Coffee House

Standard Life intervention in independence debate suggests business nerves about chance Scotland could vote ‘yes’

27 February 2014

10:32 AM

27 February 2014

10:32 AM

The Yes campaign’s response so far to the story that Standard Life would consider transferring some of its operations to England from Scotland in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote has been to argue that what the company wants is ‘exactly what the Scottish government has proposed’. Some Nats think this is another example of bullying from ‘monied elites’, but so far the official campaign has wisely blamed the ‘No’ campaign for creating uncertainty for businesses. After weeks of arguing about bullying and ‘campaign rhetoric’ from Westminster politicians, perhaps the SNP realises that making the same accusation of a business for setting out contingency plans would be going overboard (but you never know).

The Standard Life annual report, published today, says this:

‘Your Company is strictly apolitical and it would be inappropriate for us to give any views on how people should vote. Equally, as one of the largest companies headquartered and based in Scotland, it is appropriate that we have carefully thought through the potential consequences if Scotland were to become an independent nation. We have reviewed all the information that we have available to us at the current time, and we consider that a number of material issues remain uncertain.’


It adds that ‘if anything were to threaten this, we will take whatever action we consider necessary – including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland – in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our stakeholders. We will continue to seek further clarity from politicians on both sides of the debate, so that we can reach an informed view on what constitutional change may mean for our customers, our business and our shareholders.’

The issues that Standard Life feels remain uncertain are: the currency that an independent Scotland would use, whether Scotland would rejoin the EU by the target date of 24 March 2016, the shape and role of the monetary system, the arrangements for financial services regulation and consumer protection and the approach to individual taxation.

What’s interesting is that Standard Life has gone public with its concerns about what might happen if Scotland does back independence. After the ‘No’ campaign interventions didn’t seem to frighten off Scots, is this a sign that businesses who had planned to keep their heads down during this debate are becoming nervous that there really could be a ‘Yes’ vote?

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Show comments
  • Alex Creel

    My high point of the day so far was BBC Scotland’s lunchtime news. After twisting the reporting of the standard life statement by saying that SL would ‘move their business’ South – as opposed to ‘move parts of their business’ they added menacingly that RBS were also considering the move to England. Followed neatly by the headline that RBS made an 8.2bn loss (bringing the total to 43bn since bailout)! How about we do you a deal – have Standard life and it’s 5k jobs and we’ll chuck in RBS for free! Bear in mind, when the good businesses shift South so will the poor ones and propping them up will no longer be a Scottish liability.

    • HJ777

      The flaw in your argument is that the finance sector forms a disproportionately large percentage of Scottish GDP, so the question is what the loss of much of it would be replaced by. What do you propose?

      It is also touching to see your concern for the 5k employees of Standard Life in Scotland. I presume that you just don’t care what disruption secession would cause to many people employed in Scotland.

      Unlike many of you CyberNats, I am concerned to see an economically successful Scotland – not to see people’s future sacrificed because the “Yes” campaign puts their obsession before the welfare of Scots.

      Nobody is saying that Scotland could not be economically successful if it seceded (although I think the evidence is that it will likely be more successful long term within the UK) but it would be desirable if the “Yes” campaign were honest about the disruption and costs that secession would cause for a great number of years. At the moment, the “Yes” campaign has produced no assessment whatsoever and is trying to deny that there will be any such costs – its just not credible.

      • Alex Creel

        The reason for my flippant attitude towards the finance sector is that I don’t believe for a moment that moving South is a genuine threat. As Salmond has already alluded to, not offering Scotland the option of a currency union (post YES vote) is a game of brinkmanship for Osborne et al. With the balance of payments in a mess and Scotland refusing to shoulder it’s portion of the national debt bond yields will suffer and the rUKs credit rating would be in jeapordy. Hardly a safe haven for the likes of SL to move their money to? There is only 1 outcome which will be agreeable to both North and South – a currency unon which would halt any business moves over the border. ps what is your definition of a ‘cyberNat’? It sounds nasty, I’d be interested to know if I’m a sufferer….

        • HJ777

          Of course moving out of Scotland is a genuine possibility. Why would the companies say otherwise?

          The currency union is Salmond’s policy that he didn’t bother to consult the rest of the UK about. And it just won’t happen – why would the rest of the UK want to accept liability for Scottish banks and all the other liabilities implied in a currency union? There is little upside (because Scotland represents only 10% of the UK’s GDP) and plenty of downside. A currency union would adversely affect the credit rating of the rest of the UK, not improve it.

          As for the balance of payments – that’s a red herring as many economists have pointed out. The effect of a Scottish secession would be approximately neutral because what the SNP haven’t accounted for is that England ‘exports’ more to Scotland than vice versa.

          The “we’ll walk away from the debt” threat if you don’t do what we want has been widely and rightly ridiculed. If you think that’s a realistic possibility, you simply aren’t willing to face reality.

        • Denis_Cooper

          “As Salmond has already alluded to, not offering Scotland the option of a currency union (post YES vote) is a game of brinkmanship for Osborne et al.”

          Nope, it’s not brinkmanship, there would be no currency union because people in the rest of the UK wouldn’t wear it – you may perhaps have forgotten that there are people in the rest of the UK who also have views, having a view is by no means the exclusive prerogative of those north of the border – and in any case why should the euro-loving Salmond be so desperate to keep the pound as a “millstone around Scotland’s neck” in perpetuity?

          “With the balance of payments in a mess and Scotland refusing to shoulder it’s portion of the national debt … ”

          I ever had to go out for a meal with Salmond I would not only make sure from the start that we were getting separate bills, I would also take every precaution to stop him sneaking out of the restaurant without paying his.

          Have you any idea what disrepute his shameful suggestion is bringing on the Scots as a nation?

          • Alex Creel

            I tire of these exchanges because we’re still dealing with assertions. There can be no right or wrong – neither of us can prove what will happen after independence in the same way that the tory manifesto shouldn’t have been believed before the last election, Gordon couldn’t deliver an end to boom and bust etc. etc. etc. When pragmatism triumphs over rhetoric I maintain that we will have a currency union – in the best interests of us all, the debt will be repaid (it would be shameful not to) and life will continue as previous. Until the votes are counted, the decision made and the chips fall where they will we’re just talking about possibilities, not certainties

            • Wessex Man

              You mean you’ve lost the argument and want to retire from the fray?

              • Alex Creel

                I’m just making clear that whilst saying ‘X will happen – you’re doomed’ when there’s an equal chance of Y happening and the outcome being the opposite – there’s no point in wasting my breath. To be honest my enthusiasm is used up knocking doors with my motley crue of indy supporters filling people with the enthusiasm we feel for independence and the possibilities it brings. We have a rule – don’t waste time with No voters – and it’s one I should apply to my online time also. I’m voting for independence because i want to feel that the administration who make decisions on my behalf are accountable, are within reach and will accurately reflect the will of the people of my nation – regardless of whether I end up with my party of choice in power or not. if Better Together can provide me with that then I’ll happily vote No – I’m not in this for oil money, I’m in it because I believe in it.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You want to independent with the UK underwriting you debt. Laughable.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Would you kindly explain why it is in the best interests of the people of the UK to guarantee the newly issued public debt without having any control over how much is issued or for how long of a foreign country? Would you provide such a guarantee to your next door neighbour leaving him or her to run up whatever debts they like safe in the knowledge that you will pick up the tab? It is arrogant and absurd to suggest such a ridiculous arrangement would bre good for the people of the UK. The UK is also expected to act as lender of last resort to Scotland’s banks. It is pure can’t on your part to drone on about what will or won’t happen post independence and suggest we should all therefore keep quiet. It is perfectly reasonable to throw the ridiculous suggestion of a currency union back in your arrogant faces.

