Scotland's financial services exports equivalent to half of those of whole of France

Scotland continued to punch above its weight last year in the global financial services arena, accounting for £9.2 billion of exports, equivalent to about 50 per cent of those of the whole of France.

TheCityUK report showed that some 37 per cent of Scottish financial services exports went to the EU and the remaining 63 per cent went to the rest of the world. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
TheCityUK report showed that some 37 per cent of Scottish financial services exports went to the EU and the remaining 63 per cent went to the rest of the world. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Financial services exports from Scotland accounted for 8.2 per cent of Britain’s total financial services exports last year, according to a new report from TheCityUK.

The £9.2bn worth of exports relates to financial and related professional services and the total was up 7.7 per cent from 2018.

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Some 37 per cent of Scottish financial services exports went to the EU and the remaining 63 per cent went to the rest of the world.

Sandy Begbie, chief executive of industry body Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “It is positive to see Scotland’s financial and professional services exports increasing for the fifth consecutive year, to £9.2bn, illustrating our significant contribution to the UK’s position as the world’s leading exporter of these services.

“This report also reinforces Scotland’s standing as a leading European financial centre in our own right with our industry’s exports equivalent to around 50 per cent of those from the whole of France.

“Drilling down further to a Scotland level, the figures show financial and professional services account for 40 per cent of all Scottish services exports with much of our industry’s exports attributed to our first-class asset management sector.”

He added: “While the lasting economic and societal impact of Covid-19 isn’t yet fully understood, we know from these new figures and others that our industry was in a strong position going into the pandemic to support customers, colleagues and communities through these difficult times and beyond.”

All regions and nations in Britain saw growth in financial and related professional services exports in 2019, the study showed, with the industry’s exports rising overall by 8.2 per cent year-on-year, contributing a total of £126.5bn to the UK economy.

Almost half (48 per cent) of all financial and related professional services exports were generated outside of London last year.

The report revealed that Yorkshire and the Humber experienced the strongest annual average growth of financial and related professional services exports over the period 2014-18, at 17 per cent. This was followed by the East Midlands (15 per cent), London (9 per cent), the north east of England and Scotland (8 per cent each).

Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist and head of research, TheCityUK, said: “This report dispels the common misconception that London sells financial and related professional services overseas and the rest of the UK focuses on domestic activity.

“The British financial services sector made a £56bn trade surplus in 2018 and almost half of this was accounted for by regions and nations outside the capital.

“Industry exports are likely to contract in 2020 as Covid-19 wreaks havoc on global and UK economies. However, the disruption caused by the pandemic does not alter the fact that regions and nations outside London – especially the south east, Scotland, north west, and Yorkshire and the Humber – make large contributions to the UK’s position as the world’s leading financial and related professional services net exporter.”

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