Standard Procedure

Standard Life – Standard Procedure. What did you expect from a financial company – altruism? Presented with any change they can’t manage themselves, they panic. Oh yes, the do have to plan for eventualities, but they don’t need to make public announcements coordinated with a political campaign.

Notice how early warnings were issued to selected media including the BBC’s Robert Peston who worked hand-in-glove with Alistair Darling’s Treasury during the financial meltdown to get daily exclusives. He was on air this morning claiming special access – who would organise that? Is it significant that this “politically neutral” company was in recent weeks having its executive board undergo media training in case they faced interview?

And on Radio Four the thunderclap of doom was applied by James Naughtie from Edinburgh, transformed for the day from news presenter into Scotland correspondent, analysing the implications and calling Standard Life one of the Edinburgh “family”. The tone was set by the Today presenter whose opening question to him was: ‘So Jim, just how bad is this for the Yes campaign?’ That question tells you the BBC already had its narrative in place otherwise, as an impartial interviewer, she would have asked: ‘What’s the significance of this?’ It’s a subtle difference which gives the game away – London has made its mind up and is thrilled at having the nationalists on the run.

But are they right? For as Peston himself writes: ‘What brought this issue to a head for the company was the recent declaration by Chancellor George Osborne, Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls and the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, that they would all oppose formal monetary union with Scotland.’ Exactly. The contrived opposition to the logical course for the currency is the reason there is uncertainty yet it seems Standard Life is blaming instead the lack of a credible alternative. It seems no matter what Scotland does, it loses.

But there are unanswered questions here. This is NOT a declaration of departure, it is a statement outlining an alternative approach, presumably in response to shareholder requests for clarity caused originally by the independence campaign but deliberately fanned – undeniably so – by the British government refusing to negotiate in good faith as any administration should when  faced with a non-violent, constitutional democratic movement for change.

These questions of uncertainty are clearly the responsibility of the No side designed as a political response, not an economic response.

I see nothing in the words issued which indicates that this company has sought clarification from either side.

Have they asked the Scottish government for reassurance on currency or just read the papers?

Have they asked for private discussions on the tax regime?

How much will it cost to relocate, to make redundancies and find new premises?

How can it operate in 50 countries with dozens of currencies but not in Scotland?*

Have they read the White Paper, which has a long and detailed outline of the regulatory proposals?

Have they asked the British government why it has ruled out a currency union, consequently putting the company in this predicament? I

If they are concerned about EU membership, why haven’t they mentioned the UK IN/Out referendum, or doesn’t that concern them?

Have they asked the British to comply with the EU’s offer of legal clarification on membership?

Has Standard Life consulted its own staff? Or has it unsettled them by openly discussing leaving? Is this corporate responsibility, is it duty of care?

I think the answers are all negative. Yet they have gone ahead to form holding companies in England. That is the clearest indication that far from neutrality, Standard Life has adopted an active programme of anglicisation and set its face against independence. Interestingly, nobody on either side is saying otherwise. They have identified themselves as English first and Scottish second, because they are by definition happy with whatever London decides on regulation, interest rates or taxation as they haven’t raised any questions with them, yet we know there will be tax increases whoever wins the next general election and Europe is moving towards a unified regulatory system and we don’t know if London be in or out. Only they’ll have to think fast if there’s a Yes vote.

It does seem a pity since what they company is calling for, as in clarification on these issues, is exactly what the Scottish government has demanded but has not received.

And doesn’t it turn your stomach as a Scot that a company started here and which has traded on its Scottish roots can dismiss its origins and associations midway through a political campaign? Have they no inherent pride in their company’s background…no belief that the Scots will find a way of sorting out our constitutional issues…have they forgotten how Scots rallied to support their mutual status 14 years ago, including all parties of MSPs?

You can understand a company sitting down after a democratic vote and looking at their interests but when you are Scottish by definition, it is surely incumbent to treat your own country with more respect than this. But then we know how debased the idea of finance has become in Scotland when the same greedy types ran RBS and sold out Bank of Scotland to Halifax. And after the Crash, there can few, if any, who retain admiration of any kind for the incompetents and crooks and overreached themselves in search of more profit.

This has become the recent hallmark of Standard Life. You may remember that while Scots suffered austerity, the executives under David Nish, pocketed millions in pay and bonuses.

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Nish saw his pay packet almost double, just months after the firm announced 490 job losses. He received a basic salary of £720,000, a bonus of  £1.05 million, pension contributions of £179,000 and a further ‘benefit’ of £17,000. Unite union official Paul Neilson said: ‘These pay levels are obscene.’

Pat Connolly, Chase De Vere, said payouts on endowment policies have again been cut and overall returns remain much lower than they were five or six years ago .

‘Standard Life remains an average, middle-of-the-road with-profits provider…existing investors should take this opportunity to review their policies.”

And they have form in this duplicitous handling of customers and their own millionaire salaries. In March 2007 the company announced it would cut 1000 jobs in an attempt to save an additional £100 million per year in costs and a month later it was highlighted in the company’s annual report that three of Standard Life’s top executives were awarded more than £5 million in pay. You can see who these people are really interest in and it isn’t the Scots.

They haven’t been scrupulous either in their activities. A few years ago they were fined for dodgy behaviour. The Financial Services Authority hit them with a £2.45 million fine over the Sterling Pension fund fiasco, in which a fund was advertised   as wholly invested in cash when in fact it was heavily invested in floating rate notes. Guess what? No one lost their job. ‘The FSA has identified that there were flaws in both our systems and controls however they have not identified any particular individuals. No heads are going to roll on the back of this fine from the FSA,’ they said. So, if we ever were dealing with moneymen on the side of the angels – and they did welcome devolution in in the 90’s – those days are long gone. Profit before patriotism is their motto.

We can expect more of this pro-Union outing. Weir Group will follow them I think. You know Weir, engineers and bribers of Saddam.

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‘Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group admitted paying kickbacks to the dictator’s government a decade ago to secure lucrative business contracts. The High Court in Edinburgh heard this had contravened the Oil For Food programme aimed at helping Iraqis. Judge Lord Carloway also confiscated £13.9m of illegal profits from Weir.’ (I think it gives a little perspective when they lecture us about our democratic responsibilities). You could also remember that they can avoid tax – unlike you – by using offshore subsidiaries. From the Guardian: Lord Robertson, the former defence secretary and Nato secretary general, is a non-executive director of the Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group, which has subsidiaries in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands. He is also deputy chairman of the board of the Russian oil company TNK-BP, registered in the British Virgin Islands. Not bad for a former GMB official, eh?

I liked the following quote from 2000 when financial companies were hinting they were unhappy about devolution. Happily Standard Life and Scottish Widows indicated they were relaxed and plain George Robertson MP said: “It’s a bombshell which blows apart the Tory campaign efforts in Scotland since it shows that Scottish business is not taken in by Treasury scaremongering.” Would he like to repeat that today?

I think what the Standard Life business does is confirm for the fearties that they were right to be concerned. They would have considered a Yes so long as nobody objected and waved them through but they haven’t the stomach for their own independence. They would always wilt and vote No. But the real prize here is that it confirms more surely than ever that No is corporate, moneyed and selfish. Its largest support is outside Scotland, it’s money comes from the millionaires, even it’s boss Alistair Darling fills his pockets with corporate dosh on top of his full-time MP’s salary.

This is diktat. It is a sharp reminder of how Britain is structured and how it works and why we must get out and rebuild our own country. Corporate entities like Standard Life don’t care about Scotland or the Scots as they have confirmed today. They care about profits and will go anywhere and do anything to get them. They epitomize everything the burgeoning new democracy movement stands against. Forget their threats, they are  another reason for voting Yes.

*One of those countries is Canada where the Standard Life head office is located in Montreal, Quebec, a place with a long history of separatists government and campaigning. It hasn’t bothered SL. Quebec even has different tax rates for personal, sales and corporate purposes and there isn’t a cheep of complaint from Standard Life who manage just fine.

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61 thoughts on “Standard Procedure

  1. What company based in Scotland would up sticks and move to a country which is threatening to remove itself from the biggest market in the world ?
    Maybe,they know something we don’t.

    • Correct me if I am wrong, but The Weir Group, I believe, were bought over by Jim MacColl? That was after the Iraq affair. Don’t think Jim ( a staunch Yes man) will be pleased at your misinfo.
      Look forward to comments/corrections.

  2. Nice one Derek! I just love the way you put things in perspective. What is really sickening is how the BBC is riddled with unionist apparatchiks. It’s reputation both nationally and internationally is going down the tubes. The wee haw-haw manny could scarcely contain his delight on the Today programme. What a sad man – who will care what he thinks after his appalling performances on GMS?

