AS firms look for rays of light on the horizon amid the fallout from the coronavirus crisis developments in the key information technology sector could encourage some to invest in growth rather than indulge in knee-jerk cost cutting.

Sadly many firms in Scotland have announced plans to cut jobs in recent weeks in moves that raise fears that some companies are putting too great an emphasis on short term profit targets.

READ MORE: Number of people in work in Scotland fell by 47,000 between March and May

However, we learned last week that a relatively young financial technology firm based in Edinburgh has actually increased employee numbers since the lockdown was introduced in March.

Nucleus Financial has recruited 12 people since March taking total employee numbers to around 250.

The decision to create more high value jobs in areas such as software development provided an important boost for the financial technology sector, for which development specialists in Scotland have high hopes.

The sector is expanding as the likes of banks and pensions firms look to harness developments in areas such as digital communications to help them compete in fast-changing markets.

Founded by chief executive David Ferguson in 2006, Nucleus has shown how firms in Scotland can capitalise on the fact the country is home to a range of big financial institutions and leading universities.

Nucleus designs online platforms which people can use to manage their investment portfolios.

Demand for these has been increasing as people have been required to take on increasing responsibility for saving for retirement.

The appeal of the market is strong enough to have persuaded giants such as Standard Life Aberdeen and Aegon UK to develop significant platform businesses.

READ MORE: Edinburgh-based Aegon UK wins vote of confidence from Dutch owners

However, all firms that provide support for investors faced huge challenges in the first quarter of this year as the rapid spread of the coronavirus sent stock markets around the world plunging.

Market movements wiped £2.4 billion off the value of the assets under administration on the platforms offered by Nucleus in the first quarter. Assets under administration totalled £14bn at March 31.

As the company’s revenues are linked to the value of assets under administration, Nucleus could have reacted to such a reverse by battening down the hatches.

With the outlook for the global economy looking so uncertain in March, others may have resorted to redundancies or a hiring freeze.

But Nucleus decided to invest in staff, in support of sales and product development, in the belief that the long term outlook for the market remained good.

Stock markets may remain volatile for a while but, whether they like it or not, more and more people are going to need to think about saving more for the long term. That will mean thinking how best to manage the different assets they accumulate to support that goal.

READ MORE: London markets slide as travel firms hit by quarantine rules

The grim advent of the coronavirus has not changed the dynamic driving the platform market.

Last week Nucleus revealed that the value of assets under administration on its platforms increased by 13.1 per cent in the quarter to June 30, to £15.8bn.

That left the value close to the £16.1bn that Nucleus had under administration at the start of the year.

The second quarter increase was driven by the rise in global stock markets that was fuelled by the actions of central banks around the world and the easing of lockdown measures in a range of countries.

Significantly, the number of customers whose funds are administered on Nucleus platforms increased by 4.3% year-on-year in the second quarter, to 99,797. They rose above 100,000 early this month.

Nucleus also benefitted from a big increase in net inflow of funds under administration as people made greater use of its platforms.

Had the company not invested in staffing it may not have been able to recruit more customers in such numbers or to cope with the additional workloads they will entail.

Nucleus is in a good position to grow customer numbers further. Firms that seek to emulate its success must recognise the importance of the willingness it has shown to invest in people.