RBS says main office would move if Scotland were independent: BBC

August 15, 2016 4:44 AM EDT

A Royal Bank of Scotland branch is seen in central London, Britain February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo

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EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS) would move its main office from Scotland if the nation were to split from the UK after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, although moving domicile would not mean major job losses, the head of RBS has said.

"The Royal Bank of Scotland would just be too big for the economy (...) but that's around the plaque and not about where our people (are) because we have a very big business up here in Scotland," Chief Executive Ross McEwen told the BBC in an interview.

"We will have the people in the right place, moving the plaque won't make any difference to that."

The head of Scotland's devolved government, Nicola Sturgeon, has vowed to find ways to honour Scotland's vote to stay in the European Union, which was at odds with the overall vote in Britain to leave the bloc. As part of that she said is not ruling out holding a second independence referendum.

Less than two years ago Scots voted to stay in the UK by 55 to 45 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland has been based in Scotland since 1727 and employs 11,000 staff. In the wake of Britain's vote to exit the EU, there has been debate about the impact of Brexit on financial services sector, which is key for Scottish jobs.

Asked what his advice to Sturgeon would be, McEwen said: "Take account of uncertainty, that's what you're seeing after Brexit. It's uncertainty that slows markets down, make sure the long game is worth it, but that's going to be up to the people of Scotland."

(This story corrects date of referendum in fifth par to two years ago)

(Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Michael Holden)



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