In a welcoming statement the then Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, highlighted that “real synergies exist between Islamic and ethical finance”. Following strong positive feedback from the conference participants the UKIFC agreed to initiate a series of high level Edinburgh Ethical Finance Round Table (EFRT) meetings.
Led by industry practitioners the EFRT events bring together senior stakeholders from:
- Financial services (banking, investment management, credit unions, advisory firms, IFAs etc)
- Monetary reformists
- Government (Finance Ministers, regulators)
- Local council authorities
- Faith groups
- Professional institutes
- Professional services (law firms, accountants, consultants, insolvency practitioners etc)
- Third sector
In so doing the events offer a unique platform for networking, knowledge sharing and exploring ideas aimed at promoting a fairer and more socially responsible finance system.
The EFRT events have attracted over 300 people representing around 90 organisations with speakers coming to Edinburgh from as far as Luxembourg, Germany and the USA.
A feature of the EFRT has been the ability to bring representatives from different sectors together to share ideas and discuss wide ranging aspects of social, environmental and ethical finance. It is within this forum the Ethical Finance Hub (“EFH”) concept emerged. Participants recognised the benefits in creating links between stakeholders to help innovate and grow the market for ethical finance.
After developing an outline proposition the EFH concept was presented to the Scottish Government in April 2014. With strong industry support the Scottish Government welcomed the formation of a steering group which produced the outline business plan that secured the initial seed funding for the EFH. In October 2015 Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP announced that:
“I’m pleased to say the Scottish Government is supporting this project which will allow Scotland to capitalise on the increased global profile of ethical finance and progress towards becoming a worldwide industry leader in the field.”
John Swinney MSP