Scottish Financial Services Award 2017 - Finalists Announced

Five companies are vying for the coveted Scottish Financial Services Award for 2017 with technology and contribution to the economy key themes among the finalists.

The winner will be announced at the biggest annual dinner in Scottish Financial Enterprise’s 31-year history later this month. The inaugural Rising Star Award winner will also be revealed.

Run by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) and sponsored by EY, the awards celebrate success and recognise organisations for excellence in financial services.

Nominees are judged on 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. A panel of industry leaders including SFE board members and independent judges selected this year’s finalists.

The overall winner will be announced at SFE's annual dinner on Thursday 26 October in Edinburgh.

Clark Thomson won the award last year for bucking the trend towards centralisation and achieving outstanding growth. Previous recipients include; the Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco Bank, Standard Life Investments, business journalist Bill Jamieson and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The finalists for 2017 are:

Avaloq
For placing Edinburgh at the forefront of digital transformation projects and helping to establish a vibrant, innovative ecosystem by developing state-of-the-art mobile and web banking solutions for leading financial institutions worldwide.

Castlight
For the innovative FinTech company’s successful track record of providing financial retailers a range of digital tools to enhance the way they do business with their customers.

FreeAgent
For going from start-up to IPO in ten years. Based in Edinburgh, they are now one of the UK’s most successful FinTech companies.

HSBC Bank
For an outstanding performance which has seen delivery of significant sustainable growth for the Scottish economy and the financial services sector.

Nucleus
For leading the way in securing Scotland’s future standing as a centre of excellence in asset management and asset servicing due to its innovate technology-based business model.

 SFE introduced a new award this year to recognise rising stars who have demonstrated outstanding potential and development in the early stages of their career, while also promoting the industry and its role in the wider society.

Four finalists are in the running for the first ever Rising Star Award. They are:

Arman Eshraghi, Associate Professor of Finance & Accounting, University of Edinburgh

Arman is nominated for his active academic engagement with the finance sector, internationally reputable research excellence in finance and accounting, and extensive portfolio of executive education and consultancy.

Miro Gregorovic, Senior Information Technology Business Consultant, Sopra Steria

An inspiring advocate and trailblazer for FinTech, Miro’s enthusiasm and collaborative approach have empowered financial services organisations across Scotland to harness the transformative benefits of innovative technology.

Victoria MacLean, Equities Investment Manager, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Victoria has been identified as an emerging talent within Aberdeen and was promoted quickly in her team. She is involved in several roles outside Aberdeen aimed at promoting the industry.

Rory Marsh, Business Manager (CEO, Pensions & Savings), Standard Life Aberdeen

Rory is the driving force behind Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals as its founding Chairman. Launched in 2016, they are actively involved in the work of SFE and have a growing membership and well-attended events.

Graeme Jones, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said:

“We are experiencing a revolution in Scotland where tradition and technology are colliding to create an innovative financial services ecosystem. It is great to see this reflected in the 2017 finalists for the Scottish Financial Services Award, from ambitious startups putting Scotland on the FinTech map to long-standing firms creating sustainable growth for our economy.

“The wealth of talent in our industry is staggering and nurturing the next generation is key, which is why we have introduced the Rising Star Award to this year’s proceedings. Congratulations to the four finalists who prove the future is very bright for financial services in Scotland.”

Sue Dawe, Head of Financial Services at EY in Scotland, said:

“This year’s list of finalists again reflects the breadth and strength of our industry in Scotland. The new Rising Star Award is a fantastic commitment from SFE to identify, celebrate and support Scotland’s financial services leaders of tomorrow. From what I’ve seen of the finalists, the industry’s future looks an exciting one. I am delighted that EY is once again sponsoring these awards.”

Background Details – the Finalists

AVALOQ INNOVATION
The Avaloq group is an international provider of software and services for wealth management, universal and retail banking. Avaloq has placed Edinburgh at the forefront of digital transformation projects, helping to establish a vibrant, innovative ecosystem by developing state-of-the-art mobile and web banking solutions for leading financial institutions worldwide. The R&D centre was officially opened in March 2012 and expanded in May 2015 with the opening of a new wing to accommodate the fast-growing e-banking teams. Its Edinburgh base now leads development in key areas and 30 per cent of Avaloq customers opt for digital solutions built in the capital. The launch of the Developer Portal has brought 1,000 developers into the fintech ecosystem in the past year and recent community projects involved Glasgow and Edinburgh universities and a local primary school. Read more about Avaloq here.

CASTLIGHT FINANCIAL
Castlight Financial are an innovative fintech company with a successful track history of providing financial retailers a range of digital tools to enhance the way they do business with their customers. They have made an impact on the industry through innovation and are already winning awards for their unique approach and products. Including Deloitte’s first Kick Start a Start Up and were finalists at Tedx Glasgow 2017. Based in Finneston, Glasgow, the business seeks to build on their excellent and growing reputation in Scotland and the UK, and grow the business in other global locations. The team combines credit industry expertise, broad financial and business experience, and financial technology innovation.  Equifax recently formed a new strategic partnership with Castlight to launch the affordability platform to support lenders, brokers and their clients with mortgage applications. Read more about Castlight here.

FREEAGENT
The FreeAgent team have gone from start-up to IPO in ten years, all from their base in Edinburgh. They develop accounting software aimed at the UK’s five million “micro-businesses” and are now one of the UK’s most successful Fintech companies. They have been investing heavily in the growth of the firm which has seen the number of FreeAgent’s accounting practice clients swell to more than 33,000, against 16,705 last year, while its direct client base rose by 11 per cent to 17,500. This growth has seen them increase their head count to 125 staff and they have taken on more space within their Fountainbridge headquarters. To fuel their growth, FreeAgent have starting working with banks in addition to accountancy practices and with customers direct. Their listing on the London AIM market marked them as the first company to receive crowdfunding to IPO. Read more about FreeAgent here.

HSBC BANK
HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. We serve around 38 million customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. Our network covers 67 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. These four global businesses are all represented in HSBC Scotland, from retail branches for HSBC and M&S Bank, contact centres, commercial centres, HSBC Security Services to HSBC Private Bank and a Risk Centre of Excellence. We employ over 4000 people in Scotland and plan to increase our headcount in the next 12 months. As CEO Scotland, Alison McGregor is senior leader for the HSBC Group in Scotland and has responsibility for people, customers, shareholders and senior leaders and an interest for supporting the growth of our economy. Read more about HSBC here.

NUCLEUS FINANCIAL
Nucleus Financial leads the way in securing Scotland’s future standing as a centre of excellence for asset management and asset servicing due to its innovate technology-based business model. Employing 180 people, it’s the only independent firm of its kind in the UK. Taking a client-aligned approach, Nucleus aims to pair advisers directly with clients to increase transparency surrounding their finances. They are heavily involved in supporting the Scottish FinTech strategy ensuring that Scotland is firmly placed on the international map. The appointment of CEO, David Ferguson, as UK FinTech ambassador for Scotland alongside Louise Smith will ensure Scotland has a voice. Nucleus CTO, Andrew Smith, has also supported the development of talent in Scotland with local initiatives such as CodeClan. Read more about Nucleus Financial here.

NOTES

  1. The Scottish Financial Services Awards are run by Scottish Financial Enterprise, sponsored by EY and supported by The Scotsman. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Contact:  SFE Head of Communications, Bronwyn Torrie on 0131 247 7700 or btorrie@sfe.org.uk