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Opportunity knocks: consumer & technology trends

Kate Forbes MSP, Public Finance Minister and Digital Economy, spoke at our second Future Leaders event, ‘Opportunity knocks: consumer & technology trends' workshop.

Insurance is often thought of as a ‘traditional’ part of the financial sector, providing people with practical help and peace of mind and enabling businesses to grow.

The insurance sector is at the forefront of innovation, harnessing technology to deliver new products and services, while the sector provides stability in an increasingly uncertain world.

As we deal with societal issues such as the impact of climate change, or the needs of an ageing population, insurers are well placed to offer advice based on extensive historical data. 

The insurance sector offers protection against new and emerging risks – including the increasing threat of cyber-crime or the opportunities offered by development of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Scotland’s strengths

In the last five years, Scotland has consistently outperformed every part of the UK outside of London when it comes to attracting inward investment. 

We have a highly skilled workforce, a world leading higher education sector, a great quality of life and an attractive cost base compared to other financial centres.   

Availability of skills and a supportive investment environment will be essential in ensuring that the sector is able to capitalise on future opportunities.   Particularly in the innovation–led fields of Data Driven Innovation - ‘big data’ - and Fintech. 

In addition to our strength in financial services, Scotland also has a world-renowned reputation in fields such as data analysis and infomatics.   Therefore it is not surprising that we are rapidly becoming an important base for fintech and insuretech start-ups.


The rapid pace of change in the world of technology is transforming the way in which financial services companies operate and the way in which customers access services. 

Such changes present opportunities right across the financial services landscape. From the large firms who will derive great benefit from the innovative use of the wealth of data built up by the industry, to the new innovative companies developing the ideas and technology such advances will rely on. 

The ABI has been working closely with Edinburgh- based company Origo to develop a pensions dashboard. The dashboard project is one example of how new technology can be harnessed to provide significant benefits to customers and provide new opportunities for companies operating in the sector. 

Gender Balance

As Scotland’s financial sector grows and changes there will be a continued need for talented leaders able to take advantage of those opportunities.  It’s encouraging to speak to a room of future business leaders and see a strong gender balance.

I support ABI’s call for more female leaders in the financial services industry and acknowledge the work being done across the sector to support diverse workforces that reflect our society. 

The businesses represented at the Future Leaders Event make a huge contribution to companies and communities across Scotland. With centres of excellence in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, the continued health and success of the Scottish insurance sector is important.

The Scottish Government will continue to work with the industry to ensure the sector continues to grow and flourish. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.


Find out more about the ABI's Future Leaders programme here.

Last updated 16/04/2019