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RBS may move HQ to London

RBS(1)Royal Bank of Scotland would move its headquarters from Edinburgh to London if Scotland votes for independence later this year according to Vince Cable, business secretary. Scotland will hold a referendum in September on whether to end its 307-year union with England, with polls showing around 42% planning to vote against independence and 29% in favour. Cable said the greater stability offered by Britain’s established financial system and regulation would tempt the bank to move its base to England. He added that there is substantial amount of management in London and he would think that inevitably it would become a London bank. Britain pumped 45 billion pounds into RBS to keep it afloat during the 2008 financial crisis, leaving taxpayers with an 81% shareholding in what was briefly the world’s biggest bank following a huge expansion led by its former chief executive Fred Goodwin. Since its rescue, RBS has been embroiled in scandals ranging from the mis-selling of U.S. home loans to the attempted rigging of benchmark interest rates. It is not expected to return to private hands for another three to five years, according to banking industry and political sources, raising further question marks over whether it could remain domiciled in Scotland. The bank employs 12,000 staff north of the border and is still headquartered in Gogarburn, to the west of Scottish capital Edinburgh, where around 3,200 staff are located in a complex featuring shops and restaurants that became a symbol of Goodwin’s excesses. Although its senior managers have been based in London since the bailout, previous chief executive Stephen Hester had spoken of strong emotional ties between the bank and Scotland.

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