While the No vote in Scotland's recent independence referendum has helped clear up many issues as regards the nation's future, Scotland's wealth management industry still faces uncertainties in a number of areas, according to Chief Investment Officer Haig Bathgate.
The promise by the London-based parties to give more powers to the Scottish Government coupled with changes outlined already in the Scotland Act mean there is a lot of unpredictability still in play, Haig told an audience at the Scotsman Referendum Breakfast in Edinburgh today.
There is confusion as to whether the referendum debate has permanently damaged the finance industry in Scotland. Many Scottish financial companies saw their share prices slide before the vote (global economic anxiety since then has taken over as the main driver of stock markets), the number of those working in Scotland's finance industry dropped in the run up to the referendum, while the amount invested with Scottish fund managers also fell, although this was against a background of a slowdown in the amount of money coming into UK funds overall. It may take some time for the industry to recover lost assets and jobs.
Most uncertainty, however, resides in the sphere of taxation and the SNP has already signified a change by announcing a more strongly progressive system on duties paid when buying property. Should Scotland take on responsibility for capital gains taxes that may make it more costly for the customers of wealth managers, while devolved responsibility for corporation taxes may well mean a reduction in the burden for those who own businesses.
Hovering in the background for the UK and its finance industry as whole is the prospect of a referendum in 2017 on the UK leaving the European Union – the uncertainty most definitely is not at an end.
This content was generated prior to Turcan Connell Asset Management Limited operating as Tcam.