Britain's business community

1 in 5 firms may move ops abroad: Poll

Big Mistake? That is the name of a Brexit beer specially made by a Dublin bar to mark the result of the British referendum.
Big Mistake? That is the name of a Brexit beer specially made by a Dublin bar to mark the result of the British referendum.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • One-fifth of British business leaders are considering moving operations abroad after the country's decision to leave the European Union, according to a survey from a leading business lobby group.

The Institute of Directors (IoD), which polled more than 1,000 of its members between last Friday and Sunday, said one in four also planned to freeze recruitment following the referendum result.

Among companies surveyed, 22 per cent said they are considering moving some of their operations outside Britain. Almost two- thirds, or 64 per cent of IoD members, think the result is negative for their business, while 23 per cent think it is positive and 9 per cent say it makes no difference.

"Businesses will be busy working out how they are going to adapt and succeed after the referendum result," said IoD director- general Simon Walker.

"A majority of business leaders think the vote for Brexit is bad for them, and as a result plans for investment and hiring are being put on hold or scaled back," he said.

Over a third of IoD members said the vote will cause them to cut investment, against one in 10 who said they will increase investment.

The Brexit vote has also stoked fears that investors and bankers could flee London, threatening its coveted reputation as a global financial hub. The financial sector provides one in three jobs, or some 1.25 million. "Some firms that saw London as a platform for serving the integrated EU market will relocate at least part of their headquarters' functions to other cities within the EU," said Mr Greg Clark of the Brookings Institution.

US banking giant JPMorgan, which has around 16,000 staff in Britain, said last Friday that it "may need to make changes to our European legal entity structure and the location of some roles".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline '1 in 5 firms may move ops abroad: Poll '. Print Edition | Subscribe