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Brewin demands Scottish 'Yes' clarity amid client confusion

Brewin demands Scottish 'Yes' clarity amid client confusion

Brewin Dolphin has said the confusion surrounding Scottish independence is making it difficult to plan accordingly for clients.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Brewin head of investment management Stephen Ford (pictured) said while his firm remained neutral on Scottish independence, his firm had a ‘duty’ to inform clients who they could be impacted by a ‘Yes’ vote at September’s referendum.

‘We have maintained a strictly neutral stance on September’s vote. But we do have a duty to ask the questions about how our clients will be affected, positively or negatively, by a potential 'Yes’ vote on Scottish independence,’ Ford wrote.  

‘There are practical questions that need to be considered as we aim to support our clients through potentially very significant change, whilst providing the level of service that they expect.

‘Many of these questions are yet to be answered in detail, and yet would have a huge impact on business in Scotland including on the nation’s significant financial services industry.’

As Scotland’s largest wealth manager with four offices and 350 employees controlling £5 billion, Brewin wants more guidance on how interest rates will be set and how savings and pensions would be taxed in an independent Scotland.

It also wants to know how firms with positions in both Scotland and rest of the UK will be policed and how much this dual regulation is likely to cost.

‘Brewin Dolphin would like more guidance on how interest rates will be set, how savings and pensions will be taxed, and how companies like ours would be regulated, given their position in both Scotland and the rest of the UK, with the costs of dual regulation that this implies,’ Ford said.

‘Will financial services companies have to pay two separate compensation levies, and what will happen to the scheme aimed at auto-enrolling employees into pensions — will they be transferred into a Scottish scheme?’

Ford said the lack of clarity has made it increasingly challenging to plan for clients based in Scotland.

‘The position on these apparently technical questions — which is still unclear — makes it more difficult to plan, or to advise savers on how to position their finances,’ Ford said.

‘The Scottish question is already having an impact on how portfolios are managed as some factor in possible liquidity, currency and interest rate risks.

‘We will continue to press for clarification, and to do the best for our customers throughout this period of considerable uncertainty.’

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