A majority of UK chief executive officers are considering moving their headquarters or operations outside the country, a KPMG survey has revealed, directly linking the sentiment to the Brexit vote and the uncertainty surrounding it.
69% of the CEOs are confident the British economy will grow over the next year.
The survey found that 72% of the CEOs interviewed had voted in favour of “Remain” at the 23 June referendum. Now, 76% of them said they would look at some form of relocation post-Brexit.
“CEOs are reacting to the prevailing uncertainty with contingency planning….Over half believe the UK’s ability to do business will be disrupted once we Brexit and therefore, for many CEOs, it is important that they plan different scenarios to hedge against future disruption,” KPMG UK Chairman Simon Collins was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
The survey also showed that despite plans for relocation, 73% of the company bosses were confident that their companies will grow. Also 69% of them expressed confidence in the British economy, predicting it would continue to grow over the next year.
The UK is likely to begin formal talks to leave the European Union in early 2017.
The survey went on to suggest that British PM Theresa May would have her work cut out in retaining businesses and jobs post-Brexit. When the CEOs were asked what would encourage them to continue investing in the UK after leaving the European Union, a majority of them said certainty over trade terms was the most important deciding factor.
KPMG’s Collins also warned that, “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.
“Contingency planning is just that –- a form of insurance –- but it must not become ‘plan A.’ Moving headquarters abroad is radical and hits the headlines but businesses could start shifting operations abroad with little public attention. We hear it time and time again that business needs certainty.”