the highest standards in engineering excellence and invests heavily in research and development. With strong links to the business, technology and academic communities, Edinburgh was the perfect choice for Avaloq’s first development centre outside of Zurich. Avaloq’s decision to invest further in the hi-tech R&D centre confirms Edinburgh’s status as a hub for current and upcoming talent in the technology field and affirms Avaloq’s renewed commitment to the Scottish Financial Services industry.

LINC Scotland

LINC Scotland is the national association for business angels in Scotland, with a membership including many individual investors and most angel groups or syndicates. LINC members have made almost 1000 investments in fast growing Scottish companies, making it one of the most successful and effective angel organisations in Europe.  LINC has pioneered initiatives in investment readiness, syndicate building, public/private co-investment, and sustainable intervention. 

Last year, LINC was awarded a contract with the World Bank aimed at creating an entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem across the CARICOM region (Caribbean and surrounding areas).  After success in the international tendering process, LINC’s responsiveness to local conditions and ability to innovate new investment structures led to an almost doubling of the contract value and extent, and an ongoing enabling role with a range of local players, including the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship, Caribbean Export Development Agency and multiple new angel groups across the region.

Royal Bank of Scotland

The network of business accelerator hubs provides entrepreneurs with free office space, WiFi and access to specially trained RBS staff and business mentors. The “chiclets” also benefit from the opportunity to collaborate and network with enterprise support organisations and fellow entrepreneurs.

The hubs welcome businesses from any sector and do not need to be RBS or NatWest customers. By 2017 RBS and NatWest will house an extensive network of Entrepreneurial Spark “hatcheries” in their buildings across the UK, including their Global HQ at Gogarburn. Hundreds of entrepreneurs a year will benefit in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayrshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle, Milton Keynes and London. At the end of 2014 E-Spark had supported 352 companies, created 1,028 jobs and secured £18 million of investment for start-up companies. Importantly 82% of companies that have been through the accelerators are still trading after a year. RBS’s investment in Entrepreneurial Spark is an innovative and successful way of supporting the start-up market.

The Glasgow Economic Leadership, Finance and Business Services Work Stream

In August 2015, eighteen pupils enrolled on the new Foundation Apprenticeship in Financial Services developed by a strategic partnership involving; Glasgow Economic Leadership, City of Glasgow College, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.  It offers pupils in S5 and S6 the opportunity to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship, gain industry recognised qualifications and work experience, alongside Highers and Advanced Highers, kick-starting their career in Financial Services. 

Created in collaboration with industry, Foundation Apprenticeships represent a fundamental change to work-based learning in the senior phase of education. SDS aims to see Foundation Apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors available in every Scottish school by 2020.

NOTES

  1. The Scottish Financial Services Awards are run by Scottish Financial Enterprise, sponsored by EY and supported by The Scotsman.  The annual Awards are designed to recognise the very best in the industry across the board, based on their contribution to Scotland’s standing as a financial centre, their long-term perspective, the benefits they bring for customers, and their innovation and imagination.
  2. Last year the award went to Tesco Bank for launching their current account and for consolidating their position as a leading bank in the UK, employing 4000 people, most of these in Scotland.
  3. This year’s four finalists have been selected by a panel of industry leaders including SFE board members and independent judges. From this shortlist of four, one will be named the winner of the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2015.
  4. Scottish Financial Enterprise is the representative body for Scotland's financial services industry, with members ranging from global companies headquartered in Scotland to small, locally-based support businesses. 
  5. Contact:  Elaine Ravenscroft at SFE on 0131 247 7700