Standard Life could abandon its Scotland headquarters if the country votes in favour of independence later this year.
The insurer, which has been based in Scotland for 189 years, says it has “material concerns” about a number of issues that remain unresolved ahead of the referendum in September this year.
• The currency that an independent Scotland would use;
• Whether agreement and ratification of an independent Scotland’s membership to the European Union would be achieved by the target date (currently 24 March 2016);
• The shape and role of the monetary system;
• The arrangements for financial services regulation and consumer protection in an independent Scotland;
• The approach to individual taxation, especially around savings and pensions, as a consequence of any constitutional change.
Standard Life chief executive David Nish says: “We will continue to seek clarity on these matters, but uncertainty is likely to remain. In view of this, there are steps we will take based on our analysis of the risks.
“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 precautionary measure to ensure continuity of our businesses’ competitive position and to protect the interests of our stakeholders. As chief executive, my commitment is whatever happens, we will continue to serve the needs of our customers and maintain our competitive position.”
Standard Life chairman Gerry Grimstone adds: “We have been based in Scotland for 189 years and we are very proud of our heritage. Scotland has been a good place from which to run our business and to compete around the world. We very much hope that this can continue.
“But 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.”