As we head through adviser conference season, I have been busy speaking in several different parts of the UK. It is always good to get questions going and I often expose myself to risk by encouraging people to ask questions on any topic.
Luckily, nobody asked me anything too difficult other than my opinion as to the likely result in the Scottish referendum.
The changes that will inevitably occur north of the border will have a far-reaching effect on the rest of the UK.
It is highly unlikely that the yes vote will be anything less than 40 per cent and given the demographics of the people voting, it is clear that Cameron, etc, will have to support some significant extension of power to the Scottish Parliament, even if the majority vote no.
It is clear that the biggest weapon that Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign currently have is the No campaign. When the somewhat less than charismatic Alistair Darling was appointed to lead the campaign against independence, I did despair. He was put to one side temporarily by the always patronising Douglas Alexander, only to be replaced by someone described in The Times as much loved at home, one Gordon Brown. I don’t know where The Times is getting its research but Brown is just as vilified in Scotland as he is in England for all the damage he did to the pensions system as he tried to move it towards his socialist ideals. It will be the combination of those individuals and the English media that will deliver a Yes vote if it continues on the path it is on.
Those friends and family who have decided to vote yes are very much doing it on the basis that they hope things will be a lot better and they don’t imagine things will be a lot worse.
Certainly there is lack of information and that is not helpful. Recently, there have been series of seminars in Scotland trying to give people a steer as to what would happen investment wise, dealing with key topics like currency, the debt rating that Scotland would have if it was independent, financial regulation, tax policy would be, how capital would be controlled and last but not least whether or not EU membership was all that important at an early stage.
In my opinion it will take up to four or five years before we see the full impact of independence and it is presumptuous to suggest that anybody knows what the precise answers are. This is despite the flurry of supposed researched papers published recently.
Parliament in Westminster is on holiday in August, a time when Salmond will be canvassing hard in the run-up to the vote itself in mid-September.
The help the SNP will get from the No campaign just cannot be quantified and its efforts could go down as one of the biggest political mistakes in the history of these Isles.
Robert Reid is managing director of Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners