Contingency planning for Scottish Independence Referendum
In response to press speculation in relation to re-domicile, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc ("RBS") confirms that, as set out in the risk disclosures in RBS’s Annual Report, there are a number of material uncertainties arising from the Scottish referendum vote which could have a bearing on the Bank’s credit ratings, and the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which it is subject. For this reason, RBS has undertaken contingency planning for the possible business implications of a ‘Yes’ vote. RBS believes that this is the responsible and prudent thing to do and something that its customers, staff and shareholders would expect it to do.
As part of such contingency planning, RBS believes that it would be necessary to re-domicile the Bank’s holding company and its primary rated operating entity (The Royal Bank of Scotland plc) to England. In the event of a 'Yes' vote, the decision to re-domicile should have no impact on everyday banking services used by our customers throughout the British Isles. However, RBS believes that it would be the most effective way to provide clarity to all our stakeholders and mitigate the risks previously identified in our Annual Report.
The vote on independence is a matter for the Scottish people. Scotland has been RBS's home since 1727. RBS intends to retain a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland to support its customers there and the activities of the whole Bank.
Does this affect me as a customer?
No. There is no impact or change and our everyday banking services continue as usual. In the event of a Yes vote, Scotland would remain part of the UK while a long period of negotiations take place (at least 18 months), and we will have all the same guarantees that exist for customers of other UK banks.
Do I need to do anything?
No. Nothing has changed as a result of today's announcement. In the event of a Yes vote, Scotland would remain part of the UK while a long period of negotiations take place (at least 18 months), and we will have all the same guarantees that exist for customers of other UK banks.
Does the UK deposit guarantee scheme still apply?
Yes. If there is a Yes vote in the independence referendum there will be a long period of time (at least 18 months) while negotiations take place where Scotland will remain part of the UK. During this transition customers would continue to be protected in the same way as other UK banks, including the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which covers deposits up to the value of £85,000 for eligible customers.
Can I still use Scottish bank notes?
Yes. The status of Scottish banknotes has not changed. In the event of a Yes vote Scotland will remain part of the UK while there is a long period of negotiation and Sterling will remain the currency of the UK for this time.
For customer queries about your own accounts, please use the following numbers:
For your accounts in England / Wales: 03457 888 444 (Overseas +44 8705 888 444)
Minicom: 0800 404 6161
For your accounts in Scotland: 03459 000 200 (Overseas +44 1183 732 069)
Minicom: 0800 092 9098
Open 24 hours a day.
Calls may be recorded.
Personal Customers - Telephone Banking
For your accounts in Scotland: 0345 724 2424 (Overseas +44 131 549 8888)
Customers with hearing and speech impairments can contact us by Minicom number
0800 404 6160.
For your accounts in England: 0345 900 0400 (Overseas +44 131 242 0017)
Customers with hearing and speech impairments can contact us by Minicom number
For your accounts in Wales: 0345 900 0300 (Overseas +44 118 373 2181)
Customers with hearing and speech impairments can contact us by Minicom number
0800 092 3201.
All news and opinion
There are 78 comments add yours
- David Sayer
- I am very pleased with this news! Had you not done so, in the event of a yes vote, I would have (reluctantly) taken my money out of your bank! I have banked with your group and it's predecessors for about 40 years!
- Vic Farron
- It is good that RBS has confirmed it will be re-locating to London in the event of a yes vote. It will be a relief to all RBS’s customers and investors, knowing that their money will be safe. RBS is the first of many to confirm they will relocate south of the border.
- One of the main reasons that Scotland is voting on independence is the economical differences between London and the rest of the UK and the political obsession and fear by all parties that London must be the priority and protected at all costs even to the detrimental effect to the rest of the country. The decision taken by a Scottish institute to upsticks from a country that has given it a home from the 17th Century and has capatalised on its brand by using the country name within it to now move to the very city that has been instrumental in creating the atmosphere of a country potentially breaking away from the union is a cowardly disgrace and I am embarrassed today to be associated with RBS......or is it now RBE !!
- oh dear, i think the RBS has done some serious damage to your business in Scotland. There is a very real chance you have just lost somewhere in the region of 40 - 50% of your Scottish customers, if not more. irrespective of the result next Thursday. I am just glad I dont have any shares, not that they are worth much anyway
- Gary Henderson
- I would say there needs to be more specifics too but it's better than what the British media are saying.
- Stephen Hall
- What, specifically, are the "material uncertainties"? Irrespective of your claim that the vote on independence is for the Scottish people, you are clearly indicating RBS does not have the confidence to be a part of an independent Scotland. Is being owned by a Westminster based government have any bearing on your decision?
