Yes vote could lead to suspension of new investments, warns Jones

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A Yorkshire wealth management company could temporarily suspend new investments in Scottish-based financial services providers if they do not deliver rapidly on plans to relocate to England in the event of a vote for independence.

Leeds-based Pearson Jones said the temporary suspension would happen only if Scottish financial organisations lapse on plans to relocate to England if a Yes vote prevails next week.

Pearson Jones, which has 2,100 clients with some exposure to a Scottish provider, researched the contingency plans of financial organisations in the event of a vote for independence during the spring when it said a Yes vote looked unlikely. In the survey, financial services companies including Standard Life, Scottish Life, Scottish Provident, Alliance Trust and Aberdeen Asset Management all indicated that they had plans to relocate operations to England if Scotland becomes independent.

Pearson Jones, which employs 123 staff, manages investments, mainly for Yorkshire clients, which total about £1.2bn, approximately £300m of which is held via institutions headquartered in Scotland.

Investment director Peter Heckingbottom said: “While, in an extreme case, we may have to temporarily suspend new investments in the event of a Yes vote, we are not expecting to have to do so as we anticipate that all these companies will have now fully prepared for this eventuality and will issue further updates on September 19 about their plans.”

He added: “We do not anticipate an immediate risk to investments from devolution if the companies we deal with deliver relocation to the UK in the controlled and measured way our research indicated.

“However, as these survey findings are not widely known, relocation to England by these organisations would have a dramatic, unbudgeted impact on Scotland’s taxation revenue for a newly-created administration.”