The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Straight from the source

Posted on February 27, 2014 by

Jings. As you might be able to imagine, dealing with our inbox at the moment is a bit like trying to hold back an avalanche with a cocktail umbrella, so we’re going to have to be pretty brief about this one.

The press is full of breathless DOOM ALERT RED! stuff this morning about financial services company Standard Life leaving an independent Scotland:

“Standard Life could quit Scotland” (BBC)
“Standard Life warns it could quit an independent Scotland” (Telegraph)
“Standard Life could quit Scotland if voters back independence” (Guardian)
“Standard Life may retreat from independent Scotland” (Scotsman)
“Standard Life could quit Scotland following independence yes vote” (Express)
“Standard Life May Quit Independent Scotland” (Sky News)
“Standard Life: we could quit Edinburgh for England if there’s a Yes vote” (Herald)

Below is their actual statement, published on their own website.

Read it yourself, free of the vast amounts of oddly-uniform spin applied by newspapers and broadcasters, and see if you think you’re being told the truth by the media:

27 February 2014
Scottish referendum

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.”

We must admit, we’re not quite sure why, in the modern online age when the truth is so easily accessible, people would choose to pay money to have the news grossly distorted for them over their breakfast table. Though it does perhaps explain why fewer and fewer of them are doing so.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

111 to “Straight from the source”

  1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Rearrange these words into a well known phrase or saying.

    “lying toads fucking”

    because that is what they do.

  2. Robert Louis says:

    And who has been the ‘cheerleader’ all morning for the lies about Standard life?

    Here’s a clue, three wee letters, and the first one is a letter ‘B’.

  3. Bill McLean says:

    I’ve already texted BBC Radio 5 about their inaccurate reporting – has any one sent the above to them though?

  4. Willie Zwigerland says:

    The reports are based on what the Standard Life CEO said at the investor day call this morning – i.e. after the annual report was published.

  5. Al Ghaf says:

    I recall Christian Wright in the Guardian making the point that we can never counter the imminent tsunami of unionist stories but are best advised to undermine the bent messenger.

    The uptick in unionist news agenda setting confirms that view.

  6. Laura H says:

    What I don’t understand is, why aren’t the SL jumping up and down and shouting from the rooftops that the BBC et al are reporting this wrongly??
    It doesn’t say much for them as a good business if they can operate in India and Canada and Ireland ok, but couldn’t operate in an independent Scotland. I’d want that cleared up as fast as I could if that were my business!!
    We’d lose foodbanks too (thankfully) in an indy Scotland. I don’t see the BBC making a big deal out of that 😉

  7. benarmine says:

    Good grief, even given the media bias it’s shocking to see this statement spun into what I’ve been watching on the BBC this morning. Really disgraceful. Again.

  8. Helena Brown says:

    Now I am getting old but if this faulty memory serves me this company and also RBS have form on this, 1979. 1997 they were off and for all our sakes perhaps they should just go. We certainly do not need an English type Financial Services. We used to have a well thought of business and we surely can have it again.

  9. Dan Watt says:

    We’re all aware that one of the board members or maybe even the chair is connected to the MoD? I can’t find the link now, but this is obviously more vested interests rearing their ugly head.

  10. faolie says:

    I just heard Nick Clegg on the news waffling on about how all this uncertainty caused by you-know-who is causing big huge important companies like Standard Life to make plans to leave Scotland.

    But of course Standard Life’s said no such thing. The BBC, on the other hand, HAVE. And you can imagine the call to Nick:

    “Nick, Nick, we’re spinning this story about Standard Life leaving. Stupid we know, but how’s about a wee quote to let everyone know that the government supports businesses leaving Scotland if they have the temerity to vote Yes?”

    Sure, like Standard Life is going up sticks and leave. It’ll take them to, oh, 2017, to get things ready and to pack all the tea chests, then someone will say, ‘boss, it’s the UK in/out referendum tomorrow, and the money’s on a Leave vote.’ ‘Hmmm, don’t want to be outside the EU do we? Right lads, unpack everything, we’re staying.

  11. Fergie35 says:

    Johann going on about it today at FMQ, she is going aff her heid.

  12. steviecosmic says:

    Gerry Grimstone

    Appointed Chairman in May 2007, having been Deputy Chairman since March 2006. He became a director of The Standard Life Assurance Company in July 2003. Gerry is also Chairman of TheCityUK, an Independent Non-Executive of Deloitte LLP and the Lead Non-Executive at the Ministry of Defence. Previously, he held senior positions within the Department of Health and Social Security and HM Treasury until 1986.

  13. Macart says:

    Or in other words another whataboutery story spun into Armageddon day the return.

    Gettin really hacked off with our meeja these days. 🙁

  14. Fergie35 says:

    I’ve got a savings plan with them, I’m going to pull it and give it to the Yes campaign. Fekk them, lieing manipulating b@st@rds

  15. U says:

    What I don’t understand is, why aren’t the SL jumping up and down and shouting from the rooftops that the BBC et al are reporting this wrongly

    Perhaps because the BBC are reporting it correctly?

    Consider: Standard Life want to point out that in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote they will probably leave Scotland. But they are aware that to say so directly would be seen as political intervention, and might alienate some important people.

    So. How to get your message out while avoiding the worst of the backlash?

    Answer: release a vague, unobjectionable official statement, while unofficially briefing journalists on what you really mean.

    That way you get out your real plans, but still have plausible deniability because after all you didn’t on the record say anything definite.

    And if you are pushed — if someone actually directly turns up at your press office and says, ‘Will you leave Scotland if it becomes independent?’ — you just look meaningfully into their eyes and say,

    ‘You might very well think that. I, of course, couldn’t possibly comment.’

  16. Jim says:


    I sent the Standard Life link to the VD show on 5 Live at 10am this morning.

    The guy on at present is also going to cover the story and I’m sending it to him as well.

  17. Alt Clut says:

    This is why Wings gets the financial support that it does. A huge lie nailed clearly and fast. One of our biggest advantages is our mass, active support. We need to nail each big lie as it comes and get the information through the doors of voters. What Standard Life actually published might be as good a starting point as any.

  18. gillie says:

    Shades of the 1992 UK election when both Standard Life and Scottish Widows threatened to leave Scotland is Scots voted the wrong way.

  19. gillie says:

    Shades of the 1992 UK election when both Standard Life and Scottish Widows threatened to leave Scotland IF Scots voted the wrong way.

  20. HandandShrimp says:

    A point I made on the BBC is that on one hand we are told by Better Together that the liabilities of the financial sector are too great and that they will imbalance the Scottish economy, especially as so many are in a perilous state. Yet when one of these institutions says it might move to London it is a disaster. Of course if we vote Yes, they do move and there is a financial meltdown then there will no doubt be wild screams asking why these businesses were allowed to move to London and demands that Scotland bear a share of the pain.

    In short there is less certainty and consistency in the Better Together argument than there is in the Yes case.

    Not sure how that went down. I made another point that the BBC is the official mouthpiece of Better Together. That one as I expected was getting minused merrily although I will have to go some to get on the first page. I must try harder 🙂

  21. Clootie says:

    These unionist supporting managers/directors issue personal comments or meaningless press releases for the MSM , the BBC and unionist politicians to spin.

    Look at FMQ’s today – BP have never made any comment on the debate but a statement from ONE person is distorted into a company stance. The same with Standard Life issuing a press statement akin to “if everything falls to bits and becomes unreasonable we have a contingency”. What company doesn’t have a series of contingency plans for a range of issues INCLUDING the positive case of increasing investment if it is to their advantage.

    Mark Carney / BP / Standard Life / RBS / etc. The BBC and press spin are at total odds with the actual statements made.

    Spin is perhaps to generous a word. They are lying b******s!

  22. msean says:

    Actually,standard life probably couldn’t woulnn’t mibbee move to Gibraltar or the Cayman Islands instead lol,they didn’t say move to England. Misinformation again.

  23. Training Day says:

    The sheer, unadulterated glee with which Lamont and the wastes of space behind her attempt to talk down the prospects of what is allegedly their own country is truly nauseating.

    For God’s sake Scotland, show these bastards the door and vote Yes.

  24. Maybe I should get checked out for dementia. It’s strange, I can’t remember any hoo-haa or panic headlines when Standard Life formed these subsidiaries:

    Standard Life Austria
    Standard Life Canada
    Standard Life China
    Standard Life Germany
    Standard Life Hong Kong
    Standard Life India
    Standard Life Ireland
    Standard Life Middle East
    Standard Life Singapore

  25. MochaChoca says:

    @Willie Zwigerland

    What did he say?

  26. Craig P says:

    So Standard Life are opening offices in rUK so they have a base to deal with a different legislative territory if there is independence.

    I can imagine a converse scenario, that Tesco might set up an office in Scotland after independence (as they have in Ireland). If so, will the press tout that as ‘Tesco warns it may abandon England after indy vote’?? Because as far as I can tell that is all that is happening with Standard Life.

  27. Ian Hardie says:

    complete bollocks, scare scare scare, Goodby to the lot of them

  28. Flower of Scotland says:

    Just sent John Beattie a text via BBC Scotland , to say I am truly disappointed in him for trundling out the BBC biased and spun stories every day ! I also said that we can no longer call the BBC a broadcasting organisation it is now the Oficial Front for the NO campaign !
    I’m waiting to hear it being read out !
    I think Ill be blocked soon !

  29. heedtracker says:

    Its propaganda from the likes of the BBC at Pacific Quay that really makes you wonder how they think they can pull this off. But look on the bright side, its why WoS is so popular. People have just had enough of these tax funded lying gits. Yesterday the news guy told us that BetterTogether Scotsman’s sales hadn’t fallen through the floor because of their front pages with the Saltire turned into a swastika, its all down to changes in journalists.

    Fraser also gave the Herald online a massive free peak time tv ad boost for good measure. This lad must be one of the most aggressive UK state propagandists since Bob Peston and Nick Robinson decided they too could destroy Scottish democracy single handed. Wonder what they’ve offered them after independence though,OBE’s, top London management jobs with massive bonuses etc

  30. JTBroadhurst says:

    Why are any of you surprised that a cpy with over 90% of its customers outside of Scotland would commence settling its affairs in the best interests of all? Currency union is not going to happen and none of the other alternatives would be attractive, least of all to Standard Life.

    Would it not be better if Salmond cancelled the referendum until such time as both membership of a currency union with the UK and the EU were settled? That would be the end of Salmond’s political career but would allow others with more substance than rhetoric to come forward.

    Not to do so would imply that the SNP know that the oil benefit is a diminishing return and better to cobble together something now in the hope that it will be alright on the day?

  31. Vestas says:

    I’ve got to the stage that I simply don’t bother to watch/listen/read any of this nonsense anymore unless it has the prospect of being comedy gold – like Lamont & her genes.

    I suspect I’m far from the only one & regardless of which way the vote goes I know which media organisations I’ll be trusting in future.

    Take the BBC – its doomed if there’s a No vote. They have alienated at least 30-40% of their audience in Scotland & antagonised many Scots in England.

    That audience won’t be coming back for news from the BBC in a hurry. Add to that the usual (and growing) calls to get rid of the license fee in England & the BBC are in a world of (self-inflicted) hurt.

    Likewise The Guardian – I’m sure many Scots once viewed that as a “good” newspaper in terms of output. No longer.

    My personal disappointment is The Independent. I know it hasn’t been the same since the Russians took over for £1 but the vitriol emanating from there is startling. I remember it in better days when the editor would respond to (non-abusive) emails personally.

    All of these organisations have shot themselves in both feet if there’s a No vote – if its Yes then pro-indie people will forgive if not forget; not going to happen if its No.

    In this instance I don’t see anything wrong with what SL has said or plans to do – the statement simply says they’re making plans to operate in Scotland & England if the vote is yes & independence happens. I assume plenty of other companies are doing the same. No big deal really.

  32. callum says:

    If you look at companies house for any of the big life and pension providers, Standard Life, Aviva, Skandia, Prudential you’ll find that they have 10’s if not over 100 Ltd companies registered for all sorts of reasons.

    Standard Life has 8 “registered” firms with the FCA (see: ) and a further 70 that are aligned with various investment “Participation Funds” and other product related structures. About 10 or so of the 70 are already registered at companies house in London.

    Standard Life employees are colloquially known as SLACkers because the main company they were employed under was SLAC (Standard Life Assurance Company Ltd)

  33. cath says:

    how’s about a wee quote to let everyone know that the government supports businesses leaving Scotland if they have the temerity to vote Yes?”

    Thing is, I could understand an English based MP thinking this, if he’s moved to thinking about what’s best for his own constituents and for rUK post independence, and genuinely thought a CU was a bad idea and they could gain jobs that way.

    What I can’t understand – or forgive – is Scottish Labour MPs crowing about how jobs will be lost without a currency union, and we’re not going to support one so nya-nya it’s all your own fault for voting SNP.

    Same with shipbuilding – they’ll leap up and down in glee at the thought of being able to stab their own constituents in the back if they dare vote the wrong way.

    They prove entirely they are not the right people to be in control, and don’t have the interests of those they represent at heart in any way.

  34. handclapping says:

    The USP for Standard Life is that it is out of the London bubble, that it doesn’t get dragged into wierdnesses like Equitable Life. To give up your USP out of political spite is madness.

    If they do transfer to rUK, policy holders and investors should leave as Standard Life will become incapable of continuing the better performance they get by being outside of the City bubble.

  35. cearc says:


    ”I’ve got to the stage that I simply don’t bother to watch/listen/read any of this nonsense anymore unless it has the prospect of being comedy gold – like Lamont & her genes.’

    My situation exactly.

    Wings Over Scotland, trawling through the dross so that you don’t have to.

    Worth every penny.

  36. msean says:

    Financier sees end of gravy train alert.

  37. Papadox says:

    Any fair minded person with basic intelligence and experience in life can see through the charade and spin that the MSM are running for the establishment, led and co-ordinated by the totally immoral and corrupt EBC (WE STRIVE FOR FAIRNESS & BALANCE)?

    BBC = HMG (establishment) PROPAGANDA UNIT.

    How can any decent person still have any trust in the EBC? THEY ARE FINISHED AND THEY HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO THANK!

  38. lynne says:

    there they go using them words again, 5 times ‘could’ has been used, an 2 ‘mays’, sick of all this scaremongering,and even if they do move am sure it will be in the company’s interests and not just there customer’ sure they send out the same e.mail to all editor’s hahaha they’re ‘better together’ hahaha

  39. G H Graham says:

    Gordon (end of boom & bust) Brown acting as Chancellor eliminated the tax relief on ACT in 1997. It meant dividends earned on equities owned by pension funds would now be taxed & not reinvested into the pension fund.

    The considered opinion of eminent actuaries at the time, estimated that the impact of this decision would be a loss from £100 billion to £150 billion by British pensioners.

    Despite this colossal, negative & permanent disadvantage to British pensioners, I don’t recall Standard Life threatening to leave the UK.

    And I don’t see them getting shifty feet despite the British government’s own forecast that net public debt will exceed £1.5 trillion by the next general election.

    Only a dramatic shift in tax structure would cause a business to move. But most of Standard Life’s customers aren’t even in Scotland & the vast majority of their investments are not in Scotland either.

    This, Standard Life could operate out of a disused whaling station in Greenland if it wanted to but it wouldn’t make one bit of difference to the value of its investments or its customers. Only those unable to commute from Edinburgh would be affected. And that isn’t going to happen. Wealthy fund managers hate cold weather.

    This is just another story spun by the British Establishment & media to scare Scots into voting for more British economic misery.

  40. Vestas says:

    Well yes & no cearc.

    Thing is that you can end up talking & listening to people who think the same as you do.

    I’d rather not assume the BBC is simple state propoganda but that’s the stage I’ve got to & regardless of the result I don’t see that changing.

    That’s moved me from being a reasonable supporter of the license fee (I think its too much) to being in the same camp as the “swivel-eyed” lunatics who think its a crime being forced to pay for the “left-wing” BBC. Maybe they were right all along – not great to be forced on pain of imprisonment to pay for being publically abused 🙁

    Things are starting to fracture apart already and they won’t be put back together even if the result is No.

    I hope the No campaign realise what they’ve done but I suspect the leaders of that campaign couldn’t care less. They’ll get their ermine as a reward either way.

  41. Weedeochandorris says:

    @heedtracker yeah its worth anyone who missed the Saltire debacle in the Scotsman to have a gander at it here. This was the Newsnet report on it. Tried to find the Scotsman link, maybe it’s been magically erased.

  42. gillie says:

    Two things;

    1. This BBC scoop which is another in a long line of BBC scoops is proof positive that the UK government, Better Together and the BBC are all involved in a coordinated campaign to discredit pro-independence movement.

    2. The unionists are really really scared they are going to lose the referendum. This Standard Life announcement is what I would expected from scheming unionists just weeks and days before the referendum not 7 months away.

    The No campaign is using up all of its ammunition as it tries to deliver a knock-out blow. One more push it is saying to supporters, but it clearly failing because once more Scots will not give in to bullying.

  43. dramfineday says:

    Cearc and Vestas

    plus 1 guys!

  44. liz says:

    As someone pointed out earlier Lidl and Aldi manage to operate fine in a ‘foreign’ country and if standard life pull out it will leave a gap in the market for someone else to move in.

    If I had a policy with then it would be getting cancelled.

    I’m sure the guys in BfS would be more than capable.

    What annoys me the most is the glee with which this is reported by the likes of Carrell and the eejits on the beeb.

    They have made a rod for their own backs and it will not be easily forgotten.

    The thing that struck me about JoLa when she was sreeching about No meaning No currency union – what do you not understand? – is that she thinks they, Gideon et al, are within their rights to dictate to us.

    She sees herself as being inferior whereas NS and AS know they are equals.

  45. Kev says:

    Ofcourse the BBC could easily have balanced this story by stating that Standard Life also threatened to leave if Scots voted for a devolved parliament, but hey, why give up on a chance to “Break” a killer headline, followed swiftly by the revelation that another “Scottish” institution, this time RBS, has suffered a huge loss last year…When it comes to putting down Scotland they just can’t help themselves..

  46. Cath says:

    “This Standard Life announcement is what I would expected from scheming unionists just weeks and days before the referendum not 7 months away.”

    Yeah but it would be naive to assume that means they don’t have anything else up their sleeve. You have to wonder, if they’re bringing this stuff up now, what will they have to resort to by September?

  47. seoc says:

    Gloom, Doom, Fear, Warnings, Alerts of this, that and whatever else might scare us Scots away from independence.
    Aren’t they just pathetic?

    If they want to leave one of the most prosperous countries in Europe – so be it.
    Good bye.

    What is it these puppets are pretending to be so scared of? Sharia Law? That’s more of a distinct possibility when we depart.

  48. Desimond says:

    An Argentinean friend highlighted the story to me this morning. I replied “We have a running gag now at such scare stories, if it says COULD it means WONT”.

    Even he can see its all nonsense.

  49. msean says:

    Always remember when the scare stories come around,alternatives are always available.It’s called competition.

  50. bjsalba says:

    I’m curious now. What did S.L. actually say in the past about leaving?

    I mean – as opposed to what the meeja said they said.

  51. muttley79 says:

    @Training Day

    “The sheer, unadulterated glee with which Lamont and the wastes of space behind her attempt to talk down the prospects of what is allegedly their own country is truly nauseating.

    For God’s sake Scotland, show these bastards the door and vote Yes.”

    Correct. Lamont said independence would do more damage to Scotland than Thatcher. Salmond of course reminded her she voted against devolution in 1979.

  52. Bill Walters says:

    You’ve quoted the statement on their website, but what most of the media are discussing is the content of their annual report, available here:

    The statement in the annual report is slightly different in that it says:

    “If anything were to threaten this (i.e. their business) 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, business and our shareholders.”

    Section 1.1 of the report also then outlines all of the issues that Standard Life say still remain unresolved:

    1. The currency.
    2. EU membership.
    3. The monetary system.
    4. Financial services regulation.
    5. The effect of independence on taxation policies.

    In other words, none of the issues above have been clarified effectively in the independence campaign, so they’ve started to put in place measures to transfer some of their operations outside of Scotland should events start to affect their business. That might not be the sensation it’s being presented as, but it’s not a complete non-story either. You’d have to completely ignore the subtext to come to that conclusion: i.e. the fact that the vast majority of their customers are in the rest of the UK and anything short of a full currency union would make staying in Scotland untenable.

    I understand the natural instinct here is to try and sweep every anti-independence argument under the carpet, but it’s better to acknowledge stuff like this for what it is. Businesses are naturally going to be uncertain about independence because we have no firm answers on issues like the currency and our transition to EU membership. That’s a genuine, tangible problem – it’s not a mainstream media myth. You solve that problem by giving assurances (assurances evidently that Standard Life haven’t had).

  53. gorodz says:

    What – no sign of the ‘Lindsay’ person to put us all right ?

    No brow beating today ?

  54. gillie says:

    Gillie says: “This Standard Life announcement is what I would expected from scheming unionists just weeks and days before the referendum not 7 months away.”

    Cath says: “Yeah but it would be naive to assume that means they don’t have anything else up their sleeve. You have to wonder, if they’re bringing this stuff up now, what will they have to resort to by September?”

    Difficult to think what other fear bombs BT would have left in their armoury come September, apart from sending in the tanks claiming that Scotland was under an immediate threat from a terrorist state.

    The problem for BT is that sooner than later Scots are just going to laugh off these scare stories and ridicule the story tellers in the process.

  55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “That might not be the sensation it’s being presented as, but it’s not a complete non-story either.”

    I didn’t say it was a complete non-story. I said it was being distorted and spun.

  56. G H Graham says:

    Plenty of time for some more British media scare stories such as…

    “Scottish moors could spontaneously combust if separatists get their way, claims foreign estate owner.”

  57. Embradon says:

    Always better to get information from the horse’s mouth rather than from the selection of horse’s arses in the MSM.

  58. gillie says:

    Bill Walters have you read the White Paper?

    You’ll find that Standard Life’s concerns over;

    1. The currency.
    2. EU membership.
    3. The monetary system.
    4. Financial services regulation.
    5. The effect of independence on taxation policies.

    have all been addressed in detail.

    Also I understand that though Standard Life have claimed they have been in contact with politicians on both sides to clarify these matters, this may not be as claimed.

  59. Fergus H says:

    Standard Life policy just cancelled.

    Stated I was livid they had allowed themselves to be manipulated by the Unionist media.

    And on that note – BBC License was cancelled over a year ago…

  60. A renewed Scotland must guard against is importing Dublya Bush’s doctrine of liberty for companies over citizens, that is, companies given the same or greater civil rights as individuals.

    It is utterly contrary to any version of democracy.

    A company is NOT an individual.

    Company bosses declaring they dislike any move toward self-governance and are either plan contingency moves to make workers redundant, or open off-shore accounts, or to move out are, in fact, warning their staff to vote against autonomy and in so doing negate their civil rights.

    If we allow company bosses to dictate personal preferences as a means of control we have indeed ceded democracy to corporations and their lobbyists.

    Individuals MUST be free to vote according to conscience unimpaired by restraint, financial pressure, or blackmail.

  61. G H Graham says:

    Standard Life, “We want clarity on lots of issues.”

    Interviewer, “Have you asked the Scottish Government?”

    Standard Life, “No, but we want answers.”

    Interviewer, “You may find them in the White Paper?”

    Standard Life, “We haven’t read it & if we had, we won’t like what we see.”

    Interviewer, “British Government Chancellors have exacted a devastating impact on the financial well being of pensioners & savers.”

    Standard Life, “Perhaps, but none of us on the board are affected.”

    Interviewer, “Thanks for making your selfish interests clear.”

  62. Vestas says:

    @Bill Walters

    There’s nothing in there which is unexpected. The legal duty of a director is to the shareholders (feel free to fall about laughing) so if the directors failed in their duty then they are legally liable in theory at least.

    SL have to operate in Scotland and England both now and after any vote. They’d be remiss in not making plans for whatever they consider the worst case.

    Something of course Westminster is signally failing to do – in terms of Trident for example. Who could blame them of course – dumping Trident in any English constituency apart from Barrow-in-Furness is the ultimate vote loser.

    Likewise we all know that whoever inhabits 11 Downing St, the markets won’t let them cast us out of Sterling. The balance of trade accounts will be somewhere around £12bn/year more and that’s without considering oil.

  63. yerkitbreeks says:

    From The Motley Fool :

    “I tend to think of financial companies like Standard Life by analogy — as ‘a rowing boat bobbing precariously on a choppy, windswept lake’, for example.

    The rowing boat equates to Standard Life’s operating business, which last year delivered fee, commission and other revenues of £983m. The choppy, windswept lake is the investment business, which carries around £232 billion of assets. Here, the firm invests its customers’ money to earn an investment return, like last year’s £13,982 million ‘top-line’ contribution.

    Such investments in equities, property, company debt and the like, around the world, are the real earners for Standard Life. Direct profitability on the SIPPs, pensions, savings products, investment bonds and insurances that the firm provides becomes almost irrelevant as profit on investment saves the day.”

    So there you have it folks. Unlike when SL started out all those years ago as a prudential institution, it isn’t really interested in being a platform for your individual pension, for example, but really wants to spend its time in the “casino” environment of London and look where that got us over the last seven years.

    Therefore let it create subsidiaries for this part to head off and maybe in old fashioned Scots tradition we can keep the bit that’s less spivvy. Would suit me anyhow.

  64. Dcanmore says:

    I see this as a warning shot to the SNP that says ‘Don’t mess with how we do business and make sure you get that monetary union sorted’ in the event of an independent Scotland.

  65. muttley79 says:

    Incidentally, this series of scaremongering came after the news that the Yes campaign had closed the gap significantly a few weeks ago. Then we had the currency union ‘rejection’ by Osborne, the EU continuing saga with Barroso’s comments on funnily enough the BBC!, and now the Standard Life intervention. If people can recall the referendum campaign of 1997, a senior figure from the Bank of Scotland came out with exactly the same spiel as SL today. However, the difference was that it was close to the end of the campaign (if my memory is not playing up).

    So basically, it looks like the No campaign have massively panicked over the rise in support for independence. It appears as if they are rapidly running out of ammunition. Captain Darling has shot his bolt and is about to send his troops into no man’s land with barely any ammunition…. 😀 😀

  66. Weedeochqndorris says:

    @gorodz – you mean Ladysin 🙂

  67. troushers says:

    It’s interesting flicking from the Guardian’s live blog to their Standard life article.

    It seems to have disappeared now, but it quoted the RBS annual report (p202), saying
    “The Group’s ability to meet its obligations including its funding commitments depends on the Group’s ability to access sources of liquidity and funding. The inability to access liquidity and funding due to market conditions or otherwise or to do so at a reasonable cost due to increased regulatory constraints, could adversely affect the Group’s financial condition and results of operations.

    Furthermore, the Group’s borrowing costs and its access to the debt capital markets and other sources of liquidity depend significantly on its and the UK Government’s credit ratings which would be likely to be negatively impacted by political events, such as an affirmative outcome of the referendum for the independence of Scotland.”

    In other words, RBS is concerned that if Scotland becomes independent, the UK’s credit rating will be flushed down the pan. Perhaps some of the press coverage should focus on RBS’s option to move their operations wholly to Scotland, in the event of a yes vote?

    Note: the Guardian’s Standard Life writeup chose to focus on another part of the RBS report:
    “Another pillar of the Scottish financial establishment, Royal Bank of Scotland, added to business community concerns over the 18 September referendum by warning that independence “would be likely to significantly impact the group’s credit ratings and could also impact the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which the group is subject”

  68. Tartan Tory says:

    As a policyholder and shareholder of Standard Life, I decided to seek the truth behind these ‘headlines’. Here is what Standard Life have ACTUALLY said:

    “We are CONSIDERING what we MIGHT do AFTER 2016, IF material uncertainties about money and regulation are not negotiated effectively by an independent Scottish Government”

    So, you heard it hear first folks……. IT’S NOT HEADLINE NEWS!!!!

    In fact, as a policyholder and shareholder, I’d be concerned if they weren’t looking ahead at various financial scenarios!! After all, that’s what they do every day!

    However, this is a case of ‘somebody’ intervening in a democratic process with scare stories to influence a vote. Will it surprise anyone to know that the Standard Life chairman was “Thatcher’s sell-off guru” and Tory party chum(p)?

    I’m just off the phone with Standard Life (in London) and THEY are NOT HAPPY with the manner in which this is being portrayed by the BBC.

    If you’d like to hear it from the horses mouth (Standard Life in Kent!), call 0845 113 0045, press option 4 and wait for a charming young lady to talk to you in a very clear and unambiguous manner about how they haven’t said anything in the way that it’s been reported by the BBC. She reckoned that news of a woman being knocked down by a bus on some high street was more important news than this.

    I have suggested to them (as a concerned shareholder) that they should act to redress the imbalance by actually holding a press conference – note that the ‘news’ today was not based on a press conference – and explaining that their position is not as the has BBC reported it. However, if they do this, I’m not holding my breath for it to be reported by the BBC.

  69. proudscot says:

    Once again Johann Lamont seems to have not been genetically programmed to accept answers at FMQs, even when the First Minister reads out the actual words spoken by someone she has just misquoted in the chamber.

    For once this morning, the Presiding Officer pulled her up for accusing the First Minister of lying – she actually used the term “deception”. She should however have been made to withdraw the remark, as she would have been ordered to do in the Westminster parliament.

  70. theycan'tbeserious says:

    The uncertainty around independence is being created by Westminster as it serves their purpose to create uncertainty and cause fear. Clarity on currency, EU etc. can be easily achieved with westminster’s cooperation, they however refuse to cooperate. Business leaders could apply common sense and seek clarification from the government that will see Scotland attain independence. Too much old school tie and back scratching going on between big business and the establishment in the uk of today resulting in business leaders being compromised and used for political gain. Who loses out in this power play…the truth and the people. Shame on you!

  71. Drew fucked right off Ure says:

    I am due to renew my television licence this month and I must say that I am positively not going to. I will withdraw my implied rights of access and they can switch the BBC signal to my address off, which they can’t, I know. If I dont pay my telephone bill they can as can my internet and satellite tv provider. Their technology is their problem, not mine. I am sick to the back teeth of spin and lies and downright blatant bias against anyone who would seek an independent Scotland. Shame on them, shame on BBC Scotland, shame on BBC radio, shame on every other news and media outlet who persist in peddling this puerile and diabolical amount of twisted commentary on the single biggest decision this country has ever faced.
    They can fuck off.

  72. Conan_the_Librarian says:


    Supporter number 1314 🙂

  73. Brian Nicholson says:

    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….Standard Life

    All the rest is Project Fear and MSM lies.

  74. muttley79 says:

    Has anyone got any links to scaremongering by large companies and banks previously in regards to constitutional change here?

  75. Sunshine on Crieff says:

    @Fergus H

    Standard Life policy just cancelled.

    Stated I was livid they had allowed themselves to be manipulated by the Unionist media.

    What was their response?

  76. G H Graham says:


    Do you want to find out which Chief Executives of companies operating in Scotland like Standard Life or Ultimo that have said “Boo!” ?

  77. muttley79 says:

    @G H Graham

    Was on Guardian’s Cif about the SL story, and was wondering if there was any old newspaper stories about corporations/banks etc threatening to leave if we voted for devolution?

  78. bookie from hell says:

    I only found Wings over Scotland website 2 weeks ago.

    What has shocked me has been the BBC,I always thought they were neutral,never crossed my mind.

    now im checking here after bbc report.

  79. Lee Rogers says:

    Hate to be Banquo at the feast, but the penultimate para of SL’s statement has a wee sting in it:
    “We are simply putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional change, allows us to provide continuity to customers”

    Which implies, does it not, that they don’t believe they would be able to provide continuity under their current arrangements, following a constitutional change?

  80. Linda's Back says:

    Interesting background to Mr Grimstone from Standard Life

    You know the economy must be bad when even Gordon Brown decides to sell off some of the family silver to plug the hole in the Government’s finances. As the Sunday Telegraph reported, he has hired Standard Life chairman Gerry Grimstone to help him sell a large number of his precious state assets.

    It’s a daunting job, but Grimstone, someone who has overseen perhaps 20 privatisation deals, is just the man to do it. In Mrs Thatcher’s Treasury he was put in charge of privatisation policy, and in the private sector he carried on structuring more state sell-offs.

    Fortunately, a lot of the work has already been done for him. Last April, in the Adam Smith Institute’s Privatization: Reviving the Momentum, city analyst Nigel Hawkins identified a whole list of privatisation targets that should bring in a cool £20bn or so.

    Grimstone might like to start with the Royal Mail, worth about £4bn in itself. Other countries’ post offices are booming since being privatised, so we don’t we liberate ours from the state too?

  81. Grouse Beater says:


    And a few others asking how to avoid paying BBC license fee – you can pick it up free of charge on your iPlayer – smaller screen that a TV, I know, but until Scotland gets its own broadcasting company, makes it own for worldwide sale and buys in some programmes – as it most certainly will, iPlayer is the answer.

  82. Juteman says:

    A cynic would think the No camp knew the excellent report from Standards and Poors was coming out today, so had to manufacture another story to bury it.

  83. whatastramash says:

    Just repeated on BBC,”Standard Life will withdraw from Scotland if Yes vote” not what the press release says at all.

  84. Gone South says:

    Sorry but I’m ignorant so please enlighten me. Most of these ‘Doom’ press stories use the word ‘could’ which is exactly the same word used in SL’s annual report which is referred to in the statement. So where’s the gross distortion?

  85. Scotwaykate says:

    In light of the present bias reporting in regard to Scottish Independence from the BBC . May I suggest we could alleviate some of our frustration by stating some alternatives for the abbreviated form BBC. Eg. Banal Bias Conspiracy :- ) Also to protect myself from their manipulative form of reporting I have decided to choose alternative channels from now on. Thank you Wings over Scotland …keep up the good work. Good will prevail over evil in the end !

  86. bjsalba says:

    Looks like Business for Scotland just answered my earlier question about what Standard Life really said at devolution.

  87. Andrew Mott says:

    Final straw, TV license cancelled along with a wee note that I’m not prepared to pay for their propaganda. I’d encourage everyone else to do the same.

  88. halftracknat says:

    complaint duly submitted to BBC following latest PPB on 6 o’clock news

  89. Albalha says:

    Michelle Thomson of Business for Scotland will be on Sky News after 7pm. Any capture appreciated.

