Finance in Edinburgh
With an estimated 100,000 direct posts and a similar number of indirect positions, the financial services sector is one of Scotland’s most significant employers. The sector generates some £8bn for the Scottish economy and accounts for more than eight per cent of Scottish onshore economic activity. Funds under management within Scotland stand at over £800bn and accounts for 24 per cent of all UK employment in life assurance, and 13 per cent of all banking employment.
Fund managers in Scotland benefit from having a mature market, with some of Scotland’s oldest banks dating back over 300 years. There is a respected workforce and foreign investors like the city due its proximity to London and expertise in niche markets.
Service Providers in Edinburgh
Some of the major asset management providers based in Edinburgh include Aberdeen Asset Management, Baillie Gifford, Kames Capital, Blackrock and Standard Life Investments. Within the asset servicing side are HSBC, Citi Group, BNY and State Street.
The MoneySuperMarket Quality of Life Index for 2015 highlighted the relatively low cost of living, low crime rates and low rents as being particularly attractive to residents
Aberdeen Asset Management continues to be a major player in Scotland. Following its acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) in April 2014 for £660m, AA is the second largest fund manager in Europe after Schröders, managing nearly £300bn in assets and revenue of £1,318.9m, as of 2015. Aberdeen Assets Edinburgh office “hosts global equity, structured products and multi-asset teams as well as investment trust secretarial, compliance, digital marketing and corporate governance teams.”
As well as some of the major players in banking like RBS, Edinburgh is also home to many of the UK’s challenger banks. Born from big banks they have helped to stimulate the market following the financial crisis of the last decade. Giving consumers more choice through deregulation has further helped the sector return to growth. Some of those currently residing in Edinburgh include Tesco bank (at Haymarket), Virgin Money (Castle Street) and Sainsbury’s Bank (the Gyle).
Available Roles in Edinburgh
With growth being experienced by these firms, particularly SLI and AA, there continues to be a rise in the number of operational roles in Edinburgh including risk managers and fund accountants, and an increase in middle and back office roles. We expect that for the foreseeable future we’ll continue to see a rise in the number of these types of positions being offered.
The burgeoning financial services sector is having wide reaching implications. The number of positions being offered compared to the number of available candidates means that from an investment management and asset servicing angle the jobs market remains competitive. This combined with the very high quality of life on offer means candidates from the south of England are considering Edinburgh as a viable option.
Due to the ongoing focus on regulation, there remains a strong need for risk and compliance professionals within Edinburgh based firms. We are seeing an upward shift in roles within an operational capacity being moved from London to Edinburgh as businesses look to cost save, and this is continuing to stimulate demand for candidates. While good for Scotland, and great for those that can do these jobs, this rise in the number of roles continues to challenge the market.
Life in Edinburgh
The quality of life aspect cannot be ignored for those who have, or are considering moving to the Scottish Capital. In the MoneySuperMarket Quality of Life Index for 2015 Edinburgh came out on top of the biggest 12 cities in the UK. The subsequent report highlighted the relatively low cost of living, low crime rates and low rents as being particularly attractive to residents. In a 2015 report for uSwitch, Edinburgh further jumped 97 places to no.1 in their Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
There continues to be a rise in the number of operational roles in Edinburgh including risk managers and fund accountants, and an increase in middle and back office roles
The city is well known for its stunning green space, architecture and culture. What has been recently highlighted as being important for those moving to the city along with the quality of life, and relatively low living costs is its relatively compact size. Home to under half a million people, 16% of its residents commute to work by foot, the highest figure in the UK. Clearly for those deciding to make the move, leaving the car at home and missing the underground is a valuable proposition.
For those working within the Financial Services sector, Edinburgh clearly presents itself as a fantastic place both to do business and to live and work. Its prominence within the fund management market, allied to its high wage and low living cost economy mean that it will continue to be one of the major capital markets of the UK for the long term.
Steven Fairlie is Managing Consultant of Investments & Asset Servicing
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