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SafeDeposits Scotland now boasts over half of the market in country

SafeDeposits Scotland, set up 18 months ago as a unique Scottish company to protect tenants' deposits, has grabbed over half the market and now has a new chief executive.

Jennifer Paice may be heading a not-for-profit organisation but she needs no introduction to the First Minister or to Wall Street's best-known banker.

She introduced Alex Salmond to Jamie Dimon during an exciting two years working for Scottish Development International in New York.

She said: "I managed our relationships with American financial services companies like JP Morgan, also Citi and Morgan Stanley, met with senior management, and made them aware of what Scotland has to offer."

SafeDeposits Scotland already has 56% of the market north of the Border.

It holds deposits worth over £50 million, in a sector which has doubled its share of Scotland's housing stock to 11% over the past decade.

Ms Paice's three-days-a-week role includes treasury expertise in handling the cash as well as cost management and leadership of its eight-strong team.

She said: "A lot more people are finding themselves in rental property, it is really a booming industry."

She left New York just after Lehman Brothers failed and back home in Glasgow was pitched into managing the Scottish Government's relationships with Lloyds and RBS, working with employment agencies to try and retain the banking sector's talent.

A former physiotherapist and IT company sales director, and now a mum-to-be for the second time, Ms Paice is managing to combine her subsequent role at RBS's Lombard Asset Finance with her new job.

At Lombard her commercial mission, to encourage businesses to use asset finance, gave way to more of a social mission.

"I concentrated on how staff can volunteer to fund-raise within their local community," Ms Paice says.

"You are not only empowering the charities but the staff, by making them realise they have skills that are transferable." She added: "The financial services industry is very male- dominated, and there was a continuing agenda to drive forward there, making sure we were listening to staff."

SDS earns all its revenue from the interest earned on its deposits, which are returned to tenants at the end of leases after "fair and free" arbitration on the property's condition.

Ms Paice says: "What will happen in future is all of our profits will go into a charitable trust which will look at educational initiatives in the private rented sector.

"This is landlords' and tenants' money - why should we profit?"

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