Fear over need to create Scottish regulator’s overplayed: Samuel

The London-based consultant and regulatory expert said an independent Scottish government could delegate its regulatory framework and the foundation of its own version of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to the UK versions, or could opt to establish its own versions.

He said: “These organisations have always had offices in Edinburgh anyway, and if the government did decide to set up its own regime, it could copy the UK models.

“This would not be as expensive as creating a new regime from scratch, although the high cost and disruption of setting up new regulators is not new – just look at the creation of the FCA.”

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Mr Samuel added that another eventuality could be that the European Union’s Mifid directives could supercede the need to create a mirror image of the FCA, Financial Ombudsman Service and the FSCS.

He said: “By the time of independence, it may be less relevant. What independence could bring, however, is the opportunity to finally introduce a long-stop, which has now been rejected three times by the UK parliament.”

Last week, in response to a question in parliament over the guarantee of deposits in an independent Scotland, Danny Alexander MP, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “An independent Scotland would require its own deposit guarantee scheme under European law.”

A spokesman for the Financial Ombudsman Service said it would not be commenting on its position regarding Scottish independence, a position which was shared by the FSCS and the FCA.

Adviser View

Andrew Hannay, director of Edinburgh-based Robson Macintosh, said: “I’m in favour of the status quo, while one united regulatory environment works perfectly well. In the event of independence, I would want to keep all of the regulatory institutions, as they are as much Scotland’s as the rest of the UK’s, and I would also expect to be able to transact cross-border.”