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Scottish wealth firm creates English base to protect against 'Yes' vote

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Scottish wealth firm creates English base to protect against 'Yes' vote

Glasgow-based Spiers & Jeffrey has made contingency plans in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in next month’s Scottish referendum.

The private client stockbroker, founded in 1906, has set up new companies and bank accounts in England, according to the Daily Telegraph, on fears a vote for independence could bring new risks.

The firm’s chairman James McCulloch has written to clients outlining its strategy.

In the letter, seen by the Telegraph, he said the most ‘significant’ issue was what currency an independent Scotland would use.   

McCulloch said if there was deemed to be an immediate risk to investments, the firm would transfer client assets ‘immediately’ to the English companies.

He acknowledged that Yes vote would not bring immediate changes and Scotland would stay ‘within the United Kingdom with the same currency, lender of last resort and regulatory environment for the financial services industry…

‘…[but] were are of course aware that a Yes vote would introduce new risks for us and our clients and so we need to be in a position to minimise these by reacting quickly if necessary.’

He added: ‘We will do whatever action is necessary to safeguard your assets.’

Earlier in the year rival wealth manager Brewin Dolphin demanded clarity, saying the confusion surrounding Scottish independence had made it difficult to plan for clients.

In a letter the firm’s head of investment management, Stephen Ford, said he had a ‘duty’ to inform clients how they could be impacted by a Yes vote.

‘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.’ Ford said.

‘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.’

One of Scotland’s biggest firms, Standard Life, has also begun preparatory work for moving operations to England should Scotland vote to leave the UK.

‘As one of the largest companies headquartered and based in Scotland, it is appropriate that we have carefully thought through the potential consequences if Scotland were to become an independent nation,’ chairman Gerry Grimstone said in February.

Meanwhile, at the start of this month state-owned lender Royal Bank of Scotland warned that a vote for Scottish independence would ‘significantly’ impact the group’s costs and would be likely to have a negative impact on its credit rating.

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