- Nice to know that the staff will not be effected, and they are only really registering in England… seems like a paperwork shuffle, that is all.
- Sam Mitchell
- Thank you for this clarification, as an RBS customer in England i've been worried about how a yes vote could affect the bank. It's comforting to know that you will still have the protection of the Bank Of England.
- Will this have to be decided by the annual meeting, or is it within the authority of the board?
- To answer 'don't wish to say'
- "How will that affect staff in Scotland?" As the statement says - "RBS intends to retain a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland to support its customers there and the activities of the whole Bank." The BBC also says - "In a letter to staff, the bank's chief executive said there was no intention to move operations or jobs." If the BBC says no jobs will be moved then you can tell this is all just a scare tactic. Makes for a great headline though.
- Andrew Anderson
- please would you release a press statement re the last paragraph to allay fears from customers.
- James Keenan
- Is this largely a paper exercise to protect investors and customers due to market volatility post "YES"? Will people and jobs actually leave Scotland? Will operations return to Scotland once governmental negotiations have taken place and markets have returned to normal? Regards, James Keenan. (concerned voter and customer)
- Does RBS consider within its risk disclosure section the number of customers who will instead opt for the new banking option that will arise in its place, and that operates more robustly, reflecting the values of the people and the place (its customers) rather than a bank that bases decisions which only reinforces the already uncertain fiscal landscape. An Independent Scotland will give Scottish people more choices, and political shock jockeying like these from businesses just makes the difference between the choices much easier for people. With such a momentum for change happening in Scotland, I would not be surprised to see eventually new banking options arise with more contemporary values. Lastly, this is not in response to press speculation, it is in addition to press, there is no new content here which disagrees with the presses original article.
- Chris Kent
- If this move would have no impact on everyday banking services - why do it?
- And if the UK decides to leave the EU - What's the next port of call ?
- Alex Monaghan
- Thanks for clearing this up, RBS! The BBC and others have been running scare stories about RBS plans, which is obviously not good for anyone - except maybe some self-serving politicians!
- Cameron Ratcliffe
- I think this is a very clear and helpful statement. However, I feel you should be concerned that it is not being very accurately reported in the media. It is being seized on by the 'no' side as evidence of corporate hostility to the idea of an independent Scotland and as a risk to thousands of jobs. More worryingly even the impartial BBC is simplifying the statement in a way which could give the same impression.
- David powell
- Hi I would be interested in knowing how many jobs would be lost in the event that this re domiciling took place. I would certainly reconsider my position as a depositor and holder of a business account if this happened.looking forward to you reply david powell
- Why does rbs think it may be a long period off negotiation ?.....how long does it anticpate this to be..?
- Jo McGuire
- Is it not about time RBS renamed itself? After all , it's Scottish in name only and has had it's head office in London for many years.
- Having read this release very carefully, I think it could have been worded in a way that made the bank's position clearer. The proposed re-domicile can be interpreted as something that might happen (i.e. a contingency that remains under consideration) OR as something that definitely will happen in the event of a Yes vote (i.e. the contingencies have been examined and the bank has decided that it will re-domicile). What we need is an explicit statement that makes the position absolutely clear.
- Margaret McGrath
- Thank you for your statement. I had intended to change banks in light of the press announcement but I think I will stay having read the CEO statement
- James Boag
- What about the treasury releasing market sensitive information prior to you reporting to the stock market ?
- Colin Izatt
- If the yes vote wins next Thursday (and there is now a strong possibility they will) I wonder how RBS will react to the decision of many thousands of Scottish individuals deciding to move there banking to The Bank of Scotland. RBS are wrong if they think it is acceptable to desert a country they have had an association with since 1727 just because it does not suit them! I think also there will be a request that they drop Scotland from their name.
- bob steel
- Will you rename yourself the bank of England? You will be an english bank in essence so you should be in name also.
- Alexander Hodge
- Does the UK deposit guarantee scheme still apply after Scottish Independence day?
- What a lot of gobbledegook! What does this mean? If there are inaccuracies in the media reports (BBC this morning and elsewhere) stating that the RBS is planning to move its headquarters to London in the event of a "yes" vote, with resulting job losses in Scotland, the RBS needs to say so in clear, everyday language, and to issue a statement across the media.
- John Thackery
- Shouldn't you change your name in that case? RBE
- Sandy Johnston
- I am not happy with the bank. Poor timing to release this information at this point. No doubt politically inspired...hope it backfires big time, and if you do relocate your head office to England here is one customer who will be seeking a new bank ending a 35 year relationship.
