Standard Life has revealed it is putting in place contingency plans in the event that Scotland votes to split from the United Kingdom and has hinted it could even move its headquarters south of the border, as it outlined five key “uncertainties” surrounding independence.
In his chairman’s statement in the insurers results for 2013, Gerry Grimstone emphasises that the company is “apolitical” but said that it will “take whatever action we consider necessary... in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our stakeholders.”
Mr Grimstone reveals the company is already working on contingency measures in the event of a ‘yes’ vote, “including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland”.
In his chief executive’s statement, David Nish states that Standard Life has “engaged with key politicians and analysed the relevant papers published by both sides of the independence debate” and has identified five key uncertainties that were likely to remain even beyond a vote for independence.
• 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 of March 2016)
• the shape and role of the monetary system;
• the arrangements for financial services regulation and consumer protection in an independent Scotland; and
• the approach to individual taxation, especially around savings and pensions, as a consequence of any constitutional change.
Mr Grimstone said: “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.”