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Our History

Phase 1 & 2: 

A Response to the Financial Crisis
The SFRA was initiated by Prof. Alexander McNeil as the first academic director. This took palce after the financial crisis of 2007-08 served to illustrate the vulnerability of the Scottish financial services sector to financial risk. The increasing sophistication of financial instruments, the increasing complexity of financial risks and the increasing importance of financial regulation make it essential for Scotland to promote knowledge-exchange activities that focus on the quantitative side of financial risk with its foundations in mathematical modelling. The current and future competitive advantage of Scottish companies is critically dependent on having access to a highly technically-skilled and knowledgeable labour force, and the involvement of the academic sector is crucial to guaranteeing this.

Knowledge Exchange: Demand-Led Initiative
A process of consultation with industry established that there was demand in particular for activities that: (1) provide advanced technical training opportunities for employees and clients; (2) give access to the most able and best-trained students; (3) allow rapid evaluation of the latest research coming from Academia; (4) foster interaction on a more regular basis with academic experts, both Scottish-based and international; (5) stimulate interaction between industry peers on matters of common interest such as financial services regulation.

Phase 3:

In 2018 the SFRA went through a reformation under the guidance of the incoming academic director Prof. Gareth W. Peters who had just joined Heriot-Watt and was responsible, as the academic director, for reforming the SFRA after a hiatus of around 2 years. This involved bringing onboard many new partners and members, restarting the industry engagement and getting projects and working parties actioned. A rigorous procedure for student placement and industry engagement was established that led to many industry project placements. As a consequence of this new vision of the academic director, in 2019 the SFRA and ICMS hosted a successful international colloquium at the ICMS and Panmure House jointly with the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, in Tokyo Japan. This event brought into greater focus the new directions and proposed working areas of the SFRA in its modern version, that included banking risk, cyber risk, green finance and credit risk areas. As a consequence of this new vision a steering committee for the SFRA was formed and partnership with the SFE was developed. After a number of working parties with industry membership was established this eventually led to the current formulation of the SFRA Group a joint initiative with SFRA and SFE.

Establishment of SFRA Group and appointment of first Chairperson
The SFRA Group was established in March 2019 as a working group of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) with Dr John Taylor, President-elect of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Partner at Hymans Robertson, appointed as the group’s first Chairperson. In this role he will lead the steering committee of this new combined initiative.


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