News Column

TSB to be based in England despite roots north of the Border

February 21, 2014

Magnus Gardham; Magnus Gardham

THE TSB, one of Scotland's most historic banks, is to be based in England ahead of its sell-off by Lloyds Banking Group, sparking claims the independence referendum is influencing business decisions.

Lloyds said yesterday it would register TSB south of the Border instead of in Scotland before selling the 631-branch bank later this year. The banking giant insisted the move was "standard practice".

But pro-UK politicians claimed the move was a sign of "uncertainty" caused by the vote on Scottish independence.

Scottish Labour's finance spokesman, Iain Gray, said: "This is very bad news indeed for Scotland, and a wake-up call for the SNP. For months now, Alex Salmond has simply refused to listen to any suggestion that his referendum is creating uncertainty in the Scottish economy, or that important businesses fear the consequences of separation.

"Now we have a major player in the Scottish financial sector, which employs 95,000, choosing to register in England rather than Scotland, where it has always been based."

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman, Gavin Brown MSP, said: "If it's the case that the independence referendum was a factor in this, that would be very much a cause for concern.

"This move also means we have to watch very closely if other major businesses make similar decisions."

TSB, which grew out of a 19th Century parish savings bank in the Dumfriesshire village of Ruthwell, will be placed in a holding company registered in London though its banking licence will be retained in Scotland.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We welcome the fact that TSB Bank plc is registered as a Scottish bank, retaining its traditional Scottish roots."

A spokesman for TSB said: "Lloyds Banking Group intends to sell TSB Bank via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2014.

"As part of the process for preparing for the IPO, Lloyds Banking Group has established a new holding company for TSB called TSB Banking Group plc.

"The new company replaces an existing company, which currently holds TSB Bank in the LBG corporate structure, and like this existing company will be registered in London at TSB's main office.

"Establishing new companies as part of a listing or IPO process is standard practice."

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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