  3. Picture 2017 In/Out European Referendum

    “We are opening offices in Frankfurt/Paris in case of an Out vote in UK”

    Corporates corrupting democracy.

    They will try to influence both to their benefit.

  4. And every hour, on the hour, Radio Scotland plays its part. Standard Life WILL leave Scotland in the event of a Yes.

  5. ” Lord Robertson, the former defence secretary and Nato secretary general, is a non-executive director of the Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group, which has subsidiaries in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands. He is also deputy chairman of the board of the Russian oil company TNK-BP, registered in the British Virgin Islands. Not bad for a former GMB official, eh?” and we have Naughtie as BBC cheerleader: It will be fascinating to see “what difference” Ms Smith will make: I fear, not a lot!

  6. i would have thought after the financial mess the management of standard life got themselves into before the banking crash i personally have lost many thousands of pounds through their total mismanagement this almost led the company to the brink of a takeover ,i thought they would have learned a few lessons but no looks like the same stupid people are in charge , this statement is either a thinly veiled warning to the staff ;vote yes and we are off and your job is going as well ,or its yet another tactic of the state to influence the outcome of a democratic vote this has the smell of the same tactics used to crush scotlands Darien project by political and financial brute force history repeats itself the same oxford educated tried and tested method (yea even unto the middle ages)

  7. Yesterday’s edition of Scottish Review had both the sublime and the ridiculous in one edition.
    The sublime – Kenneth Roy.
    http://www.scottishreview.net/KennethRoy147A.shtml?utm_source=Sign-Up.to&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8427-313353-BBC+bias+is+already+a+referendum+issue+
    The ridiculous – George Robertson
    http://www.scottishreview.net/GeorgeRobertson147.shtmlA

    The ridiculous one was so bad that I, a complete novice could see the flaws, the untruths and the contradictions. A heavy hitter like Derek would be able to savage it with gusto.

    Derek, I don’t know if you monitor these responses and I also don’t know if you do requests but even if it’s just this one time please tear the lying hypocritical oaf to shreds.

    • This Lord George Robertson, who at the Abertay University Debate (captured on film), said Scotland had no Culture, and that meant it was British, therefore we should vote No.

  8. “Europe is moving towards a unified regulatory system and we don’t know if London be in or out” – SL are probably banking (sorry about that) that London will be out and their regime will be a lot softer.
    To look on the bright side a lot of SL staff will be ideal employees to staff the new Scottish ministries that will be needed and in other investment firms who will be needed to handle some of the oil revenue – so lots of job opportunities coming up with independence

  9. What plans are SL making for England leaving the EU?
    This has far more serious implications for business than Scottish independence but
    not a cheep from anyone.
    Politicing.
    Thanks Derek.

  10. Threats don’t work on Scots.

    I surely wouldn’t want to be in David Nish’s shoes as he passes Standard Life staff on his way to his office in the morning. A cold shiver would run down his spine at the frosty reception, that’s if he has one.

  11. Good article. Love the George Robertson quote. Sad that James Naughtie has swapped his journalist’s hat for Auntie’s true blue bloomers. Not a good look or sound.

  12. Good Luck to Standard Life as they move to England. I hope Scottish clients move their business to local Scottish Companies. Standard Life’s empty premises will quickly be taken over by one of our many Renewable Energy Companies flooding into an Independent Scotland. I also hope the existing Scottish workers at Standard Life get new jobs quickly as our local companies get busier.

  13. What you have laid out is what I remember is called “real Journalism” something I remember from the distant past.
    This statement is based on collusion with the Unionist cause. I too remember the statements made at the devolution debate last time. In the end, like all businesses they will look to get their best deal, and work in a business friendly environment. Something we WILL have, why? because we must create it in order to be successful.

    Given that, there will be some companies that may leave, but countered by others who will arrive. At the moment this is politically driven. In the event of a YES, I suspect most will discard what they say now and will stay, given the above scenario.
    Given the free hand that we would have, I fully expect Scotland to become a positive and vibrant country, one where companies will come to set up, but will bring their hierarchy to stay here also. They will be welcome and assisted to settle in well, and happily. There will be money to be made in an Independent Scotland, many will see that.

  14. What we need is lower company tax here.

    Then we might see London based companies threatening to move north.

    It would be a short term hit on finances, but a long term investment.

    Otherwise all big companies will eventually end up in London anyway due to its advantages:

    Proximity to similar companies, government, the stock market, Europe, transport links..
    Plus networking, conferences and all the places for well paid directors to spend their entertainment expenses.