  90. msean says:

    Once again,money men create uncertainty.Must be an excuse to raise premiums or some such.

  91. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Drew fucked right off Ure –

    Well said that man. Couldn’t have put it better meself.

  92. Albalha says:

    @tartan tory

    However you need to ask the Standard Life woman why their company gave a briefing to a select group of journalists yesterday.

  93. Ryan Flagstaff says:

    I note that the BBC’s onscreen ticker has, for most of today had the caption ‘Standard Life…etc…FIRST..major company to announce plans to relocate in case of Yes vote’, yet again it’s subtle but it’s there, even the ticker is subliminally coded to imply a ‘run’ of companies about to make the same announcement.

  94. twenty14 says:

    Went tae work this morning with a spring in my step and full of the joys of life – came into tonight to be told I’ve no insurance for it 🙂

  95. Mad Jock McMad says:

    Apparently as a result of the press and media misinformation campaign Standard Life’s shares took a big drop this pm.

    Win, Win and bet Standard Life’s CEO is really chuffed.

  96. Graeme McCormick says:

    The most revealing comments by Standard Life relate to its concerns that the regulatory regime might be different.

    Initially the Scottish government confirms that the regulation will be the same.

    If I were considering an insurance product I would feel more confidence in a company subject to robust regulation.

    There is an opportunity for the new Scotland to tighten regulation in the interests of consumers.

    Standard Life must be challenged as to why it fears greater scrutiny of its operations?

    While doing so it must also explain why its performance for consumers is very underwhelming.

  97. Muscleguy says:

    I think you have been too generous by half Rev. SL have form in this area as others have pointed out and the plausible deniability is about right.

    I suspect it’s a ploy to try and get John Swinney to say something attackable. He can’t even announce some policy as there’s an election between now and Independence Day and he may not even be in post then.

    I’ve been told online several times this week that the SNP will disband after a Yes vote. As though all this tribal hatred between them and Labour will just evaporate. What worries me despite the polls is that after a Yes too many people will think there’s no point in voting SNP any more. I just hope the party strategists have got a good set of policies to differentiate them from Labour.

    After all would any of us trust a Labour govt or a Labour led coalition to sign off the final negotiations in our favour?

    Back in NZ a Labour coalition ended British honours, knighthoods, MBEs etc as there is now a NZ set of honours. Then the local tories got elected and rescinded it to the delight of all the toadies with a cultural cringe. Sound familiar?

  98. Seasick Dave says:

    I e-mailed SL yesterday and asked them directly if they would be relocating in the event of a democratic vote by the people of Scotland to choose Independence.

    Cue tumbleweed and the hooting of owls…

  99. StewartB says:

    On Standard Life, the Annual Report refers to a strong performance in 2013 and forecasts strong performance in 2014 …… despite all the uncertainties around.

    I suspect also that this company is as resilient now as it has been in surviving two world wars, the depression of the 1930’s, the recent financial crash – and even devolution for Scotland! And I expect the Annual Report next year to include a reference to contingency planning in case the rUK votes in a referendum to leave the EU. A degree of common sense is needed here.

    Of course the BBC builds on its worst case view of the SL statement by again and again referring to Bob Dudley’s (BP CEO) recent statement. The following is interesting in this context:

    1) Extract from a profile of Bob Dudley, CEO of BP compiled from public domain sources at :

    “We make big, long-term bets that sometimes do not produce revenue for a decade. We have to think about developing a work force and a sustainable investment that can live — in some cases — through multiple changes of government. The only way you can do that is to step back and try not to get yourself too deeply involved in the politics of a country.”

    2) Extract from a report of an interview with Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP on 19 February, 2014 (SOURCE:

    …. there will be no effect “whatsoever” on the oil sector if Scotland becomes independent. He said: “Our industry is very good at working with whoever happens to be in power. It’s what the industry does.” “My view is the industry will continue to invest and life will continue.”

    In short, for successful companies, resilience in working in an uncertain world is a core competence.

  100. tattie scone says:

    Did anyone register comment by j.t broadhurst at one o five pm? I think he might be Lindsay’s dad or something.

  101. Arel says:

    Before it goes maybe it could reimburse me the £9,000 shortfall in my endowment mortgage that came about due to its mis-investing my hard earned cash. Very silent on that score is it not?

  102. Colzium says:

    Everyone seems very down about the release of this statement; however, surely the big fat positive from all of this is that Standard Life see a very real prospect of a Yes victory? What’s not to like about that?

  103. Barry says:

    An article about Standard Life threatening to leave Scotland. Only this one is from 1992 and warns against devolution. Hmmm.

  104. Wee Iain says:

    One correspondent said of industry “working with whoever is in power is what we do”. Well it looks like Standard Life Knows who’ll have the whip hand!

  105. Wee Iain says:

    One correspondent said of industry “working with whoever is in power is what we do”. Well it looks like Standard Life Knows who’ll have the whip hand!

  106. Haivers says:

    As this story has today been given new legs, I’m posting here a link to my own thoughts on the matter:

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top