ROYAL Bank of Scotland today warned of a “material adverse effect” on its business if Scots vote for independence.
The Edinburgh-based bank, which is 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer, gave the warning as it reported a 93 per cent rise in first-half profits before tax to £2.65 billion. It said independence “could significantly impact the group’s costs and would have a material adverse effect on the group’s businessfinancial condition, results of operations and prospects”.
The bank said earlier in the year that it was considering its options should there be a Yes vote in the September 18 referendum.
But RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton said in June the bank would maintain a neutral position in the run up to the vote.
Speaking at the bank’s annual meeting at its Gogarburn headquarters in Edinburgh, Sir Philip said: “We maintain a continuous dialogue with the Bank of England, UKFI [the body that manages the Government’s 80pc stake] and the UK Government, and the Scottish government on these matters.”
And he insisted that in the event of a Yes vote, nothing would change the day after the referendum.
However, Bank of England governor Mark Carney told MPs in March there was “a distinct possibility” RBS would have to relocate if Scotland voted Yes because of EU rules requiring a bank’s HQ to be where it has the bulk of its activities.
The governor replied: “It’s a distinct possibility but I shouldn’t prejudge it. It depends on their arrangements as well, if they were to adjust more into Scotland the mind and management of the institution.”