Six of the Best

Six finalists are in the running to be crowned winners of the Scottish Financial Services Awards for 2016.

The awards, run by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) and sponsored by EY, recognise organisations for excellence in financial services in Scotland.  Nominees are judged on their contributions to Scotland's standing as a financial centre, their long term perspectives, the benefits they bring for customers and their innovation and imagination.

The overall winner will be announced at SFE's annual dinner on 27October in Glasgow.  Last year the Royal Bank of Scotland scooped the award for their work supporting entrepreneurs.   Previous recipients include; Tesco Bank, Standard Life Investments, business journalist Bill Jamieson and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The finalists for 2016 are:

CYBG:  for an outstanding year of achievement; launching successfully on the stock market and introducing their digital challenger bank B.

Zonefox:  for their unique security solution protecting sensitive financial data against insider threats.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia: for commitment to achieving greater gender balance in financial services and the publication of ‘Empowering Productivity:  Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services’.

Clark Thomson:    for bucking the trend towards centralisation, and achieving outstanding growth, by delivering a local and personalised customer experience through a Scotland-wide branch network and strong client relationships.

MBM Commercial: for, under the leadership of Sandy Finlayson, establishing themselves as the leading specialist law firm helping entrepreneurial businesses, particularly from the tech sector. 

Standard Life:   for removing barriers to employment and supporting young people to enter working life through valuable work placements, gaining experience while earning the Living Wage.

Graeme Jones, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise said:

“Cutting-edge technology, personalised customer service, supporting young people and entrepreneurs and promoting inclusivity; all feature strongly in our finalists, as they do in our industry. We are delighted to have the opportunity to recognise such inspiring talent in this year’s Scottish Financial Services Awards.  

“Our finalists this year could not be more different from one another, reflecting the increasingly diverse nature of the financial services industry in Scotland.  Once again the judges have been spoilt for choice during their deliberations and they have selected six outstanding finalists who encapsulate the wealth of talent we have in Scottish financial services.  

Sue Dawe, Head of Financial Services at EY in Scotland, said:

“The 2016 list of finalists exemplifies the rich variety of excellence at work within Scotland’s financial services sector. I am delighted that EY, Scotland’s largest accountancy firm by headcount with a dedicated financial services team, is sponsoring for a seventh year.

“Supporting the innovative evolution of products, services and approaches to financial services and nurturing the people who work in the sector is vital to the future success and continued global renown of our industry.”

Background Details – the Finalists


Clydesdale Bank was established in Glasgow in 1838 and Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax. Both brands are built on strong foundations, dedicated to serving the people, business and communities around them.  Following their demerger from NAB and successful stock market flotation in early 2016, CYBG has put in a strong performance placing the customer at the heart of the business going forward.  The launch of their digital banking service ‘B’, signals the importance of innovation in the company’s growth strategy.  B represents a challenge to other banks and is based around an app that has been extensively tested and trialled with customers.  It includes functions to give customers control over their money, such as setting up multiple savings pots, tagging and tracking specific elements of spending, to automatically sweep cash between current and savings accounts, and offset savings balances against a mortgage. B also “learns” as it is used, so the more it is used the more tailored the experience becomes.  Read more about CYBG    


Edinburgh-based ZoneFox has emerged in 2016 as a market leader in endpoint security, providing the 360 visibility around data flow that’s needed to protect business-critical data and Intellectual Property against the insider threat. 

Whether employees, third-party vendors or privileged users, ZoneFox monitors, records and analyses user behaviour around data, and then alerts on risky or anomalous activities in real-time so the necessary next steps can be taken - all without impacting on productivity or privacy. 

This Autumn sees ZoneFox releasing its much awaited ZoneFox Augmented Intelligence  (AI) feature -  a unique machine-learning capability that quickly builds up a profile of ‘normal’ user behaviour, then automatically detects and alerts when that behaviour changes.  Think visibility around employees who maybe planning to leave, as well as the potential to rapidly detect compromised user accounts being used to harvest valuable IP.

ZoneFox have a global customer base including Rockstar Games, Zenith Bank and Nucleus Financial and are active in the US. Read more about Zonefox


In 2015 Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money was invited by the UK Government to review the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the financial services industry.  The findings were published in her recent report; Empowering Productivity:  Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services.  The report identified that more women than men start out in Financial Services but, as they progress, the majority leave, especially at middle management level. This leaves almost all of the top jobs in the hands of men, with women making up only 14% of Executive Committees in 2015.  The Review recommended that financial services firms set internal targets for gender diversity, that they publish progress against those targets and ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to achieving them. A number of high profile firms have already signed the Women in Finance Charter, a commitment to build a more balanced and fair industry. Read more about Women in Finance.


Clark Thomson Insurance Brokers Ltd. is the largest independent insurance broker in Scotland with nine offices spanning the country. Specialising in both private and commercial insurance, their aim is to consistently provide every client with their optimum insurance solution, by identifying and assessing the risks that the client is exposed to and then matching that with the most appropriate insurance products, delivered alongside Clark Thomson’s commitment to client service excellence.

If there is a secret to its success, it is that Clark Thomson retains its long established strategy of dedicated and professional staff delivering a local and personalised customer experience from their regional offices, whilst embracing the challenge and opportunity that the present and future provides. Read more about Clark Thomson.


MBM Commercial is an award-winning commercial law firm that helps entrepreneurial businesses. Many of their clients are businesses based throughout the UK which are going through significant growth, either by investment, acquisition or by international expansion.  They also offer US law capability to assist clients who are doing deals in the US, expanding into US markets or transacting with US businesses.

MBM are committed to helping clients succeed and always aim to help make connections and add value wherever possible.  As part of their ‘high growth’ focus they have an unrivalled reputation for setting up and advising VC funds and business angel syndicates and acting for technology companies.  The work that they do, however, spans all sectors, representing many exciting businesses, ranging from small start-ups to large companies.  Read more about MBM Commercial


Being part of their local community and providing young people with opportunities to develop skills, build careers and plan confident futures is integral to the business of global investment company Standard Life.  Through initiatives such as Career Ready, the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme, Modern Apprenticeships, and the Investment 2020 Programme, young people have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience - ranging from four weeks to a year. All young employees are paid at least the Living Wage, allowing them to gain financial independence, as well as valuable experience of the workplace.  Placements are provided across the company in areas such as communications, internal audit, IT, customer operations and risk. Young people are supported by mentors throughout their placements and attend workshops to gain new skills such as presenting, facilitating meetings and managing their money.  The scheme started in Edinburgh and has since been extended to similar initiatives in London and other parts of the UK. 

Read more about Standard Life.


  1. The Scottish Financial Services Awards are run by Scottish Financial Enterprise, sponsored by EY and supported by The Scotsman.  The annual Awards are designed to recognise the very best in the industry across the board, based on their contribution to Scotland’s standing as a financial centre, their long-term perspective, the benefits they bring for customers, and their innovation and imagination.
  2. Last year the award went to The Royal Bank of Scotland for the creation of a network of start-up business accelerator hubs across the UK, giving new enterprises free access to a range of support and guidance, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark.
  3. This year’s six finalists have been selected by a panel of industry leaders including SFE board members and independent judges. From this shortlist of six, one will be named the winner of the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2016.
  4. Scottish Financial Enterprise is the representative body for Scotland's financial services industry, with members ranging from global companies headquartered in Scotland to small, locally-based support businesses. 
  5. Contact:  Elaine Ravenscroft at SFE on 0131 247 7700