Zurich: Scottish independence could hit advisers harder than Brexit

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If Scotland takes to the polls for another independence referendum, a leave vote could have graver ramifications for advisers than Brexit, according to Zurich.

A draft bill for a second Scottish independence referendum was published last month, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to hold a vote in the event of a “hard” Brexit. Scotland voted to remain in the EU by 62 per cent to 38 per cent in June’s UK EU membership referendum.

The insurer warns that advisers would be impacted by different regulatory regimes and cross-border issues, including whether English advisers would have to passport into Scotland.

Zurich retail platform strategy head Alistair Wilson says: “The simplest solution for advisers, although not without expense and upheaval, might be to establish a new company in both countries, or withdraw to one or the other.

“As a result, we could see two separate advice industries spring up on either side of the divide, as adviser firms make a judgement call on which side of the border to do business.”

He says advisers should remain aware of developments on a potential Scottish referendum, and that platform providers have an important role to play in supporting advisers through any uncertainty.

Earlier this week, Sturgeon said the Scotland would seek to intervene against the UK government’s appeal to the Supreme Court over the triggering of Article 50.