SFE Member Update | February

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 sbegbie@sfe.org.uk.
Kind regards,
Sandy Begbie CBE

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 February included:

  • Sandy sent a letter to all MSPs and Scottish MPs which provided an overview of our sector’s support for people and businesses during the Covid-19 crisis and our commitment to the economic recovery. Read here.
  • Sandy met with Reuben Aitkin, Deputy Director of Trade Policy at the Scottish Government, to discuss the trade vision.
  • Sandy and Philip Grant met with Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop to discuss the updated Banking Barometer, which EY is collating on behalf of our banking members.
  • Sandy met with Education Secretary John Swinney to discuss the Young Person’s Guarantee and financial services' role in it.
  • Sandy met with Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn to discuss the Young Person’s Guarantee and the letter mentioned above.
  • 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 backs the Young Person’s Guarantee and Scottish Apprenticeship Week
We marked the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week yesterday by announcing our support of the Young Person's Guarantee and calling on business to invest in talent (here). We will be woking with members to identify how we can collectively support the Guarantee in the coming months. Goodluck to three apprentices at SFE member firms who are finalists in the Scottish Apprenticeship Week Awards this Thursday. They are Ciara Phillips of Morgan Stanley, David Scott of Aviva and Nicole Wallace of Standard Life Aberdeen. Further details here.
SFE Young Professionals 2021 plan & member survey
SFE Young Professionals Chair Milly Dent outlined the committee’s plans for the year ahead (here) and launched the first SFE YP member survey, which is live here
‘Now’s the time for financial services to get ambitious’
Sandy wrote an op-ed for The Times about the current climate for financial services and why he believes this is the time to be ambitious. Sandy also wrote about reopening the economy when it is safe to do so, and stressed the sectors' commitment to economic recovery. Read the full article here.
SFE & PwC event: Operational Resilience
The importance of operational resilience for financial services firms has only grown over the past year. Hear from PwC’s Stuart Birnie and Lewis McKenzie slongside Maurizio Tomasella, a lecturer in Management Science at the University of Edinburgh this Thursday, 3pm. Register here.
SFE YP & Standard Life Aberdeen event: Managing Risk in Financial Services
SFE Young Professionals are hosting a discussion with Standard Life Aberdeen this Thursday, 11am on how firms handle legislative and regulatory affairs with strategic support based on technical expertise. All welcome. Register here.
SFE & Accenture event series
We're partnering with Accenture on a series of events looking at the impact of Covid-19 across global financial services. Accenture's Head of Global Banking Alan McIntyre led the first event last week on the key trends to expect in banking this year. Information on the series is available here.
SFE & UK Finance event: Recapitalisation
We were delighted to be joined by Stephen Pegge, UK Finance Managing Director of Commercial Finance, to hear his insights on debt, recapitalisation, and government lending schemes. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.
New dates for Fast Track into Finance Services course
A new group of students began the six-week Fast Track work readiness course at the start of February with the next courses due to start on 22 March at Edinburgh and City of Glasgow colleges. Further details on Fast Track and course information can be found here.

SFE Insight 
| Martin Cook, Head of Fintech at Burgess Salmon, makes the case that now is the time for financial services in all its forms to invest in digital innovation. Read his thought leadership blog here.