Scottish Financial industry growth outstrips London

Scotland has seen the number of people employed in the financial and related professional services industry grow by 6.6% from 151,000 to 161,000 in the last year. This growth in industry jobs outpaced that of London, which grew by 5% in the same year, according to the latest research by TheCityUK.

The ‘Enabling Growth across the UK 2018’ report shows that while London remains the country’s largest financial centre, the industry truly is a national asset, making a significant economic contribution to regional and national economies. In Scotland this was £12bn in 2016 and collectively across the country this amounted to £174bn, with two thirds of the 2.3 million industry jobs based outside London.

Financial and related professional services account for 8.9% of the Scottish economy, the largest area contribution outside London. Scotland has particular strengths in banking, life assurance and pensions. It is a renowned centre of excellence in investment management, data science and has an emerging FinTech community.

In its report TheCityUK outlines fifteen recommendations to drive growth in financial and related professional services centres right across the country.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said,
“One in every 14 British jobs are in financial and related professional services. These ‘City jobs’ aren’t just confined to London, they’re in financial clusters all across the UK, in cities such as Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester.

“The ongoing strength of our financial centres across the country underlines what a national success story this industry is. Building on this success will need a supportive business environment and greater emphasis on local expertise and local decision making. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t be good enough.”

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said, “This report reinforces Scotland’s position as the UK’s leading financial services hub outside London. Scotland offers a combination of a well-established financial services sector and ongoing innovation, with many global companies already based here.

“The Scottish Government is committed to helping equip the industry for the future by leveraging Scotland’s expertise in financial technology so we can play a leading role in the continued growth and transformation of the sector.”

Graeme Jones, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “The significant growth of jobs in Scotland’s financial services industry is a very pleasing sign and reinforces the strength of our sector, which contributes £12 billion to the economy.

"TheCityUK’s report shows an additional 10,000 people are now working in our industry, taking the total number to 161,000, with Edinburgh remaining the biggest financial centre outside of London employing nearly 53,000 people. Edinburgh has the largest centre for banking in the UK and Glasgow is home to the biggest insurance cluster.

“Scotland continues to be a leader in innovation. Our emerging fintech ecosystem and data-driven innovation complement our traditional strengths in banking, insurance, pensions and fund management. Collaboration across the industry is key to our continued success and SFE will continue to support and work with our members to help strengthen and grow Scottish financial services."

According to the report, the biggest financial centres outside London are Edinburgh and Manchester, which has overtaken Birmingham this year to take third place. In terms of specific sectors, after London Manchester is the UK’s biggest legal services and management consultancy centre; Watford has the biggest accounting cluster; Glasgow is the biggest insurance centre and Edinburgh has the largest centre for banking and is also a major international location for fund management.