              • Alex Creel

                It’s existing public debt, not newly issued. Scotland receives less in spending than it pays in taxation therefore we would maintain our per capita share of the public debt with out ‘doing a westminster’ and running it up like there’s no tomorrow… Surely you can see that the Westminster government who have failed spectacularly to exercise fiscal control can only benefit by sharing their MASSIVE liabilities with the kindly neighbour to the North? Also, rudeness is unbecoming of you.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  That is a separate issue. The UK Treasury has agreed to underwrite all existing public debt including Scotland’s share in the event of independence. The problem with a currency union is that it would require the UK to guarantee any newly issued public debt of a foreign country (Scotland) without any limitation as to amount or term. That is what your great leader is insisting is a good deal for the people of the UK. It is absolutely disgraceful that you are advocating a policy which you do not even understand or appreciate the implications for the UK. In any event, you will be independent and the fiscal imprudence of the UK or otherwise will be absolutely none of your business. That is what Osborne was objecting to and it is not bullying or any other fatuous SNP label it is just common sense. By all means vote for independence it is your unquestioned right but do not have the insolence to tell the people of the UK what is good for us when what you are proposing is so totally and unequivocally unacceptable.

                • Alex Creel

                  ‘The UK Treasury has agreed to underwrite all existing public debt including Scotland’s share in the event of independence’ Really? Great, so we’re not being asked to pay back the debt? What a relief.

                  ‘it would require the UK to guarantee any newly issued public debt of a foreign country (Scotland) without any limitation as to amount or term’ – surely Mark Carney’s lecture explained that there could be no currency union without those limits being agreed – using the bank of england as referee?

                  ‘In any event, you will be independent and the fiscal imprudence of the UK or otherwise will be absolutely none of your business’ – It will if we have a currency union for the reason stated above….

                  Off to the shops now 🙂

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  How ignorant can you possibly be? The Treasury offered that reassurance to the markets to protect the UK’s cost of borrowing and to avoid the perception that there would be a default of Scotland’s share of the debt post independence. It does not absolve Scotland from its share of the National Debt. The role of the BOE is to implement government policy not act as a referee in respect of competing spending proposals. This is academic in any event because there will be no currency union. Better go to the shops while you still have a medium of exchange they will accept. Enjoy your delusions.

            • Denis_Cooper

              You have the leaders of all three of the main parties in the Westminster Parliament saying categorically that there would NOT be a continuing currency union with Scotland if it broke away from the UK.

              In case you didn’t notice, here is Miliband saying it:


              “Ed Miliband today warned Scots that it would “simply not be possible” for them to share the pound if they left the UK while he was Prime Minister.

              The Labour leader rejected Alex Salmond’s claim that the decision of the three main UK parties to rule out a currency union amounted to “nastiness” or a mere “campaign tactic”.

              He said he would “deeply regret” Scotland leaving the UK but it is “simply economic common sense” for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish not to agree to a eurozone-style deal to share the pound.”

              But, oh no, Alex says that they don’t really mean it so you
              agree with him that they don’t really mean it.

              Then you have the Spanish Prime Minister saying that Spain would not agree to EU treaty changes to fast-track Scotland in as a new EU member state at the same time that it finally separated from the UK, instead it would have to wait until after it had become independent and was therefore outside the EU and then it could apply to join through the normal route for the accession for new member states, and even then the government of Spain might veto its accession.

              But, again, Alex says that he doesn’t really mean it so all the SNP supporters parrot that line.

              It would be a great pity if the Scots voted the wrong way in the referendum, and then discovered too late that these were not statements made for mere effect, or because some people like bullying and threatening the Scots, but statements which are meant absolutely seriously, and that Alex could not then somehow magic their objections away because really everybody around the world loved the Scots so much that they would all bend over backwards to give Alex whatever he said he wanted.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          A couple of points need to be made I believe. Firstly, we are the UK not the rUK. By all means decide your own future but the name of our country is emphatically none of your business. Second, there is no ‘brinkmanship’ attaching to the refusal to entertain a currency union with Scotland. Why would the UK agree to underwrite newly issued public debt without limitation as to term or amount of a foreign country or allow its central bank to act as lender of last to the banks of that foreign country? That would be irresponsible in the extreme and no UK finance minister could possibly agree to such a lunatic idea. Scotland is welcome to use Sterling as a medium of exchange post independence but it cannot expect a foreign country to underwrite its debt. The only way the UK could agree to a currency union is to have complete control over Scotland’s fiscal, monetary and spending policies and what kind of independence would that be? A ‘cybernat’ is an SNP adherent who, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, keeps insisting that whatever the SNP wants it can have without negotiation or amendment. Further, as ‘cybernat’ regards any opinion contrary to his/her own as bullying, scaremongering, racist, bigoted etc while claiming to be a model of tolerance and reasonableness. You appear to fit neatly in to that deluded category.

