INVESTMENT house Shore Capital yesterday claimed that its newly created Edinburgh team had hit the ground running with scope for further expansion as the group secures an "increasing share of a declining cake".
The new operation, which currently houses half a dozen staff, is poised to move into a permanent office in the city where it will support Shore's London-based team of investors and analysts.
Richard Sloss, Andrew Keith and David Phillips, all of whom previously worked at Landsbanki Securities, were taken on at the end of last year by Shore ahead of the Edinburgh launch.
Unveiling annual results that were hit by the slump in global stock markets, founder and chairman Howard Shore yesterday said the Scottish outpost had made an "operational contribution to profit immediately".
He told The Scotsman: "The team is already up and running and providing a sales presence to local institutions. We also have a couple of very good analysts.
"It should be a place where we continue to attract talented individuals who had perhaps been working in the City but want to move back north of the Border for whatever reason. We have room to expand."
Although both of Shore's main operating divisions remained profitable during 2008, the group swung to a pre-tax loss of 1.3 million, against profits of 14.3m a year earlier. Turnover nearly halved, falling from 38.8m to 19.7m.
The full-year result was hit by balance sheet writedowns and losses at Shore Capital Trading.
The group, which also cut its annual dividend payout to 0.3p from just under 0.88p in 2007, warned market conditions remained challenging.
However, its chairman was upbeat, saying: "In the current marketplace, in which some competitors have been claimed by the credit crunch and post-Lehman fallout, we believe we have been winning an increasing share of a declining cake.
"In the investment business, everyone is exposed to the vagaries of the market and anybody who says otherwise can't be telling the truth. But we know from history that down-cycles don't last forever.
"When the business environment stabilises, we are well placed to resume our growth."
Shore, who founded the firm in the mid-1980s when he was just 25, said he was committed to having a strong presence outside the core London market.
As well as setting up shop north of the Border, the company has been expanding its sales and research operation in Liverpool.
"At the end of the day, the Edinburgh team is part of a capital markets business that employs 75 or more people," Shore added.
"Edinburgh already has good relationships with locally-based institutions and we have the scope to introduce corporate clients to the Scottish investment community."
Shares in the London-listed group closed unchanged at 14p.