Scottish independence: City traders and Bank face long night on alert

Trading rooms are calling in extra staff to cover the results of Scotland's  vote

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Bankers, traders and the technocrats at the Bank of England and the Treasury are gearing up for the busiest day since the heights of the global financial crisis as the market awaits the Scottish referendum result in the early hours of tomorrow.

With the result expected at any time between 4am and 8am, City staff are being drafted in for extra long shifts to allow clients to trade in 24-hour markets like the pound.

Bank of England employees will be preparing statements to calm the markets in the event of a Yes vote, monitor any possible capital flight and keep an eye on the robustness of British banks’ systems; the Treasury would also be likely to make an early statement, as would the Department of Business, while Lloyds and RBS would confirm their plans to move their registered office address to London.

The Bank’s Governor, Mark Carney, will arrive at Threadneedle Street tonight, having flown in from Australia, where he has cut short his attendance at a G20 meeting of finance ministers.

Credit Suisse is among banks keeping its sterling trading teams in all through the night in London: “Normally, they would hand over to their colleagues in the US and then on to Asia, but we will have these traders in overnight,” said a spokesman. “It’s about being able to service clients effectively … as well as managing our own positions.”

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Claude Goulet, HSBC’s foreign exchange and commodities sales head, said it too was extending coverage in London: “We are planning for a later shift on Thursday night and an earlier shift on Friday morning.”

There are no plans to change the 8am start time to trading on the London Stock Exchange.