Scottish Independence: How well would a stock exchange with companies head quartered in Scotland perform ?

Lynsey Barber
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A Scottish stock exchange wouldn't be a first (Source: Getty)

If Scotland votes Yes to independence, would there be a Scottish stock exchange and how well would it perform?

In the world of Scottish independence hypotheticals, it's a good one. Just two countries to gain independence have ever decided not to set up their own stock exchange: Kosovo and Turkmenistan.

While there's been no word on whether it would create its own index or not, Markit analyst Simon Colvin has attempted to answer the question of how it would perform.

He concludes, the 12 Scottish headquartered companies in the FTSE 350* have been more volatile in the UK market, but if listed separately they would have performed in line with the broader index.

The index of the “Saltire 12” would have returned 15.3 per cent since the start of 2013 compared to the wider index of UK stocks at 17 per cent.

The standard deviation in daily returns has been a third higher than the FTSE 350 average.

The energy firm SSE would be the largest constituent of a Scottish index and the financial sector would make up a “disproportionate portion, with 40 per cent of the index weight”, though this doesn’t take into account RBS’s decision to move its HQ south of the border, says Colvin.

What about dividends? Well, Scottish companies only account for two per cent of the aggregate FTSE 350 dividend payments, according to number crunchers in Markit’s dividend forecasting group- or about £1.8bn in the current fiscal year.

Again, SSE and financial companies dominate, with SSE accounting for half the aggregated total of dividend payments and Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management for over a third.

In a longer-term study by researchers at the London Business School which looked at 100 Scottish stocks over the last 60 years, the Scottish index, or the Scotsie 100 as they call it, slightly outperformed the UK index if you exclude RBS and HBOS.

The poor performance of the banks and financials brought down the performance of the Scottish index.

Until 1973 when it merged with London, there was a Scottish stock exchange and before that there were four separate stock exchanges in Glasgow, Edinburgh , Aberdeen and Dundee - so while there are few blueprints for Scottish independence, there would be previous form for a Scotsie 100.

*Aberdeen Asset Managment, Firstgroup, SSE, Weir Group, Standard Life, John Wood Group, A.G.Barr, Stagecoach Group, Cairn Energy, RBS, Aggreko, Exova Group.

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