    “Let Scotland go and compete”, as Rupert Murdoch said.

  15. I concur with the post above that says you really do put things into perspective, when you get stuck in about them…

  16. So Standard Life collude to move to England, is the claim. Sky high London rents, difficulty of getting good staff, but higher bonuses for the Executives? A blatant political move – let them go. They were once a great company, but now “middle of the road” is too kind to them. They would be more at home in the dog-eat-dog short term environment of the city.And once London is no longer in the EU, what then? Move to Frankfurt or Hong Kong. I think we need to be told right now, otherwise the uncertainty is driving me crazy!

  17. Where do you think the big yins honed their trade – yes that’s right in the financial casino that’s the City of London, and some Scots came back to run outfits such as SL. These people are money men and have two emotions, fear and greed. Right now just a hint of uncertainty will produce the former in them, and given most of SL’s income comes from speculation rather than managing your and my pension there’s only one way they could go at the moment.

  18. Derek, Of course Weir Group will be next.

    Their head of communications is die-hard labour unionist ex- BBC Scotland propaganda merchant, Raymond Buchanan.

  19. Agree Andy Nimmo about asking Derek to review the rubbish written by George Robertson (I can imagine how he got the Lordship – him getting it makes it worthless). The same guy who said that Devolution would kill Independence stone dead. Wish I had been a fly on the wall when George heard that the SNP have won more seats that the rest of the parties put together in 2011.

    As for Standard Life’s threats, I am so angry with them. Must check that I don’t have any financial product from them.

  20. There is absolutely no doubt that the BBC and the press pack has grossly exaggerated the statement from Standard Life to try and influence the vote.

    If people actually took the time to read what Standard Life say there is no real threat to leave Scotland but merely an adjustment being made to their operations to ensure continuity when Scotland and rUK part their ways:-

    “27 February 2014
    Scottish referendum

    On 18 September 2014 a referendum will be held to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. In recent months some of our customers have been in touch with us to ask what impact this would have on their savings and investments with Standard Life.

    Our key priority is to continue serving the needs of our 4 million UK customers, wherever they reside and regardless of any constitutional change. The same applies to our customers in other parts of the world.

    As a business we have a long-standing policy of strict political neutrality and at no time will we advise people on how they should vote, but we have a duty and a responsibility to understand the implications of independence for our customers and other stakeholders and to take whatever action may be necessary to protect their interests.
    In view of the uncertainty that is likely to remain around this issue, there are steps that we can and will take now based on our own analysis. For example, we have started work to establish additional registered companies to operate outside Scotland, into which we could transfer parts of our operations if it was necessary to do so.

    This is a purely precautionary measure, and customers do not need to take any action. We are simply putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional change, allows us to provide continuity to customers and to continue serving them, wherever they live in the UK.

    Customers can find further details in our 2013 Annual Report and Accounts from our Chief Executive David Nish and Chairman Gerry Grimstone.”

    • @Marian, though this statement is their position in writing, there is no doubt that a briefing to Robert Peston would give them the opportunity to ride both horses – give Peston the exclusive face-to-face anti-independence pitch which enables him to use it as ammunition against Yes Scotland, and claim innocence when challenged about their position. Peston should be required to provide the backup for his claims and then SL would have to explain their actions or he would be shown to be merely a mouthpiece for anti-independence propaganda. I’m not holding my breath though!

      • Peston just tells us on the 6 o’clock news that other Scotland based businesses may show concerns about independence like Standard Life, including the banks, RBS and Lloyds.

        He claims Lloyds Bank is headquartered in Scotland. It’s not. It’s headquarters are at 25 Gresham Street, London.

        But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good scare story.

  21. London Office space costs three times what it does in Edinburgh, according to Dan Macdonald, the chief executive of Macdonald Estates, giving evidence to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee.

    Why would Standard Life bother?

  22. I think we need to exercise a bit of caution here before we completely vilify Standard Life and allow the MSM No-Cheerleaders to set the agenda for the debate. I too was furious when I heard the news this morning on the radio – How could a Scottish company threaten to leave an Independent Scotland? I fumed. On reading SL’s press release I realised the extent to which the story had been shamelessly spun. SL might have been better advised to hold fire in releasing it’s contingency plans, I wish it had done so. We all know the real culprits here are the unionist scaremongers and their lackeys, let’s all identify the right target before we put the boot in.