    • William Haworth

      Remember that Scots won’t be covered by the EU freedom of movement, so any businesses that move South will have to hire locally.

  • Wessex Man

    So why has my quite reasonable comment been taken down this time? only saying that within a very short time the Cybernat Nutcases would be dominatiing this thread in their hundreds which is what they are now startig to do!

  • Daniel Maris

    The “brilliant strategist” George Osborne’s intervention resulted in a rise of 10% for the Yes campaign.

    • Wessex Man

      Good old George, lets get Nig and Boris up there straight away!

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      It did of course pass a comprehensive idiot like you by that Osborne was ruling out a currency union with Scotland. His failure to do so would mean that Scotland, a foreign country, could issue whatever ne public debt it likes for whatever term it likes without reference to the UK and the UK taxpayer would have to stand behind that debt. It would also mean that our central bank would have to act as lender of last resort to a foreign country’s banks while having no power to regulate their activities.Those banks are currenly 12 times the size of the entire Scottish economy. What Osborne said was both prudent and reasonable and protected the interests of the people of the UK. So beforea know nothing idiot like you berates sarcastically somebody as a “brilliant strategist” , you might first of all want to understand what is at stake. Refusing to join a currency union with Scotland is not just politics it is a vital interest of the UK.

  • David B

    What this does show is the fiction that a Currency Union is best for both an independent Scotland and the rump UK.

    In a Currency Union the rump UK (and it’s tax payers) will take the financial risks, while the Scotland take the financial rewards. Not really best for both!

    • Daniel Maris

      It will be UK business who want to protect their profit margins who will persuade a future PM.

      • Wessex Man

        As the Fat Controller said in his famous speech about the pound being a millstone around Scotlamnd’s neck- “Scotland is a trading nation and our main trading partner is the EU. At present over 60% of our manufactured exports are to the EU and it is to Europe that we must look to secure Scottish prosperity and Scottish jobs.”

        Now the Fat Controller is saying exactly the opposite, nice for you to have such a reliable Leader!

      • David B

        That assums that the only costs are transaction related. With Scotland as an independent country the customs clearance costs will exceed the bank transaction costs.

        That is before the costs of underwriting Scotland’s financial sector and the effect of the oil price on sterling where the rump UK carry the financial risk and Scotland keeps the financial reward

        Transaction costs are a visible cost of not having a monitort union but would be wiped out by a 0.1/.2% change in interest rates because of the uncertainty of Scotland staying in the union long term.

        The contingent liabilities are vast and and far outway any benefits to the rest ok UK. Recent history tells us all we need to know about financial institution failure.

  • asalord

    “27 February 2014

    Scottish referendum

    On 18 September 2014 a referendum
    will be held to decide whether Scotland should become an independent
    country. In recent months some of our customers have been in touch with
    us to ask what impact this would have on their savings and investments
    with Standard Life.

    Our key priority is to continue
    serving the needs of our 4 million UK customers, wherever they reside
    and regardless of any constitutional change. The same applies to our
    customers in other parts of the world.

    As a business we have a
    long-standing policy of strict political neutrality and at no time will
    we advise people on how they should vote, but we have a duty and a
    responsibility to understand the implications of independence for our
    customers and other stakeholders and to take whatever action may be
    necessary to protect their interests.

    In view of the uncertainty that is
    likely to remain around this issue, there are steps that we can and will
    take now based on our own analysis. For example, we have started work
    to establish additional registered companies to operate outside
    Scotland, into which we could transfer parts of our operations if it was
    necessary to do so.

