Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management (including Scottish Widows Investment Partnership), has backed the economy of an independent Scotland to be a success. The entrepreneur, who co-founded the company in 1983, said last night to the BBC that “An independent Scotland would be a great success.”
Gilbert’s company is one of the largest business organisations in Scotland with substantial holdings of over £350 billion. It’s success is built on both its intellectual capital and Scotland’s advantages in the financial services sector.
Gilbert’s vote of confidence in Scotland’s strengths was matched by Sir Angus Grossart, Chair of Edinburgh bank Nobel Grossart, who said that the referendum’s impact on market instability has been “severely overstated”. He continued “To hear some of the comments you almost expect people to be predicting a plague of locusts or mice next.”
Royal Bank of Scotland contradicts No Campaign
Today the No Campaign’s focus on company registration has been substantially over stated.
Last night the Royal Bank of Scotland made it clear that they do not intend to move operations or jobs. They will “retain a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland”.
Ross McEwan, RBS Chief Executive, said registration “is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office. It is not an intention to move operation or jobs.”
Any move would of course be a gigantic waste of money and time to relocate physical assets, including staffing and buildings. This would be an even greater waste given that these costs are substantially lower in Scotland than London and the South-East.
This is a familiar pattern to Business for Scotland’s explanation last February that contingency planning in relation to legal structures should not be confused with investment. The No Campaign has confused registration with business activity.
Business case for independence grows
Meanwhile an increasing number of high-profile business people have now backed the Yes Campaign, as the polls grow ‘too close to call’. Business for Scotland released another series of company directors and employers in the media yesterday.
These intervention follow others from within the financial services sector. In March a host of finance sector figures wrote in the Financial Times that “There are certainly opportunities to attract more jobs and investment to Scotland with the powers of independence and significant opportunities in an independent Scotland for financial services.”
Financial services such as pensions management, investment funds and building societies remain crucial to the economic system. Scotland’s wider strength in this area will be beneficial for an independent country.
Financial services experience will contribute to a strong position on affairs including borrowing on the international credit markets, negotiating and managing shares of national assets and liabilities, and constructing plans for investment, growth and innovation.
This is one of Scotland’s many economic strengths – alongside Scotland’s vast natural resources, skilled population, links to trading markets and excellent products and services.
With full economic control Scotland will be a wealthy country with the ability to create more jobs and investment opportunities.