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Scottish financial sector firms consider move as vote looms

16/09/14

Finance professionals may have some major decisions to make about moving home or job if the Scottish independence referendum leads to some financial services firms relocating.

Financial firms based in Scotland may have to consider whether to carry out their threat to move to London or elsewhere in the UK after opinion polls showed campaigners for independence to be closing in on victory in the referendum later this month.

Companies such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group - which owns Bank of Scotland - saw their share prices plunge after a YouGov poll showed the Yes campaign slightly in the lead, the first time one had indicated the independence campaign is on course for victory.

Such growing uncertainty also saw the value of Sterling fall, with the pound hitting its lowest level against the dollar in ten months on the news. Among the areas of uncertainty are the disagreement between the SNP-run Scottish government and the three main UK parties over whether to have a sterling currency union post-independence.

The Scottish financial institutions would also be obliged under EU law to be located in the jurisdictions where the bulk of their customers live, which would mean having to be based in the remaining UK.

In that situation, it would mean staff at banks, asset management companies, insurers and other financial services providers having to consider moving south, or remaining in Scotland and hoping to get new jobs in the institutions that would try to fill the gap. Alternatively, the movement of such companies to places like London could create new job openings in England.

The situation may lead to a shift from some job patterns identified in the 2014 Marks Sattin Insight Report, as well as the continuation of others.

In the latter case, it was notable that finance professionals had tended not to stay in any one job for very long. The most common period of time anyone had been in their current post was less than a year, which was the case for 36 per cent. A further 29 per cent had been there for one or two years, while 22 per cent had been there for three or four.

If many people move posts as a result of the relocation of businesses, the average time in a post may become even shorter over the next couple of years.

 

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