November 11, 2010

One thing is evident upon touring Scotland's financial services and business process outsourcing industry: the country is enthusiastic to discuss its potential as a hub for business operations servicing Europe and beyond.

Why, when there are lower-cost alternatives, do Scottish officials believe the country is a desirable location for financial services operations in Europe? Simply, Scotland's track record in banking and finance paired with its access to an educated workforce, ability to communicate in nuanced English and its proximity to London and the rest of Europe are what government officials and business leaders see as a prime combination for both U.S. and European financial institutions that wish to extend contact center and strategic business capabilities.

Upon visiting a number of financial, outsourcing and government operations this week, it's obvious that Glasgow is examining the role of its workforce in an economy that is no longer reliant on industry, while Edinburgh is emphasizing its rich history in banking and financial services. While most Scottish executives will acknowledge the country is not the cheapest place to outsource, they believe the talent within the workplace is enough to persuade some businesses to choose their country over outsourcing destinations in Eastern Europe, India and Southeast Asia.

I'll report more in-depth on Scotland's financial services and business process outsourcing industry upon returning to New York. But on first impression it's easy to see Scotland's strong desire to compete for business while growing its stature within the industry.