    This is a purely precautionary
    measure, and customers do not need to take any action. We are simply
    putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional
    change, allows us to provide continuity to customers and to continue
    serving them, wherever they live in the UK.

    Customers can find further details in our 2013 Annual Report and Accounts from our Chief Executive David Nish and Chairman Gerry Grimstone.”

    • Daniel Maris

      I recommend people get out of Standard Life now. If they can play dirty politics like this, they could get up to all sorts.

      • Tony_E

        When large companies submit their company accounts, they are required by law to state their projections of potential business issues that will affect them over the next financial period and what they are doing to ameliorate risks to current business practice. This is mandatory.

        Standard Life are not playing politics, they are simply stating that the uncertainty that they face has been countered by making certain contingency arrangements. They have not stated that they will change their business model, simply that they have made the preparations to allow them to do so if this is necessary to protect shareholder value, which is a legal requirement for public company.

      • Wessex Man


      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Give me strength. As a PLC Standard Life has no option but to bring potential events that might be detrimental to its business to the attention of its shareholders. A failure to do so would be considered negligent. Indeed it might lead to financial losses for its stakeholders and we can only imagine the ill-informed, sanctimonious, hypocritical screams that would erupt from you if that were to happen.

      • Wessex Man

        “killing me softly with your idiocy, killing me softly”

    • Wessex Man

      hur hur hur you are a comedian only no one knows it!

  • Denis_Cooper

    “The issues that Standard Life feels remain uncertain are … ”

    “the currency that an independent Scotland would use”

    Alex Salmond, a man of the highest integrity, has made it quite plain that he no longer wants anything to do with the euro, that was before and he’s changed his mind on that since he last sang its praises, and instead he wants to keep the pound as a perpetual “millstone around Scotland’s neck”; so why should there be any doubt about that?

    But on the other hand all three main party leaders at Westminster have made it quite plain that there would be no continuing currency union with the rest of the present UK, once Article XVI of the Treaty of Union was terminated along with all the rest of that treaty which Salmond wants to terminate then there would be no new treaty provision to replace it and maintain the currency union.

    “whether Scotland would rejoin the EU by the target date of 24 March 2016”

    It wouldn’t be a case of whether Scotland could “rejoin” the EU by that date but whether it could remain within the EU as a new member state in its own sovereign right rather than as just part of a member state, the UK; and the answer is that not only the Spanish government but also some other EU governments would oppose the use of Article 48 TEU to change the EU treaties to give Scotland that shortcut, and might even veto Scotland taking the longer Article 49 TEU route to rejoin the EU after it had voted itself out under the present EU treaties.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    But but but I thought the YES campaign was trailing at a dismal 17% or something similarly outrageously fantastical like that? Why worry? Only those seriously deluded and driven to the edge by Project Fear would. Standard Life are not *preparing to mitigate*, they *are* mitigating, simply to address the undeniable real world scenario of a majority vote for independence. What you claim those elements of mitigation were is an entirely different matter.

    • Wessex Man

      Like any sensible company they are looking at their options, go bark at a few trees.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        Oh look, the Scottish financial sector is unusually large with total assets estimated at 12.5x GDP. Given that this is a huge figure by European if not international comparison, what exactly is the issue when select financial institutions are now ‘mitigating the inevitable’ and reducing that figure? Either it is an issue or it isn’t.

  • asalord

    Standard life said something similar just before the devolution referendum in 1997.
    It was a Yes vote then…

    • Michael Mckeown

      The domestic market and financial regulation was not devolved though, thanks for the non point all the same.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Irrelevant as always. There was no devolution of financial regulation, financial support or change of currency at stake on that occasion.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Who says all that is at stake today? The Cameroons? They’ll be gone soon.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          According to you there is no difference between the Conservatives, Labour and LDs and so my point remains apposite. Why would the UK, whoever is in charge, want to underwrite newly issued public debt and act as lender of last resort to the banks of a foreign country?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, but you’re in favor of the Cameroons, and they’ll soon be gone. Then we’ll find out whether I’m correct that LibLabCon is a clone operation. But ’til then, we can ignore the Cameroons’ hysterical proclamations, because they’ll be gone soon. And it is only the Camerluvvies who are talking about a “foreign country”, and all the rest of the hysteria.

