SCOTTISH Secretary Michael Moore last night warned that independence would disrupt the country’s financial services.
The Lib Dem used a keynote speech to business leaders to claim that there would be “huge implications” for Scotland’s financial sector if the UK’s single market was broken up by independence.
His claim came after the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries – the professional body representing actuaries in the UK – said there were key questions to answer about pensions in an Independent Scotland.
Mr Moore, speaking in London to an audience of the Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), also warned that there would be major costs in setting up new pensions and insurance products in an independent Scotland.
He said: “If you believed the Scottish Government, you might think that not much would change for you and your companies in the event of Yes vote.
“The financial and professional services sector would continue pretty much as it does now, and the creation of an entirely separate state would be achieved without any real difficulty for you or your customers.
“That is, of course, nonsense. Make no mistake, independence would mean change – huge change – for you, for your businesses, for your customers. The break-up of the UK single market would have huge implications for the Scottish financial services industry.
“There are implications of having a separate Scottish regulatory system, requiring the potential reworking of UK-wide products such as pensions, life insurance, motor insurance and ISAs to suit a much smaller Scottish market – and all the costs that would entail.”
However, SNP MSP John Wilson insisted that Scottish independence would lead to improvements in financial services, with Holyrood having full powers over the sector.
Mr Wilson said: “The reputation of Scotland’s international markets is second to none.
“Scotland’s financial sector is well respected and independence is not a barrier to ongoing success in it.
“Scottish independence would actually strengthen the country’s financial services.”