EMPLOYERS in the financial services industry should pay the living wage as standard practice.

That’s the belief of Thorntons Investments which has 36 staff in total working from its Dundee and Edinburgh offices.

“Employers in the position to do it, should do it as it is the right thing to do,” said the firm’s HR manager Leigh Hudson.

“Being in the financial services industry means that we pay reasonable rates anyway but we need to be competitive and make sure we pay a fair rate for the job that people are doing. Most of our staff are skilled workers and it makes sense to pay the Living Wage. Employers in an industry like ours should do it as standard.”

The firm was awarded Scottish Living Wage Accreditation around 18 months ago and believes the recognition will help to attract staff.

“It is good for our reputation and we are proud to have the plaque on the wall,” said Hudson. “Clients who come into reception see it, which is good as our reputation as an employer is important. If we are going to recruit we can use that award and it contributes to the other policies we have in place to maintain a good working culture.”

As well as signing up for Living Wage accreditation, the firm has a commitment to wider society with the staff encouraged to volunteer for charity. A recent weekend, for example, was spent painting a building for a children’s charity.

“It was good for team building,” said Hudson. “We have a close-knit team with good leadership and everyone is treated fairly.”

The firm’s philosophy appears to be working as it has grown substantially over the last two years from 26 staff to its current 36 and looks after £400 million on behalf of its clients.

“We don’t lose many staff and we have a lot of staff development going on as well,” said Hudson.

“Lots of our staff are doing exams and studying so they can progress within the business. Reflecting that, we took on our first apprentice who is being paid the Living Wage so we are starting to prove we can invest in young people.

“Apprentices can be exempt from the Living Wage but we feel he is valuable to the business and want to reward him appropriately. We are looking at taking on graduates for first time as well.”

Formed in 1995 by Scottish law firm Thorntons Solicitors to offer tailored investment solutions to private clients, Thorntons Investments is a leading independent provider of wealth management services.

The financial services arm of the business was introduced in 1999 and in 2014 the investment business parted from the law firm to form a separate company.

As well as supporting charities, last year Thorntons Investments supported the Scottish Gaelic Awards which rewards work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage in Gaelic culture, education and language; Social Good HQ which supports charities and social enterprises and the Courier Business Awards which recognises progressive business and individuals from across Tayside, Fife, Perthshire and Angus.

The UK Living Wage for outside London is currently £8.75 per hour. It is significantly higher than the UK government’s “national Living Wage” rate of £7.50 which applies to over-25s only.

These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK.