On 18 September 2014 a referendum will be held to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. In recent months some of our customers have been in touch with us to ask what impact this would have on their savings and investments with Standard Life.
Our key priority is to continue serving the needs of our 4 million UK customers, wherever they reside and regardless of any constitutional change. The same applies to our customers in other parts of the world.
As a business we have a long-standing policy of strict political neutrality and at no time will we advise people on how they should vote, but we have a duty and a responsibility to understand the implications of independence for our customers and other stakeholders and to take whatever action may be necessary to protect their interests.
In view of the uncertainty that is likely to remain around this issue, there are steps that we can and will take now based on our own analysis. For example, we have started work to establish additional registered companies to operate outside Scotland, into which we could transfer parts of our operations if it was necessary to do so. This is a purely precautionary measure, and customers do not need to take any action. We are simply putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional change, allows us to provide continuity to customers and to continue serving them, wherever they live in the UK.
Customers can find further details in our 2013 Annual Report and Accounts from our Chief Executive David Nish and Chairman Gerry Grimstone.