  23. Where there is a vacuum of hard facts and an insatiable public appetite for at least a few, of course the media will be ready to gleefully pounce. Surely an old media whore [who now doesn’t seem to like it up him] will know this. Suppose when one’s own sacred cows are upset by that damned reality, life is just so unfair… as nationalists Scotland over are finding to their utter exasperation.

  24. The second biggest thing coming out of the Referendum is seeing the disintegration of the establishment in the UK and Scotland. Or the disintegration of the illusions put up by the establishment.
    Listening to Radio Four Today News program, there is still the cosy, heavy toned, stroky-beard assessments, as long as it is far away, in the Ukraine for example or Syria. Democracy, which political leader will…, ambassadors chat etc.
    Concerning Scotland: shabby half truths, misinformation, lies, ridicule.
    Then there are the scurrying, scrabbling lower orders of politicians in the Labour Party: frightened, confused becoming malicious and malevolent as they see the easy ‘power’ they had in Scotland sliding away from them.
    Setting up Parliamentary Committees( Unionist MPs) to ‘examine’ Scottish affairs, transparent to all as a means to see where they can damage this. It has the procedures of old style democracy; giving way, addressing the chair, but as one listens to the guffawing donkey responses, its clearly just a mob in suits.
    They thought it was going to be a walkover but when it wasn’t the true nature of the establishment came out.

    • This is the biggest problem the BBC has created for itself because if we know how they are operating regarding Scotland, why should we believe what they are saying regarding Syria, Ukraine in fact anything?

  25. Standard life has a duty to it’s shareholders in that whenever a significant change in the business is coming it has to let them know. it does after all have 1.5 million shareholders so releasing the news to the press is the only way to do it. All plc’s do this and all of them release snippets to the press before the main announcement. Trying to say that Standard Life acting as it did today is some co-ordinated attack by the unionists on scotland is ridiculous and verging on out of control paranoia.

    As for your fan club, a lot of them keep referring to london and its high rents. A lot of these companies are going to move to Leeds, where rents may well be lower than edinburgh.

    • “As for your fan club, a lot of them keep referring to london and its high rents. A lot of these companies are going to move to Leeds, where rents may well be lower than edinburgh.”

      John McMad confirming that London financial firms can, and will, go anywhere to boost profit. Here one day and gone the next. They have few ties.

      This is not a very firm foundation for a certain astonished political leader to say that “Scotland benefits from being part of a United Kingdom with London at its heart.” Maybe she really meant “Leeds”?

      • standard life has been in scotland for 200 years as has scottish widows. RBS and BOS around 300 years. all of them have been here through 2 world wars and countless other crises. the banks even stayed here through the 1715 and 1745. hardly london based companies that come and go with few ties.

      • So John are you are agreeing that Better Together are scaremongering?

      • No. Standard life are telling their shareholders and customers the facts as part of their annual financial statement. It has nothing to do with better together. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking your suffering from paranoia.

    • Perhaps this so called ‘paranoia’ is something to do with there being a very real and distinct bias against what should be a democratic process, where the Scottish people can make an informed choice about how their country should develop, how it should be run, who should run it, and for who it should be run. If you look at the historic and also present undermining ( to say the least!) of Scotland’s people, culture and industries, it is understandable that there is deep mistrust of the established elite in westminster. The bully boys are desperate to keep Scotland where they can most exploit and benefit from her resources and remaining industries, otherwise they would push Scotland into the abyss at the drop of a hat. As it is, they play a very dangerous game in their exploits at dividing the English and Scottish people for their own ends, utterly disgraceful and unforgivable. We know who have the most to lose if there is a YES vote, and it’s not just about oil, there is much more at stake for the rich boys and girls both in the UK and further afield. We need change before it is too late even for the wider world.

      • i may be mistaken but last time i checked we have a right to make a democratic choice in september. no one will stop you voting.

      • John, I disagree.

        The Electoral Commission has made it very clear that both sides should put out information that will inform the people of future events after either a Yes or No vote.

        Clearly the SNP’s white paper lays out a raft of information for Scots, the most comprehensive political document every presented to the people of Scotland. The Yes campaign and the SNP have made it clear what they think will happen after a No vote – that Scotland will indeed lose more powers.

        The No side have have produced no documents, nor made any public statements of any depth that would inform people of events after a No vote. The promise is of ‘working commission’s’ that will ‘report back’ sometime this spring with ideas for ‘potential new devolved powers’ to the Scottish Parliament.

