FNZ, Morgan Stanley and Skills Development Scotland in partnership with the City of Glasgow College win at the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019: The winners of this year’s revamped Scottish Financial Services Awards 2019 were announced at a ceremony at the EICC in Edinburgh last night as: FNZ, the first Scotland-based fintech unicorn business; Mikaela Thompson, apprentice at Morgan Stanley and a joint entry from Skills Development Scotland and the City of Glasgow College.

Collaboration, world-leading industry success and commitment to making a positive impact on society were key factors demonstrated by the winners of the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2019, run by Scottish Financial Enterprise and sponsored by EY.

The Awards programme, designed to recognise the very best in the financial services industry in Scotland, was refreshed in 2019 with the number of categories increased from two to three and the criteria reconfigured.

The award categories are: Impact & Investment, Pioneer and Rising Star. The former assesses the entrants’ contribution to the industry, economy and wider society; Pioneer highlights innovative new ideas and/or technologies in action to deliver tangible benefits to customers, clients and society while Rising Star has been designed to showcase the accomplishments, enthusiasm and commitment of a person in the early stages of their career.

FNZ win the Impact and Investment Award 2019

FNZ took home the Impact and Investment Award in recognition of their impressive business growth and contribution Scotland’s standing as a world-leading financial services centre as well as their commitment to making a positive social impact.

FNZ employ more than 2000 people world-wide, partner with 60 financial institutions, is responsible for £400 billion assets under administration and achieved Unicorn status in April this year. More than 500 people are employed in Edinburgh with 29 different nationalities represented and via their newly launched graduate scheme will hire 100 people with a 50/50 gender split.

The firm played a significant role in the launch of ‘The Big Exchange’ – a social investment platform designed in partnership with The Big Issue and other industry stakeholders – by funding and building the platform. FNZ has also raised thousands of pounds for charities though the colleague donation matching scheme.

Skills Development Scotland and the City of Glasgow College win the Pioneer Award 2019

The innovative Fast Track work-readiness college course was co-designed and co-delivered with industry partners. The course supports un and under-employed people access entry level roles in Glasgow’s financial services sector and is now being replicated in the East of Scotland.

The judging panel praised the original and collaborative approach between education, industry and Skills Development Scotland to create this new route into the financial services industry. This pilot delivered a number of tangible benefits with a number of participants who successfully completed the course gaining interviews or work experience placements at FS firms. Analysis shows 90% of industry members involved were very/extremely satisfied with the relevance of the course to their organisation.

Mikaela Thompson, Technology Apprentice, Morgan Stanley wins Rising Star 2019

Mikaela has been identified by her employer as an outstanding apprentice with a drive to improve team performance and customer satisfaction. Her contribution has resulted in positive stakeholder feedback and an increase in employee engagement within the team. She has also successfully leveraged her academic studies to effectively communicate technical information to broad audiences.

Mikaela makes significant contributions to industry both inside and outside her firm. She helped launch the Technology Apprentice Program in the firm’s London office, pitching to Managing Directors, academics and students. She is also a member of the company’s Technology Philanthropy Committee and is a mentor for new apprentices. Outside of the firm she is actively involved in recruitment activities for her employer, presenting at school events to parents, teachers and prospective students. Mikaela also promotes STEM subjects and qualifications, including running a series of workshops at a Scottish STEM event with more than 700 female attendees aged 10-14.

Runner-up: Rising Star 2019

This category was hotly contested, so much so that the judges also identified a Runner-Up. Sam Young, Proposition Manager at The Phoenix Group impressed the judges with her driven and collaborative leadership style. She is focused on delivering quality customer insight, built on forensic levels of analysis and skilful stakeholder management.

Philip Grant, Scottish Financial Enterprise Chairman, said: “Many congratulations to the winners of the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2019. Given the volume of high-quality entries received, reaching the shortlist was an accomplishment in itself. The raft of nominations demonstrated the vast achievements of a talented, diverse and inclusive workforce across our vibrant industry in Scotland.

“There are clear themes of resounding commitment to delivering gold-standard customer service; dedication towards making a positive impact to local communities as well as investment in a shared vision for our industry in Scotland through collaboration.

“The Pioneer Award winners provide a prime example of how cross-sector collaboration can deliver huge benefits to many individuals, organisations and wider society. FNZ have set the bar high in terms of what a Scottish-based financial services company can achieve on the international stage and are a deserving winner of the Impact and Investment Award. And I am delighted to have such a motivated and accomplished ambassador for the industry as Mikaela Thompson of Morgan Stanley as the Rising Star winner.

“Financial Services support the day to day lives and aspirations of people and businesses across Scotland, the UK and globally.  These Awards provide an opportunity to reflect on our positive contribution to the industry, the economy and the lives of others, offering inspiration to others as we continue our legacy of success.”

Presenting the awards, Sue Dawe, EY Partner and Head of Financial Services in Scotland, said: 

“The impressive calibre of this year’s winners and their fellow finalists is yet another clear demonstration of the relentless commitment to excellence within Scotland’s financial services industry. By being collaborative, innovative and continuing to invest in talent we can help to ensure the long-term success of our industry.

“I am particularly pleased with the addition of the Pioneer category this year which offers an opportunity to recognise and hopefully learn from the new ideas at work in our industry bringing transformational, positive change. EY is extremely proud to work in partnership with SFE as the sponsor this flagship event for the financial services industry in Scotland, congratulations to all who were shortlisted.”