Sector toasts to future at 2021 Scottish Financial Services Awards

Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) annual awards acknowledge the “outstanding contributions” that both firms and individuals have made following a year of unparalleled challenges

The 2021 Scottish Financial Services Awards, sponsored by EY, took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last night. It was the first time the awards have been held since 2019 and a chance to reflect on the contributions of both people and organisations to the sector and to wider society during the pandemic.

There were four categories reflecting the refreshed priorities following the release of SFE’s financial services strategy for 2021-2025, which underline the sectors ambition to have a positive impact on society through leading the journey to net zero, supporting Scotland’s economic recovery, responding to changing customer needs, and developing skills and inclusion.

Barclays had a successful evening, winning three awards. Their Covid-19 Community Aid Package won the Positive Impact award for supporting local communities during lockdown. Premier Manager, Nathalie Cutting, won the Brighter Future award for her inspirational mentoring work with colleagues and refugees. Kirsteen Kearny received the Rising Star award for her moving story of overcoming countless social mobility obstacles and using her background to positively influence others.

Phoenix Group’s Rabya Akhtar took home the Unsung Hero award for her volunteering work which and her significant contribution to inclusion and local community outreach.

A special recognition award was won by Tracy Robinson from HSBC who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and went on to found the HSBC Cancer Support group, which provides a safe and supportive network to all HSBC staff members affected by cancer.

Given the strength and high quality of applications, a number of nominees were also given commendations for the contributions. These included Capco’s Asabea Owusu for Rising Star, HSBC’s Nik Bobb for Unsung Hero, Phoenix Group’s Our Minds Matter Network for Positive Impact and Scottish Widows App for Brighter Future.

Commenting on the evening, SFE Chief Executive Sandy Begbie, said: “The Scottish Financial Services Awards are about recognising the outstanding contributions made across the financial and professional services industry. My congratulations go to all of those individuals who were nominated. They are a credit to the industry and it gives me great confidence we have a talented and determined workforce ready and willing to tackle whatever challenges the future may bring.”

Lloyds Banking Group Scottish Executive Committee Chair and SFE Chair Philip Grant said: “I would like to offer all the award winners my warmest congratulations, and say a huge well done to everyone else who was commended or nominated. They really do demonstrate the brilliant achievements and huge contributions by individuals and organisations from a sector I’m very proud to work in.”

EY Head of Financial Services in Scotland and SFE Board Director Sue Dawe, said: “EY were delighted to sponsor the Scottish Financial Services Awards again this year. Despite many challenges it has been a good year for Scotland’s financial and professional services industry, which has shown a sense of purpose throughout the pandemic by supporting customers, colleagues and communities. Tonight was an opportunity to come together and celebrate the things the industry has done well as we look forward together to a bright future.”