EDINBURGH is the second-best city in the UK at attracting foreign financial services investment, an industry survey has shown.  

The EY Scotland attractiveness survey for financial services has reported nine financial services (FDI) projects were won by Scotland in 2023, up by one from last year, making it the most attractive area for FDI projects in the UK outside London. 

Five of the nine projects won were based in Edinburgh, with two in Glasgow, one in Motherwell, and one in Dufftown.

The survey from the accountancy firm also noted that financial services investors looking to expand their operations in the UK have increased, with 26% looking at Scotland as an option, which is up from 14% last year.

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Sue Dawe, EY Scotland managing partner for financial services, hailed the survey for highlighting the confidence investors are continuing to have in Scotland.

She said: “Scotland's financial services sector is a great example of resilience and innovation. EY’s latest report shows the sector continues to attract much enthusiasm amongst investors and confirms Scotland’s position as a premier investment destination.

“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.

“Financial services continues to be a pillar of the Scottish and UK economy – and is only increasing its position as [a] 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.”

The survey also suggested that the five UK financial services FDI projects helped create more than 150 jobs in 2023, two of those five projects were established in Glasgow.

London remained the leading European city for FDI in 2023, a title it has secured for the last 10 years, as it attracted 81 projects in total. Edinburgh also made it into the European top 10 in ninth place.

Scottish Financial Enterprise chief executive, Sandy Begbie, praised Scotland’s attractiveness for  foreign investors but stated there is still room for more potential investment.

He said: “EY’s latest attractiveness survey demonstrates the continued strength and attractiveness of Scotland’s world-class financial services industry, based on the depth, breadth and maturity of our ecosystem, the quality of our universities and skills pipeline, and the leadership we are showing in priority areas like data, AI (artificial intelligence) and green finance.

“We believe there is even greater potential waiting to be unleashed. “Our sector’s ambitious growth strategy aims to add an additional £4 billion to £7 billion to the Scottish economy over the next five years.

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“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 longstanding reputation as a good place to do business, attract further inward investment and create new high-value jobs that benefit everyone in Scotland.”