Recommendations published for Scottish National Investment Bank

Benny Higgins

Details of the implementation plan for a publicly-owned Scottish National Investment Bank have been published today.

Developed by Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, alongside investment professionals, academics, the Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Enterprise and senior Scottish Government officials, the plan has recommendations covering the remit, governance, operating model and financing of the new bank.

The plan recommends that the bank should:

  • Be publicly-owned and mission-driven, focused on supporting Scotland’s economic priorities and promoting inclusive growth
  • Operate in an ethical and transparent way
  • Cowork to crowd in, not crowd out, private sector investment
  • Be supported by long-term capitalisation of at least £2 billion over the first ten years
  • Become self-sustaining in the longer term, raising its own capital to fund investments
  • Provide long-term, patient finance for both smaller firms and larger projects
  • Create opportunities and new markets for the private sector to invest in

Welcoming the report, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who first announced the plans in September, said: “To realise our ambitions for Scotland’s economy, innovative companies need access to strategic, patient finance to grow and thrive, while the business environment must encourage our young people to be the entrepreneurs of the future. That is why I committed to a publicly-owned national investment bank, which will act as a cornerstone for the economy.

“I thank Benny Higgins and the advisory group for their work to bring this aspiration a step closer. The Scottish Government will carefully consider his recommendations, as we move forward with the creation of the Scottish National Investment Bank.”

Benny Higgins said: “There is an incontrovertible case for creating the Scottish National Investment Bank. The economic and social wellbeing of our country will be enhanced by an institution that complements private sector investment, with a clear focussing on SMEs and projects that require strategic patient capital.

“We have undertaken rigorous analysis through this process and engaged an extensive and broad group of individuals and bodies in both the public and private sectors. There is a strong consensus that there is an immediate and pressing need for the creation of the bank.”

The recommendations will be considered by Scottish Ministers, before a formal response in the Spring.

Scottish Renewables welcomed “positive” comments made by Benny Higgins today as he described renewable energy as a sector “in the crosshairs of what is intended for the Scottish National Investment Bank”.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland leads the world in the development of devices which can capture energy from waves and tides – but these are sectors which are at a difficult stage of their development.

“We welcome comments made by today the First Minister that the new Scottish National Investment Bank will focus on delivering ‘patient long-term strategic investment’ to cater for ‘sectors that the market currently doesn’t’.

“Wave and tidal technologies offer particular characteristics that are helpful in supporting our move towards a new, less centralised energy system and, as we’ve seen in the economic cases behind our island wind projects, can offer wider benefits to smaller, more fragile economies.

“With the right investment, our wave and tidal energy sectors can continue on the path towards full commercialisation, giving Scotland a huge first-mover advantage in an energy sector with enormous global potential.”

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