The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is taking steps to prepare for a second referendum on Scottish independence, according to reports.
The bank, headquartered in Edinburgh, is moving its Scottish customers into a separate subsidiary in a bid to leave the bank better equipped to cope with a potential Yes vote in a future referendum.
The new subsidiary will operate under the licence previously ascribed to the Adam and Company private banking business, reports the Sunday Times.
The restructuring is part of the bank’s wider preparation for ‘ring-fencing’ - the new rule for banks to separate high street lending from cross-border investment banking.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had initially hinted at a second referendum being held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
But following the SNP’s loss of 21 seats in June’s general election, the timeframe was pushed back to 2021.
RBS chief Ross McEwan hinted last year that the bank could move its headquarters out of Scotland in the event of a Yes vote.
Mr McEwan claimed that the business would be ‘too big for the economy’ of an independent Scotland, but insisted that shifting the head office location would not have a major impact on jobs.