Scotland independence
Scottish Independence: Alliance Trust Establishes English Firms on UK Exit FearReuters

Alliance Trust has started to set up a raft of England-based companies in a bid to protect itself against the possibility of Scottish independence.

The Dundee-based investment manager's chief executive officer said in its results statement that it was necessary to start establishing non-Scottish companies as it hedges its bets against Scotland breaking the 307-union with England.

"The referendum in September is creating uncertainty for our customers and our business, which we have a responsibility to address," said Katherine Garrett-Cox.

Latest Scottish Independence poll
Reuter/Poll agencies

Garrett-Cox added that the uncertainty over whether Scottish independence would change taxation laws and regulation was a catalyst behind the decision.

Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September this year and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

However, despite the Scottish National Party (SNP) repeatedly promising voters that most of the financial and regulatory laws will remain the same, UK and European Union politicians have explicitly said that if Scotland breaks away from Britain, it will lose the currency, lose it EU membership, and be forced to create and uphold its own set of laws and watchdogs.

Scotland's financial services accounts for about 150,000 jobs.

At the end of February, insurance firm Standard Life said that it may quit its Scottish home if the nation breaks from the United Kingdom in its referendum on independence in September 2014.

"We have been based in Scotland for 189 years and we are very proud of our heritage. Scotland has been a good place from which to run our business and to compete around the world," said Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life, in the Edinburgh-based insurer's annual report for 2013.

"We very much hope that this can continue. But if anything were to threaten this, we will take whatever action we consider necessary - including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland - in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our stakeholders.

"We will continue to seek further clarity from politicians on both sides of the debate, so that we can reach an informed view on what constitutional change may mean for our customers, our business and our shareholders."

Britain's business secretary Vince Cable also said that it is likely that the Royal Bank of Scotland's headquarters will move to London permanently, if Scots vote for independence.