Scotland’s financial services would be the gold standard

Robyn Hall

May 21, 2013

In its report, the Treasury said an independent Scotland would need a separate financial regulatory regime which would drive up costs for firms which would be operating between the two countries.

But in the opening statement of his paper, Scotland’s Economy: the case for independence, Salmond said a “one-size fits all economic policy for the UK” was holding back Scotland’s chances of growth.

In the report, he said: “Our aim for financial regulation in an independent Scotland is for a thriving financial service sector as part of a balanced economy.

“Scotland’s financial services will be the gold standard and the right services will be available to all of Scotland’s people.

“This will go beyond big high street banks and include credit unions and, potentially, new forms of finance, and pensions.”

Salmond has embraced the requirement for a separate financial system and regulation framework which the Treasury stated would have to be created should Scotland become a separate state.

His response was that independence opens the opportunity for Scotland to create a successful financial sector that meets the needs of consumers and businesses.

The Treasury had outlined the argument that creating an international border would reduce financial firms’ ability to spread risk and potentially drive up the cost of financial products for Scottish households.

It said while Scotland was part of the UK, consumers would benefit from greater competition among financial firms with a greater choice of products at a lower cost.

But Salmond said the Scottish government had devised a range of measures that would encourage diversity in the sector and restore the traditional Scottish banking principles of professionalism, stewardship and prudence.

In the report, he said: “We want to develop a diverse, competitive financial services industry that is responsive to the needs of its customers, that understands its wider role in society and that behaves accordingly.

“A properly regulated and functioning financial system can play a key part in delivering this ambition.”

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