Scottish History

Scotland has a distinguished history in financial services that dates back over 300 years and is one of Europe’s leading financial centres.

The strength of Scotland’s financial services industry lies in its diversity; it is a leading centre for pensions, investment, banking, credit unions, professional services and asset servicing.

The financial services industry in Scotland employs almost 100,000 people directly and around the same again indirectly. The sector generates around £8 billion for the Scottish economy which is more than 8% of Scottish onshore economic activity. Over £800 billion of funds are managed in Scotland which also accounts for 13% of all UK banking jobs. Edinburgh is the UK’s 2nd largest financial centre by both gross value added (£4.5bn in 2011) and employment (36,800 in 2014).

With a wide range of indigenous financial services companies, alongside a growing presence of large multinationals, Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, is the primary focus area for the EFH. It is anticipated that the EFH will expand to UK wide focus as well as leveraging international connections to explore participation / investment potential.

Did You Know…?

  • In Scotland three banks are permitted to issue banknotes – The Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland (part of Lloyds Banking Group) and Clydesdale Bank. This practice dates back as far as 1695.
  • Scotland is home to the oldest professional accounting body in the world. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) created in 1854.
  • In 1875 the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland was founded as a professional and educational body, making it the world’s oldest professional body for practising bankers.
  • The insurance sector dates back to the early 1700s when the increase in international trade led to a requirement for marine insurance for many Scottish export and import companies.
  • The Investment Trust movement grew up in the 1870s as a vehicle for world-wide collective investment and was pioneered by a Scotsman, Robert Fleming of Dundee.  The primary investors were the owners of the Dundee based jute industry who wanted to invest their profits.  Although Robert Fleming’s fame is somewhat overshadowed by his grandson Ian Fleming – the novelist and creator of James Bond.
  • Life Insurance was invented by two Scottish clergymen, Wallace and Webster, in 1748 with the Scottish Ministers Widows Fund.