From wikireferendum
Jump to: navigation, search
Relocation of registered offices

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc ("RBS") confirmed on 11th September 2014 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... As part of... 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[1].
In a statement Lloyds Banking Group said
"While the scale of potential change is currently unclear, we have contingency plans in place which include the establishment of new legal entities in England[2]."

It had previously been indicated that RBS and Lloyds Banking Group might be forced under European Law [3] to relocate their registered offices from Edinburgh to London in case of Scottish independence [4]

Bailing out the banks


  1. RBS: Contingency planning for Scottish Independence Referendum 11 Sept 2014 (retrieved same day)
  2. Guardian: Banks say: we'll leave Scotland if the independence vote is a yes 10 September 2014
  3. Council Directive 95/26/EC of 29 June 1995
  4. BBC News: ,,EU law may force RBS and Lloyds to become English(Robert Peston)

Relocation of registered offices

Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland both have their registered offices in Scotland, but Lloyds has its head office in London[1], and RBS has two head offices, one in London, and one in Scotland [2].

Responding to the announcements by RBS and Lloyds, Alex Salmond on 11 September said:
"They are about brass plaques."[3]
In a statement to staff on 11 September 2014, the RBS Chief Executive said
"This is a technical procedure ... not an intention to move operations or jobs[4].".
Likewise Lloyds Banking Group stated
"This is a legal procedure and there would be no immediate changes or issues which could affect our business or our customers[5]".

Bailing out the banks

The No side's arguments about the banks are best summed up in the following comment[6]
"You can’t argue both that a go-alone Scotland would be as overbanked as Iceland, and that RBS and Lloyds leaving spells disaster: it’s one or the other."
In fact it is neither. Relocation of the registered offices of Lloyds and RBS to London means that there is now no problem over Scotland "bailing out" the banks[7]. In any event, Scotland would not have had to underwrite banking liabilities alone. Banks operating in more than one country can be given a joint bailout by multiple governments[8]. The Federal Reserve System lent more than US$1 trillion to British banks, including $446 billion to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), because they had operations in the United States [9]


  1. In the case of Lloyds Bank, the location of its registered office can be traced back to the sale of the Trustee Savings Bank in 1986, when it decided to adopt a Scottish legal domicile at Henry Duncan House, George Street, Edinburgh - named after the founder of the first savings bank in Dumfries-shire in 1810. When Lloyds took over TSB, it chose to adopt the Scottish domicile, there being no regulatory difference between Scotland and England. The situation remained unchanged when it absorbed Halifax Bank of Scotland, except that the brass plate moved to the Bank of Scotland headquarters on the Mound, Edinburgh
  2. Robert Peston: EU law may force RBS and Lloyds to become English (BBC News)
  3. >BBC News: RBS confirms London HQ move if Scotland votes 'Yes' 11Sept 2014 (retrieved same day)
  4. BBC News: RBS confirms London HQ move if Scotland votes 'Yes'
  5. Guardian: Banks say: we'll leave Scotland if the independence vote is a yes 10 September 2014
  6. Guardian: A go-alone Scottish economy is viable – but would it be any better? by Aditya Chakrabortty September 15, 2014
  7. The UK Treasury had issued a report on 20 May 2013 which claimed that Scotland's banking systems would be too big to ensure depositor compensation in the event of a bank failure (Scotland analysis: Financial services and banking, HM Government, 20 May 2014, Executive Summary pp 6-7) The report indicated that Scottish banks would have assets worth 1,254% of GDP, which is more than Cyprus and Iceland before the last global financial crisis. It suggested Scottish taxpayers would each have £65,000 of potential liabilities during a hypothetical bailout in Scotland, versus £30,000 as part of the UK.
  8. Scotland has thought the options through and counted the cost - letter from Prof Andrew Hughes Hallett and Prof Drew Scott, Financial Times January 12, 2104. In this manner, Fortis Bank and the Dexia Bank were bailed out collectively by France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
  9. "RBS no longer in debt to US Federal Reserve". CFO World. IDG Inc. 2 December 2010