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Standard Life sets out contingency plans ahead of Scottish independence vote

Standard Life has set out contingency plans if Scotland votes in favour of independence, including establishing new registered companies south of the border.

The Edinburgh-based insurer has been outspoken about the uncertainty a Yes vote will create for the financial services sector, with issues including currency, EU membership, tax and regulation still to be resolved ahead of the referendum on 18 September.

Standard Life chief executive David Nish has today detailed the preparations the firm has made ahead of the vote.

He says: “In view of the uncertainty around Scotland’s constitutional future, we have put in place precautionary measures which would help enable us to provide customers with continuity.

“This includes planning for new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so.”

Nish says the transfer of business could potentially include pensions, investments and other long-term savings held by UK customers.

He says the provider’s key aims are to ensure: 

  • All transactions with customers outside of Scotland continue to be in sterling (money paid in and money paid out)
  • All customers outside of Scotland continue to be part of the UK tax regime
  • All customers outside of Scotland continue to be covered by existing consumer protection and regulatory arrangements e.g. the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Financial Conduct Authority.

Nish says Standard Life will continue to be listed on the London Stock Exchange and there will be no change to the way in which share dividends are paid to shareholders.

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Comments

There are 13 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Brilliant – Standard Life know more about what they will be doing in the event of a “yes” outcome than both sides in this Independence vote put together

  2. Standard Life closing their Defined Benefit Scheme ? Is something amiss ? With Standad Life’s “contingency plans . . .. ” to move South of the Cheviots – will they form part of the current Governments immigration ( or migration policy ) ? So whilst the immigrants from eastern Europe flood through the Channel Tunnel, or on board Ferries, or Lorries or containers – Standard Life will sell up and de camp across the cheviots . . . Have they asked the relevant authorities ? Has the Churches of Scotland been alerted ? Will they wish to see their money, savings – Go Forth ( or in this case South ) to South England and Westminster ( and the insolvent Gherkin ) ? Such a poor commitment – and lack of willingness to challenge or change form an old aging company. The costs of moving will be considerable – so it was a good job they downsized and sold part of their business . . . . less for pickfords to move ? Clearly stranded life like others want to claim their part in destroying the Yes Vote – and this will have serious repercussions on their arrogance and their incompetence – and their sales and marketing . . . . .and ultimately their commitment to clients and their New Business. given they are trying to play catch up with Scottish widows in auto enrolment figures a move south would be beneficial . . .for their targets.

  3. All the big Scottish Providers will do exactly the same as the huge majority of their business comes from Outside of Scotland. Anyone who thinks differently……. You are dreaming and living in cloud cuckoo land. This will lead to so many job losses as FS business is so huge in Scotland. A massive reduction in Scottish GDP, A massive reduction in these providers Scottish turnover, profit and therefore tax take. Massive loss of NI contributions from those put out of work. I wonder how that will go down with the then Scottish Government? If that happens to be the SNP, they are currently promising tens of thousands of Jobs to be created. Is this simply to replace the tens of thousands that will be lost in FS with existing employees not wishing to up sticks and leave an independent Scotland. If the whole independent thing was not so serious for the UK as a whole it would be a joke. A small country being lead by a bunch of buffoons (the Westminster lot are no better by the way) but at least the dear Scots currently have the strength, resilience and security of being part of the UK as do the rest of us. Those Scots who believe the income Scotland generates as a nation now means it can have a surplus as an Independent Scotland are delusional. Wait until you have to factor in the cost to Scotland of actually running and governing itself along with all the red tape and cost of its own civil service, Its own Central Bank, armed forces, its own regulators (FS, energy, etc). All from a lower total tax take due to droves of huge business leaving before Independence there will not be a surplus. You will join the rest of us at being broke but of course you can go and borrow money and large interest rates as you will have no credit history or recognised financial strength to get decent rates. Within a relatively short space of time you will be the second S in PIGSS. However its your choice and I wish you pleasant dreams if independence arrives but the dreams, I fear will soon become nightmares. Rant over I am off to the beer garden as its sunny and warm here in Gods own Country

  4. PS I await the onslaught in due course

  5. Spot on Marty. I am trying to present much of what you say to a labour supporting wealth manager in Glasgow. If he doesn’t get it, what hope does the average man in the street have?

  6. Marty represents the problem that exists on both sides of the fence – uncertainty about the future.
    Independence, if it happens, will be a time of problems and opportunities. Those that wet their knickers at any sign of adversity will, of course, fear the future. It may take 10 months to turn the financial corner; it may take 10 years. But finance is not the only reason for independence, and it is this part of the debate that has been far too thin on facts and opinion.
    India, Kenya, Ireland, Australia etc didn’t collapse into a jibbering state when they gained independence. I’m not sure what happened to the United States, but there are rumours they survived.
    It is highly possible that we would be better together, on a purely financial level. But life isn’t solely about finance, which is a factor that has been almost totally missed by so many “informed” commentators.
    So Marty, if you want Scotland to remain part of the Union quit the smart-arsed comments and come up with some solid propositions that would make it beneficial for Scotland to maintain a reasonable relationship with the supercilious English. Repect would be a good starting point.

