RBS could suffer a “material adverse effect” should Scots vote for independence in September this year, the Edinburgh-headquartered bank has warned.
In its clearest public position on the upcoming referendum yet, the banking giant highlighted the potential for uncertainty following a ‘Yes’ vote.
The RBS annual report stated: “The uncertainties resulting from an affirmative vote in favour of 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. Were Scotland to become independent, it may also affect Scotland's status in the EU.
“The occurrence of any of the impacts above could significantly impact the group's costs and would have a material adverse effect on the group's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.”
The RBS announcement comes two months after Edinburgh-based Standard Life said it may move operations south in the event of a pro-independence vote. Other Scottish fund managers have said they are drawing up contingency plans.
The bailed-out bank has also become central to the independence debate in a broader economic context. This week, ratings agency Standard & Poor's suggested an independent government would struggle to support its banks in the event of another financial crisis.
Opposition to independence among Scottish voters is waning, according to a Scotland on Sunday poll this month. While the Yes vote remained steady at 39%, No voters declined from 46% in March to 42%.
Favouring oil sector
Decade of uncertainty after Brexit
Recent calls for tighter remuneration rules
Took over in January
Fund restructured last year