The ability of Scotland to recover from the global economic crisis and to re-affirm its position as a leading centre of banking and financial expertise will be discussed by influential industry figures, policy makers and politicians when they gather for a seminar at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.
Organised by Scotland’s Futures Forum and the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, the Future of Scotland’s Banking, Building Society and Financial Services Sector event will hear from those at the heart of the industry about how the banking and financial services sectors should be reformed and regulated.
It will also discuss how to improve competition in the market and encourage banks and others to lend to businesses and others in Scotland.
The seminar will discuss and expand on the recommendations of the EET report on the way forward for the banking and financial services sector. Former group managing director at Schroders, author and government advisor Philip Augar will set out for delegates the key findings of the committee report and the way forward.
Other speakers include Scottish Financial Enterprise’s Chairman Mark Tennant and Ben Thomson, Chairman of Reform Scotland and Non-executive Chairman of Noble Group, who will focus on the issue of the separating retail banking from the riskier investment banking.
EET Committee Convener Iain Smith MSP said: “I’m delighted to be sponsoring this seminar along with Scottish Futures Forum, which will allow the committee’s report to be discussed prior to the debate being held in the Parliament the same afternoon.
"Only in recent weeks have we seen further developments in relation to the sale of parts of RBS and Lloyds Banking Group, the reform proposals being brought forward by the new UK coalition government and the European Commission’s proposed new banking levy.
“It is vital that the Scottish Parliament clearly articulates a view on all of these matters if we are to reform the way our banking sector works in Scotland and to continue to build on the successes we have in our financial services industry.”
Mr Augar said: “The turmoil in the global financial markets of recent months has dramatically altered the landscape of the banking and financial services industry in Scotland and the UK as a whole.
“The inquiry by the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee highlighted the urgent need for a new way of thinking and a new approach.
"This includes a need for greater diversity and more competition to, among other things, stimulate the market and improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises.
“It is crucial that banks also strengthen their corporate governance and that this is part of a wider tightening up on regulation across the financial sector as a whole. This will assist in avoiding a repeat of the financial crisis and ensure Scotland is in a solid position to grow its economy.”
A spokesman for Scotland’s Futures Forum said: “The recent financial crisis demonstrates that no-one can predict exactly what the future will hold. The event today brings together MSPs and financiers for an important debate on banking reform and to consider aspirations for a more sustainable financial services future.”
Scotland's Futures Forum was created by the Scottish Parliament to help its Members, policy makers, businesses, academics, and the wider community of Scotland, look beyond immediate horizons, to some of the challenges and opportunities of the future. The forum seeks to stimulate public debate in Scotland, bringing fresh perspectives, ideas and creativity on how we might prepare for the future now.
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