- David Scott
- I have to agree with the majority of people in that the report of the RBS departure from Scotland following the YES vote has been severely misquoted and as such I would expect the Bank to issue a strongly worded statement to the press to indicate that it would not be a mass exodus of its workforce to the other country merely a registration issue and that it remains neutral in terms of both campaign parties vote canvassing and that it will respect the right of the people to choose. Unless of course you are using smoke and mirrors to try and reduce the loss of custom should you follow through with the reported outcome
- People! This is purely a paper exercise. Each country has a credit rating, which impacts the cost of borrowing for a bank located in that country. The UK credit rating impacts RBSs credit rating hence its ability to borrow and the interest rate it will pay. Scotland does not (yet) have a rating, hence uncertainty. And when it does get a rating, it will likely be worse than the UK rating, hence cost of borrowing for RBS will rise, hence makes sense for RBS to "relocate" to England.
- ian henderson
- Please let us all know who we should vote for at the next general election. You have put your nose into politics, so why not go all the way
- Kevin James
- Clearly this is a media stunt by anti-independence Westminster, using a near nationalised RBS to do its dirty work. RBS knows full well that it has played its part in an orchestrated assault by the "NO" Campaign to undermine confidence and the democratic process. The memory of this will weigh heavy on the minds of individual and business customers of RBS long after the September 18th vote. Frankly, the public perception of the whole London financial centre is at its lowest ever, the RBS announcement so conveniently timed and delivered with the assistance of the Westminster Treasury and the state owned BBC will backfire spectacularly.
- Mrs Brockway
- Perhaps you should change the name. Perhaps it is time I pursued those mis-selling and mis-handling cases.
- Michael Lynch
- I think RBS has been deliberately misrepresented by the BBC and much of the press, with possible loss of custom in Scotland. Since the move would only be of the location of its registered Group HQ, to benefit from the certainty of support from the BofE and UK/rUK government There would still be the Scottish banking network and its operational support and HQ functions I'm surprised there's no mention of moving Group HO functions to London though - I'd have thought the BofE would want them there. Unless they've quietly moved already?
- Mr Gray
- Disgraceful timing - a disillusioned and formerly loyal customer.
- John Jamieson
- I was on the point of moving my accounts to another bank due to concern over the effect that your move would have on my savings and access to them after independence. It appears from the media that there will be a wholesale exodus of staff from Scotland after a "Yes", and your statement regarding the transfer shows that the move has been blown up out of all proportion to what will happen in the short to medium term. I would like to see an official statement issued by RBS contradicting the reports on TV and in the papers in order to show good faith and reassure ordinary account holders, as opposed to those in the corporate sector who should be able to ascertain the true position.
- Ian H
- And what happens if Scotland does get the Yes vote and becomes more prosperous than the remainder of the UK, will it mean moving back?
- Considering that RBS is some 63% owned by the UK Government and given that Scotland can realistically claim less than 9% of the UK's family silver, it is fair to say that RBS is about 57% owned by the rUK. Therefore, RBS is Scottish only in name, really. Therefore, it makes sense that, in the event of a Yes vote, both the corporate domicile and the jobs that are serving the rUK should ideally move to the rUK. That is not to say that some of those jobs should not be outsourced to Scotland if such a proposition proves commercially viable. However, it would be acceptable that the rUK savers be subjected to Scottish financial regulators, which is why the domicile of RBS should be moved to rUK in the event of a Yes vote.
- anne tempest
- disgraceful timing rbs
- George McGill
- So what will happen after the transition period of 18 months when Scotland becomes independent if a yes vote wins , will jobs and our money be affected
- The Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed it will no longer be based in Scotland if Scotland becomes the sort of country that should really have a royal bank." A spokesman said: “We’re 81% owned by the UK government so it’s not like we’re going to move to Hawaii." “So, London it is. We are definitely going.” But SNP leader Alex Salmond said: “No you’re not.” The spokesman added: “Yes we are. We’ve just said so.” Salmond insisted: “No, you’re not. You’re just trying to scare people.” The spokesman said: “We’re not actually trying to scare people, we’re running a business. But if people are scared, it’s probably because it’s a bit scary." “Because it’s true.” Salmond then accused the spokesman of working for MI6 before producing an ‘incriminating dossier’ consisting of random cuttings from local newspapers. The RBS spokesman said: “Is everything okay?”
- Concerned Customer
- I am so pleased you have finally issued a formal statement to re-assure your customers. I cannot believe you have taken so long to do so. As a British customer and saver I have been worrying for weeks and seriously considered moving my accounts to another bank. You should have a large statement displayed over your website to re-assure all your customers. Even this page is very hard to find, and when I clicked on the 'posting guidelines' I lost my text and had to repeat my entire comment.
