Edinburgh Leads Financial Services Investment Outside London

Edinburgh, Scotland continues to attract the highest number of UK financial services foreign direct investment (FDI) projects outside London, according to the latest EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey for Financial Services. In 2023, Scotland secured nine projects, up from eight in 2022. Edinburgh led with five projects, followed by Glasgow with two, and one each in Motherwell and Dufftown.

Edinburgh has reaffirmed its position as the top UK city outside London for securing financial services FDI projects. Of the five UK financial services FDI projects that created more than 150 jobs in 2023, two were located in Glasgow. London remains the leading European city for FDI, a position it has held for the last ten years, attracting 81 projects in 2023, with Edinburgh also ranking in the European top ten at ninth place.

London remains the leading UK destination for attracting financial services FDI, securing 81 projects in 2023, up from 46 in 2022, with Scotland in second place, securing nine projects last year, up from eight in 2022. The North-East and North-West of England, which jointly secured four projects in 2023, rank third, and the West Midlands, which secured three projects, is fourth.

Investor sentiment finds that 26% of financial services investors looking to establish or expand operations in the UK over the next year would look to Scotland, up from 14% in 2023 and 12% in 2022. London remains the top destination for those looking to establish or expand operations in the UK (37%, down from 41% in 2023 and 56% in 2022). Wales is in third place at 23%, more than tripling from 7% in both 2023 and 2022. Edinburgh (25%) is the top city outside of London (37%) for investors looking to establish or expand operations in the UK, followed by Cardiff (21%).

Sue Dawe, EY Scotland managing partner for financial services, 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 shows 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.”

Scottish Financial Enterprise Chief Executive, Sandy Begbie CBE FRSE, 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, and green finance. Our sector’s ambitious growth strategy aims to add an additional £4-7 billion to the Scottish economy over the next five years. It’s vital that industry and government work closely and constructively to further build upon our long-standing reputation as a good place to do business, attract further inward investment, and create new high-value jobs that benefit everyone in Scotland.”