  7. It’s hardly a hotbed of cyber-nationalism here so if by “onslaught” you mean someone from Scotland daring to have a different opinion then here I am!

    If moving a business was like selling a house, I’d agree. Shut up shop and move South. But it ain’t. The reasons for moving are tax and cheaper labour and short of moving far out of a financial centre, neither is on the table. Beyond those you’re merely left with hassle – re-training, redundancies, IT, logistics, loss of brand/identity and so on.

    All that’s happening is a paper company has been set up so that assets can be transferred to a new jurisdiction. Regulators will want hard cash in their jurisdiction, fair enough. That will affect tax revenues, not jobs. But for the 90% of assets that Scottish companies transfer South, any Scottish financial regulator with sense will require the 10% of assets that rUK companies hold relating to Scottish-domiciled customers to be transferred north. So Scotland ends up with 10% of the taxable revenue which is probably not so different from now.

    Australian and New Zealand companies transact in each other’s territories. A number of companies operate in the UK and in Ireland. Companies operate across Benelux. None of this is new. None of this requires panic.

    Is it certain that jobs won’t be impacted? No, of course not though I note that Scotland will have vastly more job-creating powers when it can control its tax base. But what I can say with certainty is that you lack the grounds for such a categorical statement as “this will lead to so many job losses”. You do not know that.

  8. As i mentioned on another story no one knows 100% if Scotland will or will not be better off with independence. Anyone claiming to know categorically is lying. We all work in an industry that has suffered from the unintended consequences of decisions being made. The independence referendum will result in so many unintended consequences that it is impossible to even try to comprehend them all. Obviously some of them will be welcome benefits and others will be unwelcome disadvantages.

    For what it is worth (obviously very little as i live 60 miles south of the border) the ‘Yes’ campaign is asking the Scottish people to take a leap of faith into the unknown. A lot of important questions haven’t been answered with any degree of certainty. Which currency would be used? How would the Scottish NHS be funded? How would old age care be funded? Free university places for students? etc etc

    However, the ‘No’ campaign have failed to engage the Scottish people on anywhere near the emotional level that Alex Salmond has. They haven’t managed to convey the benefits of remaining in the union. Both of these points have helped the ‘Yes’ campaign recover from what should have been an unassailable lead in the opinion polls by the ‘No’ campaign.

    I would like the union to survive beyond next week but it is going to be a close run thing.

  9. Very fair points made by Anonny Mouse.
    Just one point I would like to add, which has risen from the experience of moving from GB to Ireland recently. Whilst there are many companies that do operate in both locations they appear to be strangers to each other. E.g. we always found Homebase a good place to source items at a decent price; in Ireland they are expensive, and have refined the stocking practice to “just out of stock”. B&Q are similar in both locations, but can be undercut by local companies. So the retail experience is varied, and I suspect a consequence of smaller market size.
    In the financial market there are very many more problems, and the size of the market does reduce the options available. I would actually say that this is a massive failure on the the part of the EU. The whole point of the initial EEC was to create a large, active and competitive market. For the common man that has been an utter failure.
    I would agree that separation does not guarantee a loss of jobs, but if Ireland is a fair example, there can be practical differences which are an irritant. Not in itself a reason to junk independence but merely a factor to add to the pot.

  10. @ Glen McKeown, good morning, I hope you are well. I do not usually enter into a game of ping-pong of my views against someone else’s but I will make an exception in this case. Point 1 – As for me having no “repect” as you say, you could not be further from the truth. I have a great deal of respect for the Scots – my heritage is from there and still have relations who live in Kinghorn.You should not confuse things I say upon which you don’t agree with as me having no respect. I think you will find it’s simply called a difference of opinion. Point 2 – It is not my place to try to come up with propositions (solid or otherwise). Thats the job of politicians. Point 3 I hear what you say about the countries you mentioned not collapsing within 10 years of independence and agree with you, however the times in which these countries got their independence could hardly have been more different to now. So the situation is completely different for Scotland in 2014 than in Ireland in January, 1919. While I am on the subject of Ireland, let me give you proof of just how different the times are now to then and that it is actually all about finance. Are you sitting comfortably? Then Ill begin – A few years my best friend (whose alias shall be Paddy) owned and ran a very successful business in Ireland. His accountant told him “Murphy’s Acme Ltd” was due a corporation tax refund of €108,000. Paddy thought “Yippee!!!” and called them directly. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners confirmed the refund was indeed due and proceeded to try persuading him to have this reduced from his next bill. Paddy’s answer was along the lines of “To be sure, no thanks, I’ll take the money now please”. After a bit of too-ing and fro-ing he was informed that if this was to be the case he would have to accept 4 posted-dated cheques in the amount of €27000 each and a week’s difference in date on each one. I don’t know about you, but I for one would be very concerned that my government could not write me one cheque for €108000. Ireland may not have been in bankrupted by 1929, but if ever one needed to see just how close they came to it recently, this was a good example.
    For any Government to be able to do what needs to, it must have money. The only way to get it is from tax revenue, selling it’s assets or by borrowing. The whole modern world revolves around money, that is a fact which cannot be ignored.
    By the way no smart comments about me being a racist or stereotyping the Irish regarding my choice of alias please, I live here. Its another cracking day so Im off for a few pints of the old black stuff in the sun at the pub again. Cheers

