Business base

Financial services, including banking, life assurance and pensions, investment management and asset servicing along with general insurance, corporate finance and brokerage services make up the bulk of Glasgow’s strong business and financial services business base. There is also significant growth in business process outsourcing (BPO), shared service centres and professional-service-oriented call centres. There are 3,355 registered enterprises in Glasgow (Scottish Government, Growth Sectors Database, 2016). These enterprises have a turnover of £2.1 billion and a GVA of £1.5 billion (excludes financial and insurance enterprises).


The Bank of Scotland opened in 1685 and the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1727 – evidence of Scotland’s long history in banking. Glasgow’s first bank was established in 1750. At present, Glasgow is home to major banks including the Clydesdale Bank’s European HQ, Tesco Bank, Handelsbanken and Santander.

Insurance and pensions

The insurance and pensions sector, like banking, also has a long history in Scotland.

Scottish Widows set up its first agency in Glasgow in 1819 and is still in operation today. Glasgow is home to many major insurance companies, such as Esure, AXA, AON, Ace Insurance and Aviva. Aviva also has one of its centres of excellence a few miles from Glasgow city centre. The insurance industry in Scotland accounts for nearly 25% of the UK’s large insurance-industry workforce.

Investment management

The investment management sector includes a broad mix of large institutional and smaller employee-owned businesses that deliver various investment services to institutional and personal clients globally. In Glasgow, Morgan Stanley is the main investment bank. Barclays Wealth deliver wealth management services, while Maven Capital Partners and Ignis Asset Management administer a range of global investment services.

Asset servicing

Scotland is a major European centre for asset management and servicing, both for the domestic UK market and for global clients. Companies operating in Glasgow include BNP Paribas Securities Services, Morgan Stanley and Santander Asset Management.


There is an increasing amount of crossover between the business services and technology. Glasgow is leading the charge for FinTech with a wealth of talent and a passion for innovation. Glasgow is home to JP Morgan’s European software development centre, Dell’s technology support centre, Morgan Stanley Institutional Securities and Barclays Wealth Management.

Recent investors Encompass and Cloudwick represent a new wave of FinTech companies choosing to expand in Glasgow.

Business services & legal process outsourcing

Glasgow is home to a variety of business support services, including firms specialising in HR, IT, business consultancy, legal, risk management. BDO Stoy Hayward, Macroberts, Pwc and KPMG all operate in Glasgow along with accounting firms like Ernst & Young and Biggart Baillie.

Legal process outsourcing is a new and growing area for Glasgow; New Galexy and Ashurst have both recently located to the IFSD, which should build a foundation for firms providing similar services to fill the competitive gap.

Shared services and outsourcing

Shared service centres, outsourcing and call centres are a growing sector: more than 90,000 people work in Scotland’s 400 contact centres. Likewise, Shell Business Service Centre Glasgow was the first in their chain of six service centres providing a wide range of finance, accounting and other business or customer services to Shell operating companies globally. Similar shared service centres are finding Glasgow an ideal location for varied service industry activities.

These subsectors are expanding to offer more niche sub-subsectors, which may include carbon markets, Islamic finance and a broad range of ICT-related payment and banking technologies, such as electronic payments, e-commerce, trading, security and cloud computing.

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