SAS R&D Centre for combatting fraud & financial crime opens in Scotland

The dedicated SAS R&D centre in Glasgow joins other SAS global R&D centres including the R&D division headquartered in the US. It will position Scotland as an international centre of excellence for developing solutions to tackle fraud and bolster security. In a 2013 Economist Intelligence Unit report on global fraud, 70 per cent of 901 companies surveyed reported suffering from at least one type of fraud in the past year, up from 61 per cent in the previous poll.

The SAS investment in the facility in the Cuprum building, Argyle Street, includes adding 94 advanced analytics specialists to its established 126 member team and builds on the Scottish Development International (SDI) grant of £1.29 million announced in 2013. It also follows on the opening in late 2013 of a SAS flagship London office with a special focus on financial services and a hub for the wider SAS 600-strong team in the UK.

These strategic investments in the UK operations are made at a time of increasing global demand for SAS’ industry-leading big data analytic solutions. The use of analytics has become critical across industries, such as public security, financial services, retail, telecommunications and manufacturing, to support better decision making that will advance improvements in business operations, performance and innovation as well as preventing fraud and mitigating risk.

Mikael Hagstrom, SAS executive vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (AP), comments: “SAS is proud to be building on its existing operations in Scotland. We initially established a global research and development team to create business applications to help modernise law enforcement, improve public safety and enhance national security. The initial  investments allowed SAS to see the real Scottish potential with easy access to Europe, the excellent pool of talent from universities and its strong culture of innovation.”

Hagstrom continued: “Using this experience, we will fortify our efforts in thwarting financial crime and fraud through this new facility and also focus SAS global R&D centres on advancing the development of big data analytics as the engine of the information economies across the world. The UK has the opportunity to take a lead in the global efforts to deliver real financial benefit from big data – considered a 21st century raw material and referred to by analysts as “new oil”. To do this we also need to ensure that government, academia and businesses work together to further develop the skills available and actively support programmes that nurture development in the next generation.”

SAS has for the past 15 years invested in providing 80 universities across the country with access to its solutions. The total investment across the period amounts to around £90-million and enables SAS skills to be developed by around 2,500 students. In addition to this SAS has developed SAS Curriculum Pathways, as an online resource for secondary school teachers and students, and the SAS Student Academy programme, which gives educational institutions the ability to train students in big data skills.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond said “SAS is a prestigious global company and it’s fantastic to see the decision to expand extensively in Scotland come to fruition.

“The new facility will position Scotland as an international centre of excellence for developing solutions to tackle fraud and security and will create a substantial number of highly-skilled, high-value jobs – a significant feather in Scotland’s cap.

“Scotland offers international companies a well-educated and trained workforce, competitive infrastructure and supportive government agencies, and this investment by SAS is a terrific example of how that international reputation pays off.

Anne MacColl, chief executive, Scottish Development International, said: “Data Analytics is an area of significant growth potential and one in which Scotland is well placed to take a leading role as part of the global opportunity that big data represents. Scottish Development International is delighted to be able to support SAS in the creation of its R&D centre and we are committed to helping the company realise its growth strategies in Scotland.”