The venue – the Royal and Navy Club in Pall Mall – has been decked out in saltires as we and our Team Scotland partners try and commandeer this small part of London during the Olympic Games to welcome our international guests.
Like other events over the past few days, last night’s event was a celebration of all things Scottish but with a particular financial services flavour.
Our aim was to build on the important links that exist between Scotland and international financial services firms and we’ve been able to deepen our relationships with investors who already have operations in Scotland as well as start a dialogue with new companies who may be interested in investing in Scotland in the future.
The audience also got to hear about what Scotland has to offer the international financial services community.
The size and scale of our globally acclaimed community in Scotland and our strong heritage in financial services has ensured that the sector has successfully been able to weather the storm of the past few years.
Scotland is home to global and European headquarters of major banks (RBS, Clydesdale, Virgin Money and Tesco Bank) and life and pensions companies (Aegon UK, Scottish Widows and Standard Life). Edinburgh is also the fourth largest asset management centre in Europe.
They also heard from Roger Gifford, vice chairman of the Association of Foreign Banks in London and a respected figure in the City of London who talked about the importance of strengthening the relationships between Scotland and the City of London.
These links already exist with employees in both locations working alongside each other on a wide range of projects and corporate deals.
The decision to locate the headquarters of the Green Investment Bank in London with a transactions team in Edinburgh is another endorsement for how we can work together and will be a huge opportunity to strengthen the links that are already there.
Last night’s event was an important milestone in helping to do this and the interest we’ve had from international business leaders in coming to Scotland House (despite the significant competition from other countries hosting similar events) only goes to show that Scotland continues to be in high regard around the world.
Our focus over the next two weeks will be to promote Scottish industry to a worldwide audience and we’ll be welcoming more than 400 high level international business leaders to our range of industry focused events, which will include similar events for the creative industries, food and drink and advanced engineering sectors.
Of course, this is just one element of the wider Scotland House programme to showcase the very best of Scotland to a worldwide audience which will also see events run by VisitScotland, EventScotland, SportScotland and CreativeScotland.
This is unique partnership and if the success of the past few days at Scotland House is anything to go by then the next two weeks will be as successful for Team Scotland at the London 2012 Olympic Games as it will be for our Team GB athletes.