  11. And a good morning to you Marty. As the house is being re-built my timetable is a little compressed.
    I have re-read your big bog but struggle to see much respect in it, in that you are assuming a direct and inevitable connection between independence and poverty, and therefore failure and misery.
    Scotland have been in the serious mire before (which is the base reason for the Union), but dug themselves out of it. The southern neighbors didn’t even notice the 1707 Act for a hundred years, but it did give Scotland a period of stability upon which to build a future from an incredibly low base after Darien.
    As an Irishman you should be well aware that Ireland didn’t suddenly sprout indecent wealth immediately after 1922. It was the impact of Sean Lemass in the 1960s that introduced any level of progress. But I am not aware that Ireland were either miserable or hankering after a return to the safety of the UK at any time after 1922.
    Despite that and the recent financial wobble Ireland is still a good place to be and has a strong identity and confidence.
    It’s certainly a chip on my shoulder that Scotland’s identity is buried in a total confusion of Names. Perhaps I am over sensitive at this stage, but when people are talking about GB they often just say England. Scotland and Wales are just non-existent. If people said GB I would be less upset. And what makes the matter more irritating is that Prime Minsters are guilty of such failures. That is unforgivable.
    One factor I do fear, and it is not being addressed, is insularity and prejudice. The West Cost of Scotland has too high a level of bigotry (partly because of the 6 Counties across the water) to a level that it distorts the national identity and focus. Consider the unnecessarily nasty response to J K Rowling’s monetary contribution to the debate. This is a factor that is believe is far more important than the financial preoccupation that has dominated the general debate.
    I would also fear the narrowness of vision that I detect in Ireland, epitomized by “the black stuff”. If I want Stout then I would prefer Murphy’s, but it is difficult to find in Dublin. But actually I prefer ale which is extraordinarily difficult to find in any Irish Pub, notwithstanding that there are now over 400 micro-breweries, producing some very fine product. And I have to go to Dawson St to find any decent selection of Scotch Malt Whisky. I do fear a similar narrowing of vision in Scotland far more than I fear any of the financial consequences.
    Scotland’s contribution to the history of science, economics, medicine, philosophy and culture has been way beyond it’s size in the world. I do not expect a similar contribution in the future, but it would reduce me to tears if the country turned inward on itself, and that I do see as a possibility, and it is in this area that commentators have been enormously silent. It is not merely for politicians to suggest courses of action but every single person who wishes to comment.
    Finance is just a passing phase; culture is permanent and should be debated continuously, and to me the culture of Scotland is far more important than transient transaction costs. Financial hiccups will only be remembered by economic historians (can you remember what happened on 17 October 1987?).

  12. Everyone is setting out their stall on what they will do post Scotland’s independence. So why have we not heard from the MM on this?

    What is this paper going to do? are we going to have 2 separate issues? PLEASE lets have two issues and the quicker the better! I for one am getting very bored of reading about something i have absolutely no control over and yet could affect me and my business greatly. And what is worse, is that if the Scots do vote YES next week that will not be the end of it, far from it. We will have years of negotiation and talk about what they can and cant do and what we are and aren’t going to pay for.

    This is a regional issue, so lets please leave this as a regional issue and stop the ENGLISH press banging on about it so much. If I am wrong and this isn’t a regional issue then give me (someone who has only ever been North of the Watford gap about 3 times in my life) a vote, otherwise leave the Scots to it!!

  13. @Matt

    There’s the problem. It’s not a regional issue and you don’t get a vote.

    If Scotland does vote yes then it will leave both countries worse off in the long run but us English & Welsh get no say over that. The more i think about it the more i think we should move towards individual parliments in each country that controls taxation and spending with a Westminister parliment overseeing national issues such as defence.

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