Having studied at Edinburgh University, Sir Findlater joined the India Office in 1903, working on miscellaneous assignments until 1920, when he was appointed to the Royal Commission on the Supreme Civil Services in India.
In 1924, he became Assistant Under-Secretary of State and Clerk to the Council of India, while during the period 1927-1930, he also functioned as Secretary to the Indian Statutory Commission, better known as the Simon Commission. In 1930, he became the Permanent Under-Secretary of State, his most important task here being to deal with the various Round Table Conferences and helping promulgate the Government of India Act 1935. He remained there, until just after the beginning of World War II, leaving to join an executive position in Home Defence. At the end of the war, he worked on various councils and with his experience was a director of various companies.