        To be able to make a truly democratically informed decision, you need as many pertinent facts as possible. It is clear that the No campaign has not produced anything that could fit that description and are therefore in breach of the Electoral Commission guidelines.

        The mistake people are making here is to blame Standard Life rather than blame the media, especially the BBC who have certainly twisted the announcement.

        It is not ‘paranoia’ to complain over a BBC news report that starts with the headline ‘Standard Life to quit Scotland’ only to hear a minute later the same news segment saying ‘the company could move some of it’s operations south of the border’.

        Thats called headline manipulation, it’s standard practice in media deception. It also detracts from the democratic process and manipulates with selective fact picking and omission designed to influence the way people think.

        If you think this is paranoia then I suggest you go and close down every single media studies and journalism course in the country and get the thousands of people studying this kind of thing into therapy.

        By the way, the Bank of Scotland doesn’t exist anymore, not in any meaningful way, maybe thats just your paranoia but , well, lets not go there eh..

  26. Cag-does-thinking

    Sometimes these interludes give you some indications of the complexity of the relationship between industry, politicians and the media. I’m kind of sympathetic that if you analyse part of the co-ordinated No that the union parties gave to currency union they do have to take into account the surprising statistic that 12% of Scotland’s GDP comes from it’s financial sector. I say surprising because I can’t quite believe that is a true figure but assuming it is for a working hypothesis, many of these are run by people closely connected with the financial meltdown which the FSA clearly failed to spot. If they did it’s entirely possible that they could let the same culprits (sorry I meant senior officers) who they regulate to invest heavily in …. (ohh I don’t know something perhaps like a housing bubble in the south east inconceivable as that might sound) bringing a crash commited in the London financial markets to our door once more. Perhaps it is not our fiscal policy they are worried about as the knowledge that their chums are on the boards of these firms hence their desire to move closer to somewhere where that easy regulation continues. Have to say though that it has been spun that independence is what they are afraid of rather than prudent covering of the bases.

    • “hence their desire to move closer to somewhere where that easy regulation continues.”

      Who said this?

      ‘We are pledging a light-touch regulation suitable to a Scottish financial sector with its outstanding reputation for probity.’

      • ‘We are pledging a light-touch regulation suitable to a Scottish financial sector with its outstanding reputation for probity.’

        probably said by Alex Salmond.

        Then again, light touch is far more preferable to the ‘No touch’ of Darling and Osbourne. So keen are the Tories to protect their city friends that when the EU started talking about a bank transaction tax, the Tories immediate reaction was that the UK should leave the EU.

    • ‘the surprising statistic that 12% of Scotland’s GDP comes from it’s financial sector’

      Business for Scotland say this:

      ‘Instead Osborne had raised several false claims concerning the Scottish economy. The first concerned banking. Osborne said that the banking network made any currency union risky. Yet the HMRC’s own tax records demonstrate that only 7.3% of money raised from the banking levy came from Scotland. It is a misrepresentation to include City of London based financial operations – such as the RBS’ Global Markets Division – as part of an independent Scotland’s financial sector.’

      You can read the article here:

      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/economic-business-facts-counter-george-osborne-fiction/

  27. Thankfully, Derek, you are able and willing to provide an overall perspective. Long may you continue to scotch the scare stories.

  28. For a business whose only USP is that it is out of the London bubble, to move to the City would be madness and for its policy holders and shareholders, disastrous. If you want to know what awaits you if SL fail in their promises see Derek’s previous post on the Pension’s Ponzi Scheme

  29. In order to be able to do business in a foreign territory, a multinational must have a head office there. Thus there will be a HO in rUK as well as in iScotland, just as there are head offices in Eire or Singapore. If they don’t have a company number or HO in rUK it makes sense to establish them there, ready for the transfer of assets & liabilities (policies, premiums, claims, etc) that must happen to comply with regulations from the EU & rUK and the rUK tax system.

    To move/sack 5,000 means the loss of priceless skills, knowledge and experience and that kind of move would in itself represent a direct threat to the company’s existence so therefore I think that it’s unlikely to happen. Far more likely to have the main HO remaining here with a much smaller presence somewhere in rUK for compliance purposes.

  30. I have just read Standard & Poors assessment of Independent Scotland’s economy as a Triple A Credit Rating but also noted that S&P regard the size of Scotland’s Financial Sector as a risk to the economy. Standard Life and RSB moving elsewhere would probably be beneficial to an Independent Scotland.

