Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan told the BBC that the company would probably move its registered headquarters out of Scotland in the event of a “Yes” vote in any future independence referendum.
McEwan stressed however that “moving the plaque” would not lead to major job losses in Scotland.
The BBC said that before the first Scottish independence vote in 2014 RBS confirmed it had drawn up contingency plans to “re-domicile” the bank’s holding company to England.
In an interview with the BBC McEwan said: “We’d have to make the same moves I suspect because the Royal Bank of Scotland, being domiciled in Scotland, would just be too big for the economy, even in the shape that we’re building.
“That’s around the plaque, it’s not about where our people are because we have a very big business up here in Scotland.
“I’ve got 12,000 people who serve both the Scottish people and we also run our retail business from up here along with a lot of our technology.
“Two years ago when we had the Scottish referendum, I made it very clear we’d have the people in the right place, that moving the plaque didn’t make any difference to them.
“I think that would be the same. I think for any country, they just need to remain very competitive so businesses like ourselves want to operate in those countries.”
Asked what he would say to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon if she wanted his views on the economic impact of a second independence vote, he replied: “Just take account of uncertainty — that’s what you’re seeing after Brexit.
“It’s uncertainty that slows markets down.
“Make sure the long game’s worth it. But that’s going to be up to the people of Scotland.”