Brexit: UK-based firms in no rush to relocate

A majority of businesses are yet to change their strategic planning due to Britain’s decision to leave the EU, a survey of chief financial officers shows.

The Reuters survey found only 12% of CFOs had investigated moving operations out of Britain, and while 34% said that they anticipated the number of employees in the UK decreasing, only 19% said they planned to relocate staff as a result of Brexit.

Big businesses were vocal in the run-up to the referendum in June of last year that a vote to leave the EU could hit investment and the labour market, with uncertainty lingering over sectors from financial services to the car industry.

However, the survey of 200 CFOs across Britain and Europe found that 69% of businesses had not seen an impact from the vote for Brexit on their strategic planning.

“The results suggest a relatively muted response from business so far – not the knee-jerk reaction that some expected,” said Laurence Kiddle, MD for the EMEA Tax and Accounting business of Thomson Reuters.

Some are changing their plans in response to Brexit already, with 21% of all CFOs saying they had held off from expanding in the UK as a result of the vote. Earlier this month Royal Bank of Scotland said it will move 150 jobs to Amsterdam due to Brexit. However, the survey suggests that CFOs are, on average, so far sanguine about Britain’s departure from the bloc.

Confidence among the CFOs in Theresa May’s ability to generate a positive deal for business is just 3.5 out of 10, the survey shows. The CFOs place most trust in finance minister Philip Hammond and Bank of England governor Mark Carney.



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