At least two money managers are making plans to leave Scotland in anticipation of a Sept. 18 referendum to decide whether the country should become independent.
Standard Life PLC said contingency plans include establishing registered companies to operate outside Scotland, to which it could transfer parts of its operations.
The parent company of £184.1 billion ($306.7 billion) money manager Standard Life Investments said it would potentially move operations from its 189-year home in Edinburgh “to ensure continuity of our businesses' competitive position and to protect the interests of our stakeholders,” said David Nish, CEO of Standard Life, in a statement accompanying its 2013 annual report published Feb. 27.
Mr. Nish said questions about currency and pensions taxation in an independent Scotland need answers.
“So far the industry has been engaging via the trade body Scottish Financial Enterprise, but as the results season rolls out, we will see firms start to make their own positions clear,” said an executive at a separate Scottish money management firm who didn't want to be named. “There is much in what Standard Life is saying that makes sense. However, at the end of the day the referendum is about getting a mandate to become an independent country, and it is not until then that we will begin to get answers to key questions.”
The executive said his “absolutely apolitical” firm is developing contingency plans. “At the end of the day, we will work in our clients' best interests,” he said.