GLASGOW May 16 Financial decision makers at
some of Britain's biggest companies are not making contingency
plans for life in a independent Scotland until the outcome of a
September referendum is known.
Delegates at the annual conference of the Association of
Corporate Treasurers in Glasgow said it's too early to make
plans for an independent Scotland.
"Our chief executive has said he would prefer (Scotland) to
stay in the union as we have big business in North Sea ... but
we haven't made any specific treasury planning for it until we
see (the outcome of the referendum)" said Alan Dick, director of
tax and treasury at oil services company Amec.
Scotland will go to the polls on Sept. 18 to decided whether
to end its 307-year-old union with the rest of the United
Kingdom. Two opinion polls this week showed little change in the
position of the two sides. Those opposed to independence still
lead, although support for secession has increased recently.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has said Scotland would
officially become independent in March 2016 in the event of a
'yes' vote, giving companies 18 months to prepare.
Vinod Parmar, group treasurer at bookmaker Ladbrokes, said
the company, which has some business in Scotland, is considering
the impact of an independent Scotland but hasn't made any
"We will have a view of it. But we have time - there is the
vote and then there is integration," Parmar said.
Treasurers determine a firm's financial strategy and
financial policies, advising on what businesses to invest in and
organising the funding for its plans. Their decisions can
influence investment banking and financial market activity.
Their views echo that of part-nationalised lender Lloyds
Banking Group. Chairman Norman Blackwell said at the
bank's annual general meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday that it
is not currently preparing to leave Scotland if there is a vote
in favour of independence.
Some companies, however, have started planning in case of a
vote for secession. Edinburgh-based insurer Standard Life
said on Tuesday that it had begun preparations in case it needed
to move some operations out of Scotland.
The treasurer at one multinational company, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said it is drawing up plans for its
pension policies and hedging strategy if Scots vote to leave the
UK. He described the process as a "complete administrative
(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Larry King)