Businesses face ‘race against time’ to prepare for Brexit
Businesses across the UK and Europe face a “race against time” to prepare for Brexit, according to advisers at Pinsent Masons.
A YouGov survey of senior decision makers in over 1,000 businesses across Europe, conducted on behalf of the international law firm, found 1 in 4 of organisations surveyed had a tangible plan for dealing with risks arising from a ‘Brexit’, while more than half (53 per cent) said there had been no board level discussion about the potential impacts of Brexit.
Guy Lougher, partner and head of the Brexit Advisory Team convened at Pinsent Masons, said: “The uncertainties in a Brexit scenario are so great that there may be a temptation to do nothing until negotiations start to create a clearer picture.
“However, the days when a business can say ‘wait and see’ are gone. While one cannot protect against all risks, it is important that there is no panic – it is possible to identify the risk areas and get on to the front foot. Adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach may mean doing nothing for years.”
“Already we are advising our clients on the review of business-critical contracts. Agreements which specifically reference the EU as the territory governed by the contract may lack clarity. There may also be ambiguity around how the impact of tariffs will be shared. The sooner amendments can be agreed or terms negotiated, the more businesses can increase their sense of certainty.
“Deals which have been on ice or contain Brexit clauses may be renegotiated or even pulled and raising new finance in such an uncertain environment will be more challenging. It was surprising, looking at the research we undertook, how few businesses entered into discussions with investors and funders ahead of time. Again, that now has to become a priority and if we see a period of volatility in the markets as predicted, some of those conversations will be pressing.
“People will also be starting to assess how fundamental changes to Freedom of Movement might impact staff and operations. The one in ten businesses who have discussed moving operations abroad are likely to renew those conversations, while others may start to look at their options in earnest.”