            The day following a yes vote, nothing much will have changed, despite the hysteria being presented.

            • Wessex Man

              no it’s not that’s why Labour and the Lib/dums lined up behind Georgie boy and of course you are forgetting UKip who will have a very big say, “oh happy days”

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            No I am not in favour of Cameron. He has betrayed the UK as far as I am concerned but no UK government could sensibly consider a currency union with Scotland.

  • Rockin Ron

    In the photo is that the total number of people who will vote Yes? Numbers are growing it seems!

  • Sue L

    Both Rhoda and Ian are correct, there is a legal requirement to share a risk assessment with readers in their annual accounts. That said, there will doubtless be considerable analysis of the impact of independence on the all Scottish based businesses which could (and perhaps should) do something to try to mitigate any potential downside. The promise to reduce corporate tax rates is insufficient incentive to attract businesses to Scotland or to retain those that are established here. Furthermore, comparisons with Ireland do not help as this country has experienced independence over a number of decades so enabling businesses and legislation to evolve organically. Just two of the issues businesses must address are:
    * As an independent country, Scotland will not have tax treaties with other countries and, if outside the EU for any period, Scotland can not fall back on freedom of capital measures which have a similar tax effect. In other words, Scottish HQ businesses will suffer irrecoverable withholding taxes on their subsidiaries’ dividends and interest receipts (including from the UK). This is a cash flow and tax hit – which will erode Scottish distributable profits. Tax treaties can take years to negotiate.
    * Scottish profits are currently eligible for group relief against other UK profits. After independence, operations south of the border will automatically be taxed as branches under UK rules, which one assumes will be eligible for tax credits north of the border – any tax incurred above the Scottish rate will be irrecoverable. But more importantly, corporate HQ costs and acquisition debt incurred in Scotland can not be deducted against the wider UK tax net and so Scottish businesses will need substantial Scottish profits to ensure that they secure relief. Furthermore, I assume that R&D expenditure and oil and gas decommissioning costs incurred in Scotland face a similar challenge.

    The charity sector has long since had to address the added complication of two sets of regulations (including two sets of accounts) as a result of devolution – independence will be considerably more challenging for businesses operating outside Scotland or which might hope to do so in future.

    It is little wonder that the prospect of Independence is deterring investment in Scotland.

    • dalai guevara

      Scotland will not find itself in the position of being both outside UK and EU affiliation. It just won’t happen.

      • Bo Williams

        The path can’t be too clear as the President of the European Union doesn’t know where it is.

        • dalai guevara

          He had to backpaddle like no one has ever backpaddled before.

    • asalord
  • Michael Mckeown

    You forgot about losing 92% of the domestic market in your reasons Isabel.

  • swatnan

    Its time the Business Community put their foot down and said NO to an Independent Scotland and NO to leaving the EU.

    • Holly

      It’s about time businesses started to inform the public of their intentions if Scotland says ‘YES’.
      Whether the Scottish like it or not, customers have a right to know, and businesses have a right to inform us.
      Seven months is not very long to get any contingency plans in order, and the sooner we know the better for all concerned.

    • James Strong

      What an unfortunate phrase.
      It is for a parent to ‘put their foot down’ when vetoing the proposed action of their child.
      It is most certainly not for the Business Community to attempt to veto the choice of free electorates bu putting their foot down.
      That sounds a lot like Fascism to me, Big Business acting in concert with government.
      To be clear: I don’t care what happens in the Scottish refrendum; I want out of the EU.

    • Daniel Maris

      And NO to democracy?

      • Kitty MLB

        There is a slight issue brewing here.
        What if Salmond loses and Cameron wins with the EU that he doesn’t
        want to leave how democratic is that.

        • Tony_E

          The big issue would come if Scotland decides to stay and Britain (largely the English part) votes to leave the EU. I suspect that would lead to some distinct unpleasantness.

