RBS will move to England if Scotland becomes independent

Ross McEwan is the outgoing boss of RBS. Picture: PA/John Devlin
Ross McEwan is the outgoing boss of RBS. Picture: PA/John Devlin
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The Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive has said the bank will move its head office south of the border if Scotland votes to become independent.

Ross McEwan, who is leaving RBS to become the next boss of National Australia Bank , warned the bank would be "too big for Scotland" should the nation opt for separation from the UK.

When asked about the constitutional issue, Mr McEwan told journalists in Glasgow: "Leave it to the Scottish people. It is your call. You have got to make the calls on these things. We have just got to prepare as well as [we can] for that. There is nothing new in that for what we have to do.”

READ MORE: Poll: Majority of Scots now in favour of independence
The CEO voiced his belief that the Scottish Government would want the bank to “take the plaque and move it to England”, The Herald reported.

Mr McEwan added: "If you talk to the Scottish Government, they would want us to..move it to England because the balance sheet size of this thing would just be too big for Scotland; £730-odd billion you can't support it."

The debate on Scottish independence has intensified this week after a poll, conducted in the wake of Mr Johnson’s first visit as Prime Minister to Scotland, showed 52 per cent of Scots are now in favour of independence, compared with 48 per cent against. It also saw almost half polled – 47 per cent – say they wanted a second independence referendum to be held within the next two years.

New Zealander McEwan announced in April that he was stepping down, saying at the time: "I have delivered the strategy that I set out in 2013 and now feels like the right time for me to step aside and for a new CEO to lead the bank."

RBS pointed out that he has a 12 month notice period extending to April 2020 and will remain in position until an "orderly handover" to his successor has taken place. He started as RBS chief in October 2013, having previously worked at Commonwealth Bank of Australia where he latterly led its retail banking services.