Project Heather has received a £750,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise to support the investment in additional talent to support the creation of a Scottish stock exchange fit for the 21st century.
The grant provides for up to 45 high-skilled jobs in Edinburgh, where the exchange will be headquartered, as well as Glasgow and Aberdeen, which will host representative offices. In 2019 Edinburgh is already the fourth largest financial centre in Europe, and the establishment of a stock exchange will enhance career opportunities, while increasing the access to capital for sustainable companies to fund their growth strategies.
Project Heather will seek to bring impact investing, already well-established in the world of private equity, to public markets. By requiring all those who use the exchange to demonstrate how they intend to use the capital raised for a purposeful and positive impact on society or the environment, the stock exchange will help meet the increasing demand from investors for companies that meet their specific criteria – whether a focus on environmental, social and governance credentials, ethical or other compliance.
Inclusion will be at the heart of the new stock exchange and will be the thread running through hiring, development, reward and performance management practices. As hiring plans get underway for the roles Project Heather is seeking to fill, the team are looking to attract candidates from a diverse pool, with the intention of building a team which represents a cross section of society and provides opportunities for those groups who are under-represented.
CEO and founder Tomás Carruthers said: “We are delighted to receive Scottish Enterprise’s support for the creation of a stock exchange for the 21st century; one which serves society and can be trusted to serve all stakeholders.
“In addition to directly employing many highly-skilled people, a successful stock exchange in Scotland will foster greater prosperity and support the decentralisation of capital and wealth away from London and the South East.”
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Enhancing the Scottish funding landscape by the establishment of a Scottish Stock Exchange would no doubt add value and provide greater choice to Scottish companies seeking to grow and fulfil their ambitions. This would be a welcome addition to Scotland and to the businesses who would wish to use the stock exchange for investment.”
Project Heather is partnering with Euronext, Euro CCP and Euroclear to provide the market infrastructure for the proposed exchange, which, subject to regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, is targeting a launch in the second half of 2019.