          • Wessex Man

            no it wouldn’t we will just say do you want to vote again on Scottish independence.

      • Wessex Man

        You really have no idea how the EU is run do you.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          He has no coherent idea about anything. The EU is but a teaspoon of water in the Atlantic Ocean of his misunderstanding.

  • ButcombeMan

    This was absolutely inevitable. It is what Salmond has not emphasised to the lemmings who prepare to follow him over the cliff.

    Here is the Wikepedia link to financial services businesses based in Scotland

    Above and below this entry are other businesses by regime.

    Clearly any financial services industry (particularly) is going to have to consider moving all or part of its activity to to rUK in the event of Scotland becoming an independent country.

    Why would those industries not want to be where their main market is?

    Scotland has done well out of financial services by being a part of the UK.

    Better together. Team GB.

    • Wessex Man

      no no no don’t tell them that!

      • ButcombeMan

        Personally I want them to stay in the Union,

        I regard Salmond as a complete fraud and con man.

        I want to see him beaten.

        He does not look well to me. I could see him cracking up before the vote.

        • dalai guevara

          Now you have confused the Hull out of Wessex. He doesn’t know what to think anymore, in fact, has he cracked up just there?

          • ButcombeMan

            No, no, he was jesting.

            The English are a very tolerant people, most want the Scots to stay, that does not mean we should not take on Salmond’s cybernats.

            They are fairly easy meat because they are not arguing logically. For the lemmings, it is an act of blind faith.We will beat them, then forgive. We will regard the whole thing as a hopeless mid life crisis, a spasm.

            Though some Scots will probably never forgive the “No” campaigners. That behaviour is in their nature.

            Salmond will be finished and the hopeless lightweight Sturgeon, will take over.

            • Wessex Man

              I’m only jesting because it’s not nice to be too cruel to the afflicted, I don’t really care if they go or stay, Braveheart, the Fat Controller and the Cybernat Nutjobs are making it harder and harder to make a case for the continuance of the UK to we English.

              • ButcombeMan

                There are lots of decent sensible folk in Scotland, many of us are related to people there. we must not let the cranky cybernats wind us up. That is playing along with Salmonds odious “create an external enemy” tactics. His game is an evil one.

                We have achieved great things together and can again.
                We can break Salmond.

                Better together, in Team GB.

          • dmitri the impostor

            no dalai son, your name means ocean in mongolian cos it is you that is all at sea, not arf !

        • Fergus Pickering

          You mean he’s going to drop dead? Dear oh dear!

  • CharlietheChump

    I wonder, if the Nats offer light, light, light regulation and low, low, low taxes, Standard Life would reconsider?
    Scotland,, better off gone either way.

    • Michael Mckeown

      It would not matter, 92% of the customer base would still be in another country.

    • El_Sid

      If they wanted to be offshore, they’d just go to the Caymans. In any case do you seriously think a Western politician would go to the polls proposing light-touch regulation of the financial sector in the current environment? The financial sector is different, because the regulatory environment is a lot more complex and there’s the whole confidence thing, which in turn hinges on having a credible backup plan if things go badly. It’s hard for a small country to be able to bail out an institution of international scale – look at the mess Austria has been making of the wreckage of Hypo. And that’s one of the “strong” small countries that Salmond so often invokes.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It would probably verge on criminal NOT to mention this in the annual report. It’s a corporate duty. The assessment is honest and realistic, doubt is the enemy the sometimes the SNP does not seem to have thought things through in terms of how this all looks to the various players. The bank did what is had to do. There is no reason to view this is as a timed intervention, the annual report comes out every year.

    It is for the Yes campaign to allay the very real doubts. Somehow.

  • IanH

    No Isabel, it’s a legal requirement that PLCs have to make clear their thinking on issues that may have a material effect on their business model. Scottish independence is a clear risk and the company has to have plans in place, simples, stop being a conspiracy theorist. I predict the next such release may well be when the next Scottish domiciled PLC makes one of it’s quarterly statements.