  31. Margaret Thatcher’s policies made theTory party a toxic brand in Scotland . Hence their tactics of using their political opponents and big business as a front for their vehement opposition to an Independent Scotland . A lot of pressure is now being applied on both the media and their city supporters . Who knows what unmentionable deals are being arranged in conjunction with their political opponents . Standard Life is nothing more than today’s willing accomplice to their Machiavellian scheming. Gerry Grimsone being the messenger Last week we had Dudley of BP . Yesterday was arch Conservative Rupert Soames of Aggreco .Of course we heard little reporting of Scottish billionaire Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers and his generally favourable opinions on an Independent Scotland . McColl has neither courted Westminster or City favour .He remains his own opinionated man based on his success with Clyde Blowers . As far as I understand Clyde Blowers will be remaining firmly based in Scotland .
    On the other hand consider Gerry Grimsone ………..
    Chairman of Standard Life . He also serves as a Government appointed Non Executive Director . Appointed by Lord Browne Chief Government NED and former CEO of BP , and attached to the Mod . Another of his appointments is Chairman of TheCityUk which presents and represents the UK financial sector . Any financial company of note is a member of City including Standard Life .
    During the Thatcher Years he was a party apparatchik responsible for several major privatisations .
    Grimsone is a non elected member of a Government and unquestionably has numerous high level contacts in the city and through his Chairmanship of TheCityUk .
    A secret non diarised meeting here , a weekend dinner party there , VIP guest of the rich and famous, an informal and unrecorded meeting at a London Club . Access to Government Ministers as and when required . Almost certainly Project Fear and this current phase of injecting greater uncertainty into the debate must certainly be benefitting from his advise on how the population , the SMEs and markets may be unsettled . There is unlikely to be any easing of this policy.
    Be sure Tory machenations are being designed and deployed to wear us down . They do not have a plan to offer other than avoid debate on a one to one basis , present a speech or a contrived photo shoot , avoid the public and questions and high tail it back to the safety of London .
    It is always good to remember that the past can never be undone but we can take responsibility for our future .

  32. Like many I had a Std Life endowment and while I managed to get compensation I still lost money on the back of their lies.
    I also feel that the BBC reached a new low yesterday. Although Std Life bosses were trying to influence the referendum debate the BBC took their statement even further and embellished it to say things it clearly didn’t say.They then went on to play down the positive news regarding Scotland’s credit rating.
    They really are out of control regarding the debate and don’t even care now about being seen to be impartial.

  33. inDEEpendant says:
    28 February, 2014
    Sorry O/T but just watching Business interview on BBC Breakfast time with Willie Walsh CEO of IAG ( B.A / Iberia )
    BBC lackie finishes with gleefull prompt about Standard Life and asks Willie what his take is?

    Willie says they will still fly to Scotland and that it would be a boost for his airlines if Scotland were to be Independant as the SG would bring down the crazy landing / fuel duty tax.
    Cue STUNNED SILENCE!!!!!, paper shuffling by interviewer as he realises what an own goal he has just scored.

    The two on the sofa are equally stunned and look at the interviewer as if he is a condemned man for going off the company line.

    Ya DANCER!!!!!

    p.s. I bet it gets pulled.

  34. @ alastairb ” chief government NED “. I like that.

  35. @ John McMad: Standard Life has a duty to its shareholders” Did you read any further on economics?
    Companies also have duties to their customers and to their employees, and sizeable companies have a duty towards the country where they are resident. In this case Scotland. SL apparently gave direct access to Mr Peston of the BBC. Was direct access afforded to the Scottish government prior to SL exercising “its duty to its shareholders”?

    The phrase – duty to its shareholders – is so 19th Century. The major shareholders are institutions, The Establishment and the institutions have a convenient arrangement of revolving doors for appointments. Consider the Bank of Scotland, pushed into a merger with the Halifax Building Society,Chief Executive Andy Hornby. The Halifax brought down itself and as a consequence the BOS due to its involvement in the mortgages scam.Was Hornby chased out of town for his incompetence? No he found another executive role, then another. I think he is now with a bookmakers, but not sure.

  36. One word really sums it all up and that’s “Astonished” lol Cheers JoLa hen 🙂

  37. You forgot that the high heidyins were in favour of the Demutualisation of the company. That we defeated it stuck in their craw.

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