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Public-private plan aims to keep financial firms in Scotland

A joint industry-government strategy for financial services in Scotland has been launched aimed at strengthening the industry’s future in the region.

The strategy will look at enhancing financial education, building better labour market knowledge, boosting supply network capacity and enhancing transport links as a way of ensuring big financial services companies remain in Scotland.

The Scottish financial services industry employs more than 100,000 people, generates nearly 6 per cent of Scottish GDP and is the biggest UK financial centre outside London.

The strategy includes a new Financial Services Advisory Board made up of senior-level figures from Lloyds TSB Scotland, Noble Group, Aegon, Abbey, Morgan Stanley and Martin Currie. The FSAB will be chaired by Enterprise minister Jim Wallace and will also include members of Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and a Treasury observer.

One of the board’s roles will be to identify areas of regulation where it believes the interests of the financial services industry have not been adequately recognised. This will be passed on to the Scottish Executive’s improving regulation unit.

Aegon chief executive Otto Thoresen says: “We are all in the business of achieving financial growth so working in partnership with the Scottish Executive we should look to use that expertise to achieve further financial success for Scotland.”

Enterprise minister Jim Wallace says: “You can never sit still but must always be looking for new opportunities and responding to new competition and cost pressures.”

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