Brexit: CEOs are making plans to leave Britain
More than three-quarters of chief executive officers are considering moving either their headquarters or some operations outside of Britain, accountancy firm KPMG reports today, citing a survey of 100 business leaders from companies with annual sales of at least £100 million.
Separately, the CBI and PricewaterhouseCoopers report that sentiment in the financial services sector deteriorated in the three months to September. That matters: theFinancial Times today estimates that banks which use the U.K. as a gateway to the EU employ more than 590,000 people and have assets of more than £7.5 trillion.
The surveys suggest Prime Minister Theresa May faces a challenge to retain businesses and jobs once the Brexit negotiations get underway, and that talk of a “Hard Brexit” risks prompting companies to accelerate introduction of their own exit strategies.
“CEOs are reacting to the prevailing uncertainty with contingency planning,” said Simon Collins, KPMG’s U.K. chairman.
Still, 69 percent of firms told KPMG they’re confident Britain’s economy will continue to grow over the next year and 73 percent were sure their own businesses would expand.
As for when the talks will begin, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s latest estimate is a little less clear than in other recent interviews. “Obviously we can’t let the progress drag on,” he told the BBC on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today cited Brexit among the major downside risks for the world economy.
The European Central Bank also may already be preparing to ensure its euro banknotes are no longer printed in Britain. Lorcan Roche Kelly of Bloomberg spotted a discussion of the topic in a list of decisions taken by the governing council at its most recent meetings. Among printing works listed on the ECB website for banknote production is De La Rue Plc, a company based in Basingstoke in the U.K.
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