Banking giants Lloyds and RBS have confirmed they could move their headquarters to England if Scotland votes to leave the UK in the referendum on 18 September.
The banks, which are partly owned by the UK taxpayer after being bailed out in the wake of the financial crisis, have both issued statements outlining plans to re-domicile if the Yes campaign wins.
A Lloyds spokeswoman says: “While the scale of potential change is currently unclear, we have contingency plans in place which include the establishment of new legal entities in England.
“This is a legal procedure and there would be no immediate changes or issues which could affect our business or our customers.
“There will be a period between the referendum and the implementation of separation, should a yes vote be successful, that we believe should be sufficient to take any necessary action.”
An RBS spokesman says: “There are a number of material uncertainties arising from the Scottish referendum vote which could have a bearing on the bank’s credit ratings, and the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which it is subject. For this reason, RBS has undertaken contingency planning for the possible business implications of a yes vote. RBS believes this is the responsible and prudent thing to do and something that its customers, staff and shareholders would expect it to do.
“As part of such contingency planning, RBS believes it would be necessary to redomicile the bank’s holding company and its primary rated operating entity (the Royal Bank of Scotland plc) to England.”
Clydesdale Bank has also announced plans to re-register in England in the event of a yes vote in order to mitigate risks and provide increased certainty for customers during the independence negotiations and beyond.
Chief executive David Thorburn says: “We have strong roots in Scotland and we remain fully committed to our customers, staff and the communities in which we operate. Any change to the company’s legal structure would have no impact on the vast majority of the bank’s staff.”