The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has confirmed it will re-domicile to England if the Scots vote to abandon the United Kingdom on 18 September.
In a statement issued this morning RBS said:
RBS has undertaken contingency planning for the possible business implications of a 'Yes' vote. RBS believes that 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 that it would be necessary to re-domicile the bank's holding company and its primary rated operating entity (The Royal Bank of Scotland plc) to England.
RBS said the decision should to re-domicile would have no impact on everyday banking services. Lloyds, Standard Life and the Clydesdale Bank have also said they will move to London in case of a Yes vote. Pensions giant Standard Life added its voice to the debate this week, saying it was planning for "new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so".
Survation's latest poll for Scottish newspaper the Daily Record puts the No vote in the lead on 53 per cent and Yes six points behind on 47 per cent. RBS, which is 81 per cent owned by the UK government, said the matter of independence was for the Scottish people to decide, but that it would retain a "significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland" to serve customers.
RBS has been based in Scotland since 1727. Yesterday Alex Salmond described press reports of banks heading south of the border as "nonsense" and "scaremongering".