Some kind of fallout from Brexit seems inevitable for London’s huge financial sector no matter what deal Theresa attempts to protect it. The EU is not in a mood to be kind and there will be losses. You might expect Edinburgh, the second biggest financial centre in the UK to suffer equally but there are crucial differences which will play in its favour.
First, Edinburgh is supremely well-positioned to take advantage of the move to technology- based finance or ‘fintech’. See this from Insider:
‘Edinburgh is in a unique position to ensure a vibrant and successful fintech sector, combining its position as the second largest financial centre in the UK with the benefit of a regular supply of 1,200 highly skilled computing and software graduates from its universities each year…..Whatever form Brexit may take, the UK will, by necessity, continue to be bound by the new rules on data protection set out in the GDPR, and so Edinburgh and the rest of the UK will still be seen as a safe haven for data processing, ensuring any outsourced fintech services can continue to be provided.’
Also, Edinburgh University has the biggest Computer Science department in the UK and the UK’s largest ‘start-up incubator, Codebase, host to 80 new companies. It was this environment which allowed the creation of the flight comparison website, Skyscanner, sold to the Chinese recently for £1.8 billion.
Second, Edinburgh has the advantage over London of a lower-cost of living at the same time as a higher quality of life.
Put these together and the prospects for fintech in Scotland are bright.