|We are on track to deliver the refreshed Financial Services Strategy by the end of March thanks to a high level of engagement across the membership.
We will soon be sharing dates for the virtual gallery walk-throughs as part of the last phase of the process, giving all members an opportunity to provide further comments and refine the draft strategy. A small number of in-depth interviews with senior UK and global financial services leaders will also be conducted during March.
The Strategy Advisory Group met last week as did the SFE Board to reflect on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered so far from our member engagement. There were some really good conversations and it feels like we’re heading in the right direction.
The response to our eight deep-dive workshops last month was fantastic. Representatives from nearly 40 member organisations attended the workshops which covered investment management and asset servicing, life and pensions, wealth management, fintech, global relationships and partnerships, banking and private banking, professional services, people, and climate change.
Though there were recurring themes, one that stood out for me was the focus on climate change and sustainability. Our Phase 1 member survey results showed that climate change was the second highest priority for 2021, after digital transformation. Additionally, two thirds of members thought sustainability provided the biggest opportunity for financial services.
It was this sense of optimism that guided our climate change and sustainability workshop. The discussion delved into the heart of this issue, generating some thought-provoking questions. How can financial services support consumer behaviour change? What is Scotland’s proposition in terms of green investment? How can we best position ourselves to take full advantage of the unique opportunity presented by COP26 in Glasgow?
As well as being frank and realistic, I found the responses to these questions to be bold and ambitious. We hope you will see that ambition coming out in the strategy during the gallery walk-throughs and in the final document that will be by the industry, for the industry.
The SFE team is curating a series of climate change and sustainability-themed events in the lead up to COP26 in November. Through these events we will view climate from several lenses, such as responsible investment, corporate governance and consumer behaviour. I’m really looking forward to discussing these important issues and hopefully shining light on how we can make a difference together.
Also on the horizon is an SFE manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections that will be based on our strategic themes and a hustings event with the key finance spokespeople. We will share details when they come to hand.
Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss the strategy refresh or anything else. My email is email@example.com.
Sandy Begbie CBE