Scotland business

Lord Mayor of the City of London backs Scots growth

Buchanan Wharf development Image copyright Barclays
Image caption Plans by Barclays Bank to open a new operation in Glasgow is a sign of Scotland's expanding financial services industry

The person in charge of promoting the UK's financial industry around the world has said there is great potential for Scottish firms to expand abroad.

Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, also said industry's move to operating outside the EU would be "relatively smooth".

An estimated 161,000 people work in financial services in Scotland.

Mr Estlin said he wanted Scots firms looking to expand to join him on foreign trips to places like China.

The recent announcement by Barclays Bank that it would open a big operation in Glasgow is one of several signs of growth in Scotland's financial sector.

And a 2018 industry report revealed Scotland outpaced London in terms of jobs growth in financial services.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Estlin said London is "a crowded place"

Mr Estlin said Scotland had a growing reputation for innovation, particularly the way universities help promote and start businesses in growing areas like the financial technology - or FinTech- sector.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "London is already quite a crowded place, and one of the things we're keen to do is ensure that we've got as much investment coming into Scotland and other cities round the UK."

The Lord Mayor, who has been travelling abroad to promote the UK industry, said companies like Edinburgh-based investment firm Baillie Gifford were looking to expand in China.

"It may be that we can help," he said, adding: "It can be better if you've got the businesses with you.

"I can talk well but I'm not sure I can talk as well as they can in terms of their own businesses."

Mr Estlin added that The City of London was "largely not" worried about Brexit, due to happen on 29 March.

He said: "We have had turbulence in the sense that businesses have by and large prepared for the worst-case scenario - a no-deal.

"But in the meantime, the city's seeking to promote 'we want a deal' because we believe that's the best outcome."

The Lord Mayor - who is the elected head of the City of London Corporation - said of Brexit : "From the financial services perspective it'll be a relatively smooth transition.

"That's partly because what's fuelling the economy underneath is this innovation into FinTech, cyber and these creative industries that is growing jobs and opportunities."

Follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's business updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.

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