What will make this year's Scottish Financial Services Awards a special occasion?

Sandy Macdonald is Director of Public Policy & Communications at Scottish Financial Enterprise.


On 28 October, we’ll once again be celebrating the best and brightest of Scotland’s world class financial services industry at the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2021, with the generous sponsorship of EY.

When the event was last held in 2019, FNZ won the impact and investment award demonstrating not only a significant contribution to developing the wider technical ecosystem in Scotland, but also a demonstrable commitment to inclusion, skills and social impact that exemplified the best of our sector and the difference it can make.

There were already challenges facing our sector in 2019, from the need to improve our record on financial and social inclusion, to the impacts and forecasts on climate and biodiversity collapse. Add to that the Covid-19 pandemic, and organisations in our sector have had to call on all their resilience, innovation, and collaboration. Many of the 160,000 people working in our sector, and their families, have their own personal stories of personal difficulties and tragedies they’ve had to endure and overcome.

Amid all this, organisations and individuals have sought to turn crisis into opportunity where they can – with a clear focus on doing the right thing and using talent, assets and focus to maximise our wider positive impact and support customers, local communities, the economy and society. Having not been able to recognise and celebrate these stories in 2020, it’s vital we take the opportunity to ensure companies and colleagues are recognised for their efforts and achievements this year. Our awards are designed to enable that, and also to reflect the aims of our strategy and the cultural traits important to the health of our sector.

There are four categories this year, two organisational and two individual. The first award open to teams and organisations is the Positive Impact award. This is the category we hope will showcase amazing work done to support colleagues, communities and society over the past two years. Next is the brighter future award, which will identify the innovations and initiatives that are aiming to ensure the future is fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable.

Moving to the individual awards, over the past couple of years I’ve heard countless inspiring examples of people working in the sector who are truly going above and beyond. There are two categories, Rising Star and Unsung Hero. In 2019, our Rising Star winner, Mikaela Thompson from Morgan Stanley demonstrated not only her own talents and capabilities from her apprenticeship, but also a focus on her wider impact through mentoring and engaging in issues that mattered to her like attracting more women into STEM. I’ve been privileged to work in the early careers field in our industry and I know we have so many talented young people blazing a trail, who inspire me and others. Let’s make sure their amazing contribution to our culture and future success is recognised this year.

Finally, a new award this year is the Unsung Hero. Having worked in the industry for nearly 25 years, I know how many people we have quietly doing spectacular work to keep our offices running, train and mentor the next generation, volunteer with charities, and more. We’re not always good at presenting this more diverse picture of our industry and what goes on within it across so many different roles. I’m really excited to see what comes through in this category, and make sure that we can showcase some amazing people don’t always receive the profile and recognition they should.

We’ll be communicating more information about the awards event itself soon. In the meantime, the success of the awards depends on you. To make sure the amazing people and teams you know get the recognition they deserve, and that we really can promote the best of our industry and what it stands for – you need to nominate! It’s genuinely simple to do – you can find more information here.