EY survey

Scotland retains top spot for financial services FDI

Atria One Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the top attraction outside London

Scotland continues to attract the highest number of financial services projects from overseas investors outside of London, according to new data.

Of nine recorded in Scotland in 2023, five were in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow, with Motherwell and Dufftown each securing one project. 

Edinburgh, with nine projects, is again the top UK city outside London for foreign direct investment into financial services and is also in the European top ten in ninth place in the list compiled by EY.

London has retained its position as the leading European city for a tenth year, attracting 81 projects, up from 46 in 2022.

Ahead of the full Scotland FDI Attractiveness report – to be published on 19 June – investor sentiment finds that 26% of financial services investors looking to establish or expand operations in the UK over the next year would look to Scotland – up from 14% in 2023, and 12% in 2022.

London remains the top destination for those looking to establish or expand operations in the UK (37%), followed by Edinburgh (25%).

Sue Dawe, EY Scotland managing partner for financial services, said: “These results underscore the enduring strength and confidence that investors continue to place in our financial sector: where traditional institutions and emerging fintech disruptors contribute to a vibrant, dynamic and forward-looking financial ecosystem.

Sue Dawe
Sue Dawe: strength and confidence

“Financial services continues to be a pillar of the Scottish and UK economy – and is only increasing its position as pivotal player on the international stage. Industry, government and education sectors need to continue collaborating to produce and retain world-class talent if we’re to harness cutting-edge technological advancements which create a competitive environment for further investment and growth.”

Scottish Financial Enterprise chief executive Sandy Begbie, said: “We believe there is even greater potential waiting to be unleashed. Our sector’s ambitious growth strategy aims to add an additional £4-7bn to the Scottish economy over the next five years.

“These results also show that we are operating in an increasingly competitive marketplace and there is no room for complacency.

“It’s vital that industry and government work closely and constructively to further build upon our long-standing reputation as a good place to do business, attract further inward investment and create new high value jobs that benefit everyone in Scotland.”

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