Thursday, 11 September 2014

Scottish Independence - Banks moving to London is more silver lining than cloud

The chat about all the banks moving to London if Scotland says YES is incredible if by incredible you mean an obviously orchestrated political stitch up reliant on folks not knowing the real deal.

The first thing is to be clear what we're actually talking about here which is this - NO it is not a change in where any bank is headquartered, rather it's a change in where a company is registered. That's it, nothing more.

Fer instance, RBS can de-register from Edinburgh, re-register in London and ....... KABLAM, it's still run out of Fred's folly right beside Edinburgh airport (similarly all those investment companies registered in the Cayman Islands are actually run out of London, TopShop from Monaco etc.,).

And this is a good thing; right now banks are getting super aggressive about cost cutting, like well beyond the point of reason in an oh feck, my laptop isn't working and I can't do my actual job, kind of way. So when you take into account the fact that the cost of being based if not registered in Scotland (cheap labour, cheap offices) vs London you know any bank saying it's moving all it's head office staff darn Sarth would get shot down by its shareholders pronto.

And aside from the bank relocation chat basically being about a legal shoogle, there's also the big benefits to consider. Like here's Paul Krugman getting it surprisingly wrong about the status of Scottish banking if the vote is YES:

"We are told, for example, that Scotland need not worry because its fiscal position is relatively strong. But that was true — or appeared to be true — of Spain and Ireland before the euro crisis. What we’ve learned, alas, is that a seemingly strong fiscal position can evaporate very fast in a crisis — especially if banks need to be bailed out. In that context, it’s interesting to note that Scotland’s banks are very big relative to the size of the country, because they serve much of the UK. Nothing wrong with that as long as you have a political union; but without, what’s to prevent an Irish-type situation in which a small country is trying to bail out big banks? "

What's to stop it? They're all registered in London of course meaning a fiscal union would work hunky dory (or at least be less of an issue than it might otherwise be exactly because of the orchestrated banks moving all their brass plaques darn Sarth simultaneously chat) because the threat of a too big to fail bank failing would be England's problem not Scotland's.

But, setting aside the ignorance and the bollocks an awfy interesting person made some lovely points to me today; the referendum has got all of Scotland interested in its politics and the vote will see voting actually matter for a change.

That aside, the UK is run by and for London and the South East of England, an independent Scotland wouldn't be. How to vote on Thursday really isn't rocket science

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