- so after taking our tax money for the bail out, rbs ups sticks to cosy up with westminster.i have been thinking of leaving rbs for a while now and this is the final nail in the coffin.for the british government to use a massive publicly owned banking institution to bring fear to voters is shameless and smacks of desperation.this is just dirty political propaganda to release this statement just before the referendum.
- Anthony Savin
- Thank you for clarifying your position this gives me confidence that the RBS is taking action to protect the interests of all its customers and investors.
- Douglas A Faxon
- This seems a bit confusing to me , what if anything will happen to the proposed changes in England to form the new bank as per guidelines we have had for many months.
- C W Squirec
- This is good news in a bad situation. The best result for Scotland and for the rest of us in the United Kingdom is to maintain the Union.
- William Fleming
- I have been with the RBS for many years and this decision to break ties with Scotland and move to England at the late stage in the independence debate for Scotland you are attempting to influence how people will vote on the 18 September
- Mrs Robertson
- What if it is YES and there IS a currency union , would these steps be necessary? Standard and Poors seem t think that Scotland will have a great credit rating and seeing as UK.GOV have been down graded, I think I may have to make contingency plans of my own. In the event that you do re-domicile as you put it. I wouldn't want MY money t be in the rUK with a poorer credit rating than Scotland. I have faith in Scotland that she will succeed after all she has been the leader of innovation throughout the world forever. Including starting the BoE was not the first ever bank not in Scotland?
- Bruce Mills
- Thanks for clarifying the Banks position. With the prospect of being domiciled in a small country that could possibly lack a Lender of Last Resort, I didn't see any other option but to move to rUK. Uncertainty is the last thing I need in a Bank. For those people that are criticising RBS' decision, I don't think they really understand what the consequences of Scottish independence will be to the Scottish economy and in particular their sizeable financial sector.
- Joseph Alison
- Your announcement has been seen as a political move to support the NO campaign where we appreciate that you have stated most of the work will stay in Scotland. We as long standing customers of the bank feel a more positive statement by the bank in the national papers would help to counter the continuing claims that RBS is moving all its staff not just its registration. By not making a clear statement disassociating the bank from the claims made by the Treasury and the NO campaign . You are contributing to the fear campaign and this must potentially affect your business in Scotland. The bank will be seen as the major contributor to a NO victory Where we apprecate the bank is closely tied to the treasury and Westminster we still feel you have a responsibility to your Scottish customers and staff they should not be bullied by the scare stories you are helping to popogate by not positively disassociating the bank from the Treasury and NO scare stories re your banks future in London.
- Kenneth Melvin
- The way you have issued negative comments about your 'contingency' plans reeks of a bank now 80% owned and controlled by the British government. I have therefore moved all of my funds from RBS to the Bank of Scotland which has stayed out of this political decision of the Scottish people.
- Gordon Smith
- If you read this quite carefully, they have said "RBS intends to retain a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland", however this is merely an "INTENTION". It may not happen that way. Careful what you wish for, because the grass is not always greener - or it may take a long time for the colour to come back.
- Arlene Stenhouse
- I would be happy for the bank to remind themselves that they in fact belong to the tax payer which are based all over the uk and in the event that this does happen I will remove all funds and move to a bank or financial institute in Scotland.
- Heather Turnbull
- Do you really believe your scottish customers will stay with you if you move to England? This is The Royal Bank of Scotland not England. Obviously it's the 'no' voters who are saying they will stay with you, but in the event of a yes vote they will be in the minority. I think your planned move is disgraceful and unacceptable.
- Paul Galletta
- If independance does take place and these contingency plans are invoked, what if any head office functions would be lost from Scotland?
- Brian Watters
- If RBS leave Scotland there will be plenty of organisations waiting in the wings to snap up their business. They are already now viewed as only Scottish in name , if they choose to issue warnings and threaten jobs then (however discreetly) people will quite happily go elsewhere. Maybe the Scottish government can sell their percentage of the taxpayers stake in RBS and use those funds to start a real National Bank of Scotland.
- Stephen Quinn
- In the event of a yes vote, the EU rules regarding banks and other financial institutions has been to ensure they have a registered office in the country where they carry out the greatest business. What I do not understand is the political capital being made from this and the collusion of RBS in engendering such fear and alarm among ordinary Scottish people. I find this extremely distasteful and intend to move my accounts from RBS
- Mark Gaucher
- As an Englishman, a Tax Payer (therefore majority share holder) and customer of RBS. I would just like to state that: In the event of a yes vote I strongly object to RBS maintaining a large work force north of the boarder. You should also rename to RBE!
