CEOs con­sider pulling up stakes be­cause of Brexit

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A sur­vey of com­pany CEOs in Bri­tain sug­gests that a ma­jor­ity is con­sid­er­ing mov­ing some busi­ness away from the UK amid con­cerns about the coun­try’s fu­ture out­side the Euro­pean Union.

Re­search by KPMG shows that three fourths of the 100 ex­ec­u­tives ques­tioned would con­sider mov­ing their head­quar­ters or some op­er­a­tions out­side Bri­tain in or­der to keep a link to the EU’s com­mon, tar­iff-less mar­ket.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is likely to take months to trig­ger the of­fi­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions to leave the EU, leav­ing the de­tails of any exit un­cer­tain for years. Some com­pa­nies, how­ever, may start shift­ing op­er­a­tions abroad with lit­tle fan­fare.

“We hear it time and time again that busi­ness needs cer­tainty,” Si­mon Collins, KPMG’s UK chair­man, said in a state­ment. “Pol­icy mak­ers should be re­ally con­cerned about a leach­ing of Bri­tish busi­ness abroad and should en­gage with busi­ness early to un­der­stand what as­sur­ances they can of­fer and closely mon­i­tor any shifts over­seas.”

Mean­while, an­other sur­vey shows that op­ti­mism in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor has fallen for a third con­sec­u­tive quar­ter — the long­est drop since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis in 2009.

The CBI/PwC Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Sur­vey of 115 firms shows fi­nance houses, build­ing so­ci­eties and in­vest­ment firms re­ported the sharpest drops in op­ti­mism as un­cer­tainty af­ter the vote to leave the EU took hold.

The re­sults are im­por­tant be­cause so much of Bri­tain’s econ­omy hinges on fi­nan­cial ser­vices — some 2 mil­lion peo­ple across the UK are di­rectly or in­di­rectly em­ployed by the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor.

An­drew Kail, UK fi­nan­cial ser­vices leader at con­sul­tancy PwC, says the worry is about “the domino ef­fect on peo­ple, pro­duc­tiv­ity and po­si­tion as a fi­nan­cial hub that must be guarded against.”

Though eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors have been rel­a­tively sta­ble since the vote, many ex­perts say it is still too early to tell how com­pa­nies are re­act­ing.

Pho­to­graph: AP

A model wears a cre­ation for Dolce & Gab­bana women's Spring-Sum­mer 2017 col­lec­tion, part of the Milan Fash­ion Week, un­veiled in Milan, Italy on Sun­day

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