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Advisers against Scottish independence

The majority of Scottish-based advisers will vote ‘no’ to independence, according to a survey carried out by adviser software specialist, Intelliflo.

When the vote takes place on 18 September, 76 per cent will vote against it, but if the vote is in favour of independence, 74 per cent would like to see Scotland keep the British pound as its currency. The survey of 68 fully qualified advisers based and working in Scotland during May 2014, also asked whether they would like to see an independent Scotland remain part of the EU - 59 per cent said yes, and 41 per cent said no.

Carried out in order to gauge which issues most concern Scottish advisers if the vote for independence is positive, the results also said 24 per cent of advisers surveyed have concerns about understanding the issues relating to compliance, should Scotland become an independent country.

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One in five said handing compliance for existing products is a worry. More than half - 54 per cent - of respondents believe that should Scotland leave the UK, it would have a negative effect on its business, while 12 per cent believe it would be positive. Roughly a third think it would have no impact on business regardless of the results.

Intelliflo has said a ‘yes’ vote is a “potential time bomb” for advisers. Nick Eatock, chief executive of the firm said, “Advisers who think a positive vote for Scottish independence will leave them with business pretty much as normal could be in for a massive shock post 18 September if the vote is ‘yes’.”

“For advisers, not being prepared could present two risks to business. One is reputational and the other is having a situation where unplanned and unpaid for time is spent reacting to clients in a panic about what to do,” he added. Both of which could prove to be extremely costly to businesses in the short to medium term, Mr Eatock said.

Carl Melvin, director of Renfrewshire-based Affluent Financial Planning, said he is concerned the ‘Yes’ campaign has yet to tell anyone how much it will cost. “They’re relying on the Braveheart mentality - all led by emotion rather than consideration.”

“I’m worried, especially with organisations such as Standard Life and Alliance Trust saying they will leave the country. How is it going to be funded?”

Mr Melvin questioned there being a separate Scottish Financial Ombudsman Service, Money Advice Service, Financial Services Consumer Panel, Prudential Regulation Authority or FCA.

“With the vote less than 100 days away, I still don’t know who my regulator would be. None of the questions have been answered,” he added.

Mr Melvin said, “It is totally ludicrous the [Scottish] government thinks it can have all the good stuff of the UK without any of the bad stuff like the costs.”

Graeme Inglis, founder and director of Create and Prosper Financial Services in Kirkcaldy, said it is hard to view Scottish independence as a good thing. “It is hard to see how an additional regulatory body with new regulations can be a positive. I also ultimately wonder the impact on clients. The feedback we get from them is there is a lot of concern.”