SFE Member Update | April

In the coming weeks we will begin to implement Scotland’s Financial Services Strategy, which has been approved by the SFE Board. All members will be given the opportunity to see the final document first and ask questions at an online event with myself and the SFE Board on 18 May. Invites will be sent in due course and I would encourage all members to attend and hear first hand how you can support the delivery of the strategy, which is by the industry, for the industry, and make a positive impact on society.
Also on our minds this month is Mental Health Awareness Week, which kicks off on 10 May. One of the many side effects of this pandemic has been an increasingly concerning picture regarding mental health.

Many experts believe we were already in the midst of a mental health crisis before Covid-19 struck, and there is little doubt the problem has been exacerbated during this unprecedented year. This crisis affects different areas of the economy in different ways. In our sector, remote working has left many feeling isolated, working longer hours and feeling unable to switch off.
Though this issue affects everybody one way or another, it has taken a particularly large toll on young people.  Recent research by the Prince’s Trust found that half of 16-25 year olds say their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic, with 56 per cent saying they always or often feel anxious.
These are not just troubling statistics, they are a call to action that we must respond to. That is why I am delighted the SFE Young Professionals are running a mental health campaign from next Monday which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week. The SFE YP Committee has planned a range of activities to raise awareness of mental wellbeing for young people working in financial and professional services. Keep updated with the campaign by following the YP Linke​dIn page.
The SFE YP’s are also running a survey to develop a more granular understanding of how the pandemic is affecting their members’ mental health, in collaboration with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and SeeMe. The results of this survey will inform the SFE YP strategy on connecting and supporting the network. SFE members will also be given the results, which we hope will give firms new insights on how to tackle this issue. I urge all young professionals to take part in this survey. By doing so, you are helping us shape our collective response to this crisis.

Finally, we will be welcoming Sandy Macdonald as our new Head of Policy and Communications this month as we say farewell to Bronwyn Torrie, who is joining Menzies Aviation as their Head of Communications. I would also like to thank Fraser Wilson, who joined us on a temporary basis, for his work on our website redesign project and wish him and Bronwyn all the best. Caitlin Cook has also joined our team as Head of Skills & Inclusion.

If you would like to speak about anything in this update or otherwise, feel free to contact me directly. 
Sandy Begbie CBE
Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise


Government Engagement
SFE continues to speak to both governments about how our industry is supporting customers, colleagues, communities and the economy. We are also providing opportunities for SFE members to speak direct to policymakers. Activity during April included:

  • Sandy spoke with representatives from the Scottish Conservative Party Murdo Fraser MSP, Maurice Golden MSP, and Dean Lockhart MSP about the economy and SFE Banking Barometer.
  • Sandy spoke with officials from the Fair Work and Labour Market Strategy Division at the Scottish Government about the Young Person’s Guarantee and financial services support for fair work principles.
  • Sandy and Philip Grant spoke with Willie Watt, Chairman of the Scottish National Investment Bank about opportunities for SFE and SNIB to work together.
  • Sandy and Philip met with officials from the Scottish Government Directorate for International Trade and Investment to discuss the SFE Banking Barometer.
  • Sandy continues to attend weekly meetings with Scottish Government and business trade bodies. If you have anything you would like Sandy to raise on these calls please get in touch with him direct or our Head of Communications, Bronwyn Torrie, btorrie@sfe.org.uk

SFE Manifesto to Support Economic Recovery Through Collaboration
SFE launched its Scottish election manifesto on 20 April calling for increased collaboration between business and the next Scottish Government on four key policy areas to help drive a fair, inclusive and green recovery. Read the manifesto here. The manifesto was covered by media outlets including The Scotsman, The Herald, The Times and Scottish Business Insider.
SFE & Holyrood Events Finance Hustings
Following the manifesto launch, SFE sponsored a Scottish Election Finance Hustings with Holyrood Events on the role of financial services in the economic recovery, which featured representatives of each major political party. About 150 people attended the session which covered issues including economic recovery, climate change, tax and public spending, and opportunities for young people. It can be watched in full here. Read SFE YP Chairperson Milly Dent’s summary here.

SFE YP Event: We all Have Mental Health
Join SFE YP Chair Milly Dent and the SAMH Head of HR Julie-Ann Murphy for a conversation on the importance of mental health in the workplace and what positive well-being can look like. The event coincides with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and is the first of a range of resources and events hosted by SFE YP. All SFE members welcome. Please register here.

SFE YP Networking: Mental Health Coffee Morning
SFE Young Professionals are holding their second virtual coffee morning event on 12 May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. The discussion will focus on tips and strategies on personal wellness at work. Everyone welcome. Register here.
SFE Events in May – Save the Date
On 20 May we will be joined by PA Consulting for an event exploring the ways in which firms can build resilience in an uncertain world. On 24 May we are partnering with EY and FinTech Scotland to discuss the Kalifa Review of UK fintech. Event invites will be sent out for both events shortly.
Watch SFE Events on Demand
Videos of SFE events from April are available for members to watch. The third SFE Climate Series event with PA Consulting about helping customers be more sustainable can be watched here. The second event of our series with Accenture on the experience of work post-Covid can be viewed here, and our event with Noble & Co and the Scottish Policy Foundation ahead of the election can be viewed here.

Burges Salmon on Achieving Net Zero
On April 1, Burges Salmon wrote an in-depth summary of the first SFE climate series event, which explored the legislative frameworks for achieving net zero with the firm's Simon Tilling & Craig Whelton, as well as Anne Johnstone from Fair Futures Partnership. You can read it here.
Scottish Apprenticeship for Digital Technology
Skills Development Scotland would like input from SFE members  on a new Scottish Apprenticeship for Digital Technology at SCQF Level 8 with pathways in Cyber Security, Data Analytics and Software Development. Please fill in the survey here and share your thoughts.
Fast Track into Financial Services Nominated for Award
City of Glasgow College and Edinburgh College have reached the finals of this year’s Tes FE Awards for their collaboration on the Fast Track into Financial Services course. The awards will be announced at the end of the month. Read Sandy’s comments on the nomination here.  The next Fast Track course starts on 17 May. For more information, click here.
SFE YP blog on Firm Representatives
The latest Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals blog by Laura Dow, Senior Business Change Project Manager at NatWest Group, gives a detailed account of her experience as a YP Firm Representative. Read here and encourage members to join up here.



SFE Insight with 1825 on Financial Wellness

In our most recent thought leadership blog, Noel Butwell, Chairman at 1825, explores the true meaning of financial wellness, and why it has become an increasingly important issue during the covid-19 pandemic. Read it in full here.