SFE Member Update

It is now over six months since I became Chief Executive of SFE and I thought it might be timely to give members an update on our direction of travel. It has been a busy six months and I am delighted to have met with representatives from the majority of member companies to hear their views and discuss my plans for SFE.

Many of you will have heard from me directly, or will already be involved in one of the three new initiatives we are taking forward.  For those of you who haven’t, here is a quick summary of where we are going, what’s underway and how to get involved.

SFE is working towards a common vision for the industry’s role in Scotland’s wider society; which will help to create a strong relationship, between its financial services industry, government and its agencies and society at large. 

Building on our 30 years of representing financial services and our influential position in Scotland, we have begun a dialogue with members and wider stakeholders to carve out a shared strategic direction. 

In recognition of the increasingly fast paced nature of change in the industry and the landscape in which it is operating, in Scotland, the UK and internationally, our new narrative will focus on how the industry serves its customers and will position SFE as a thought leader for the industry. 

Central to this strategy going forward, SFE has embarked on three new initiatives:

Fintech Strategy Group

The speed of development in Fintech is breath-taking, it presents limitless opportunities, but if we don’t stay ahead of the game, it can also produce threats.  There is a lot of innovation going on in Fintech internationally and Scotland is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities it brings, it has:

  • a long history of championing innovation;
  • the very best academic institutions, producing graduates with the right skills who are leading the way in these technologies;
  • an established and highly diverse financial services centre.

The SFE Fintech strategy group met for the first time on 6 May, chaired by Louise Smith of RBS. It includes over 30 of the brightest and the best in the field in Scotland, from across all sectors of FS, plus representatives from Government and higher education. They will develop a five year strategy for success in Fintech, which will include:

  • a forward looking radar to scan for global developments and innovation;
  • employment and skills forecasts to identify where we can grow and where we need to;
  • Industry and Government initiatives to help drive the transition;
  • Articulation of the conditions needed, for Scotland to become a world class FinTech hub.

High Level Strategy Group

Chaired by Philip Grant of Lloyds Banking Group, this will include senior figures from the industry and will focus on the need to provide an overarching vision for the industry in Scotland.  It will aim to provide sector level thought leadership; aid manpower planning, articulate in some detail, the conditions that need to be in place to ensure a healthy and growing FS sector in Scotland. The HLSG will also identify the global threats and opportunities for the industry and articulate a collective view of what a financial system can and should provide to society.  One of its first priorities will be to examine the implications of Brexit for the industry in Scotland.

SFE Young Professionals

This exciting development will bring together young professionals new to the industry who will be its future leaders and decision makers.  It will provide opportunities to learn, exchange ideas and network, but will also function as a valuable sounding board for SFE and its members and provide insights into the realities of those having just gone through the education system, their experience of entering the job market and joining financial services. Their first event will be held on Thursday 15September at Standard Life.

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these exciting new ventures, please contact me at gjones@sfe.org.uk  or Lesley Downie at ldownie@sfe.org.uk


Graeme Jones

Chief Executive