- Stuart Baxter
- Does this mean that if RBS does "re-domicile" and there is another crash such as 2008, it will be the bank of England that will have to bail it out (therefore English taxpayers) and not the Scottish taxpayers?
- William Guthrie
- You have still not answered my question as to how many accounts were closed with RBS as a result of the original statement !
- Martin Worthington
- Following a european competition review I along with a number of customers of English branches of RBS elected to move our accounts to scotland branches rather than have to move our accounts to Santander. It has always been my intention to retain my banking connection with RBS as a former employee and life long customer. I must however review this business connection in the event of my account being held in an independent scotland. I will in this event be looking to relocate my account to a British branch.
- William Sinclair
- My whole family are royal bank customers and this spans from my mother @ 83 who was an original share holder in the late 60s till now , to my 11 son. This statement re moving the head office to England just stinks of Westminster interfering and pressure from no 11 . The RBS was a very successful bank in the 60s till the late 90s, George Osborne is the biggest reason for Yes vote. Millions spent on the RBS village in Edinburgh what a waste ? This is yet another scare campaign from the chancellors office stop using the RBS as A political tool William Sinclair
- The short of it is the taxpayer owns the bank and was bailed out by our money, if wish they could all remeburse us before jumping ship so much for loyalty , it has the name Scotland in it's title .
- Duncan Hedges
- I have banked with Nat West for 40 years but if Scotland votes Yes I will leave Nat West immediately and transfer to an English bank. A British bank would be fine but Scotland will not be British if it goes with yes. Despite your statement I do not trust the banking establishment to protect my money as no one really knows how it will play out. what a shame.
- @ casualdrifter - The long periods of negotiation have been agreed by both the YES and NO camps, and the 18months (if not longer) is how long it is anticipated to negotiate all the needful, whatever the result. It's not RBS that is making up these timescales, and has been posted for a substantial time for all to see.
- Sam B., Horsham
- If Scotland votes YES, I shall immediately move my current account to an English bank. If NO, I shall take my time about moving. As a British bank with most of your customers in England, and with your shares trading on the London Stock Exchange, I am most disappointed at your lack of enthusiasm for the Union cause.
- I live in Scotland. If there is a Yes vote I do not want my assets with RBS converted to groats or whatever. I want to keep Pound Sterling. It is not clear whether RBS will support this. If not I will bank elsewhere.
- What a disgrace that a 'Scottish' institution should turn its back on its country when its support is most needed. At the very least on online vote from your customers, with all the facts, should have been taken beforehand. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum I am strongly considering taking my business elsewhere. I agree with a previous post that this bank should now change its name to RBE!
- Mr C
- I will be removing my money from the bank should there be a yes vote. Regardless of whether the bank registers in England. If they move the bulk of their operations to the remainder of the UK I may reconsider. I do not want my money in a foreign bank nor do I wish to be paying foreign wages.
- John Fritsche
- As a holder of RBS bonds, how will a potential move to London affect the bond ratings of bonds in the 2020 to 2022 date range. My bonds where for investment and I am a US citizen. Hopefully the bonds will hold their rating and the premium there are now at compared to when I bought them. Thanks for a reply on your site.
- With the government instruction to split operations between Scotland, RBS and England, Williams and Glyns, already under way not sure I wholly understand why the executive have a need to state a move this early on in the process.
- Frank Wong
- I suggest Scotland to switch over to Canadian Tire money.
- My husband is an Englishman who's lived in Scotland half his life and unfortunately banks with you. RBS should be ashamed of it's stance and I can assure you we will be transferring our accounts to another bank. Scotland doesn't deserve you and no doubt you've alienated at least 45% of it.
- philip alexander
- We will not forget what you done to Scotland . Hope you're business suffers as I will be moving my mortgage as soon as possible.youre bank treated us scots with contempt .I realise i am only one customer but think i will not be the last.I know you will say it was for the sake of your share holders but i pay taxes too and i can't remember getting a vote!!
- Colin mcneil
- Outrageous, politically motivated timing, after 36 years ive now switched my CA. Byee.
- Mary Shortridge
- As soon as I can we will be closing our accounts with you. You scaremongered the people of Scotland who have saved all their working days for old age. You won't need to worry. You seats in the House of Lords is quite safe methinks, hope it was worth it for your betrayal!
- John Clark
- As an alternative answer to Q2 above - off course you need to do something! Move your account to a bank that has faith in Scotland and the Scottish people. We should have got rid of England when we had the chance. Shameful behaviour by an institution with 'Scotland' in its name.