SFE Member Update | March

With the Scottish Parliamentary elections just over a month away, politicians are now entering campaign mode. Parties from across the political spectrum will begin to make the case to people and businesses in Scotland that they have the best plan to guide the nation through its Covid-19 recovery.
As the industry body for financial services in Scotland, it’s vital that we participate in the democratic process, engaging with each political party, and representing the interests of our members. For this election, we have taken two bold steps to ensure we achieve these objectives effectively.
Firstly, we will be unveiling SFE’s election manifesto, in which we will call on the next Scottish Government to enact four policy “asks” in the next parliamentary term. These proposals are aligned with our refreshed Financial Services Strategy, covering climate, economic recovery, skills and inclusion, and global connectivity.
Secondly, we are hosting a Scottish Election Hustings with Holyrood Events on 20 April looking at the vital role of financial services in the economic recovery. It will provide our members unique access to the key finance spokespeople, with the chance to ask questions, prompt debate, and build a first-hand understanding of each party’s vision for Scotland’s financial services sector and the wider economy. Please register here.
Holyrood Magazine Editor Mandy Rhodes will chair the session featuring Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, Conservative finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser, Liberal Democrat leader and finance spokesperson Willie Rennie, Labour’s finance spokesperson Daniel Johnson and Greens co-leader Lorna Slater. All SFE members are welcome, and I would urge you to take an hour out of your day to come along.
We have made excellent progress on refreshing Scotland’s Financial Services Strategy and have completed our engagement with members. The SFE Board had a productive session to discuss refinements and we’re nearly there. I’m looking forward to sharing the final version with members and moving into the implementation phase. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to be part of the process to develop a strategy by the industry, for the industry.
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 March included:

  • Sandy spoke with Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP, to discuss the Young Person’s Guarantee.
  • SFE members attended the first Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB) meeting of this year on 1 March, which was co-chaired by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop and SFE Chair Philip Grant. Trade, Investment & Innovation Minister Ivan McKee also attended.
  • Sandy spoke with representatives from the Scottish Conservative Party Murdo Fraser MSP, Maurice Golden MSP, and Dean Lockhart MSP about recapitalisation, the SFE Banking Barometer and the refreshed Financial Services Strategy.
  • Sandy spoke with officials from HM Treasury to discuss the Chancellor’s budget, the financial services strategy refresh and how SFE and HMT can work effectively together going forward.
  • Sandy spoke with Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills Jamie Hepburn about financial services’ focus on skills and inclusion within the refreshed SFE strategy.
  • Sandy and Philip met with Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP to discuss the latest 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 Climate Series leading up to COP26 
The SFE Climate Series is underway and looking at climate from several lenses, such as responsible investment, corporate governance and consumer behaviour. Burges Salmon hosted our first event on the legal framework for net zero, which can be viewed here. EY hosted the second event providing an introduction to COP26, which can be viewed here. Read about our plans for the series here.  
At our next Climate Series event on 29 April, PA Consulting sustainability experts Mark Lancelott and Jason Hill will share an ambitious vision of how banks can help remove the barriers for home-owners to make more sustainable choices. Register here.
New SFE members
We’re delighted to welcome three new members to SFE.  Alvarez & Marsal is a leading global professional services firm that opened its first office in Scotland in February 2020, with a focus on tax compliance and advisory work for funds and asset managers. Odgers Berndtson is a global executive search firm over 50 years of experience. The firm has a large presence in Scotland where it has worked closely with the financial services industry. IQUAD is an executive search firm with a focus on tech skill areas, including programming languages, practices, and tooling.
SFE Young Professionals survey closes this week
The inaugural survey is still open for SFE Young Professional members to have their say. It is important that the Young Professionals Committee hears from as many members as possible so it can be truly reflective and responsive. Please take five minutes and fill it in here by this Friday.
Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021
During Scottish Apprenticeship Week, SFE urged businesses to get behind the Young Person’s Guarantee and said we would look at how we can collectively support the scheme (here). Sandy wrote an op-ed about apprenticeships, the Young Person’s Guarantee and helping young people succeed (here). We published a Q&A with Mikaela Thompson who completed an apprenticeship at Morgan Stanley (here). Finally, congratulations to Ciara Philips of Morgan Stanley for winning Modern Apprentice of the Year (SCQF Level 5 category) at the 2021 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. You can read Ciara’s story here.

SFE press activity
We responded to the UK Government Budget with a statement from Sandy here. Following this, Sandy wrote an op-ed in Scotland on Sunday (here) arguing that an ambitious investment strategy must be at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery. We also issued a reaction to the draft Scottish Government Budget, which you can read here, and when it was confirmed here.
SFE YP Blog: Tips on How to be An Ally
Will Labate, Senior Consultant at Capco and SFE Young Professional, gave a candid and powerful account on the importance of allies in our businesses. Read the blog here.
Watch past SFE events on demand
Videos of SFE events are available for members to watch. The event with PwC on operational resilience can be viewed here and the event on Brexit with experts from CMS, Aberdeen Standard Investments and EY can be viewed here.
SFE YP inaugural coffee morning
The first SFE Young Professionals coffee morning was held on 25 March on the topic of burnout while working remotely. The informal sessions aim to connect people virtually as we continue to work from home. These will be held regularly for all SFE YP members, which anyone is welcome to join. Sign up to SFE YP here.

SFE INSIGHT | In our latest thought leadership blog, Sindhu Krishna, Head of Responsible Investments at Phoenix Group, discusses the ways in which the firm is integrating ESG commitments into its business model. Read it here.