Scottish Independence: Lloyds 'Not Moving' Ahead of Referendum Despite Potential Financial Exodus
Scottish Independence: Lloyds 'Not Moving' Ahead of Referendum Despite Potential Financial ExodusReuters

Lloyds Banking Group has side-stepped the debate over Scottish independence despite a raft of financial institutions explicitly telling shareholders about major concerns they have if the country decides to break away from the rest of the UK.

Speaking at Lloyds' Annual General Meeting, the bank's new Chairman Lord Blackwell said that the group "holds no corporate view" and "the independence matter is for the Scots [to decide".

However, he did say that "there are uncertainties ahead for everyone [and that] Lloyds will do its best to serve Scottish customers, regardless of the referendum's outcome."

He added that "there are no plans on moving [any operations] ahead of the vote.

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?"

The referendum period starts on 30 May.

Scotland's financial services industry employs 150,000 people.

A number of institutions have already started carving out plans to safeguard against Scotland becoming independent.

Standard Life, which has around 5,000 staff based in Scotland as manages more than £244bn (€300bn, $411bn), revealed this week that it is steeling itself against the potentially harmful upheaval from Scottish independence and is starting to forge a battleplan to combat this.

Around 90% of its clients are based outside Scotland.

Meanwhile, Lloyds' part-state owned counterpart, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), warned investors in April that Scottish independence would significantly impact its credit rating and threaten its status in the European Union.

Within RBS' Annual Report and Directors' Remuneration Report, it said that since the parent group and principal operating subsidiary, "the Royal Bank", are both headquartered and incorporated in Scotland, independence could have a big impact on the lender.