Breakfast Forum: Is your business prepared for the outcome of the EU referendum?

01 June 2016

The recently held breakfast forum, co-hosted by MHA MacIntyre Hudson and [W]sq solutions, on the impending vote on the EU Referendum saw participation from a wide group of experienced industry leaders who all shared their views on the implications of the vote to their individual businesses and industries, as well as the wider business environment of the UK.

The discussion touched upon the effect an exit from the EU would have on the work force within the UK and the regulatory issues that could arise to prevent the hiring non- UK nationals. 

Mark Anderson (Director, We Love Digital) was very vocal about the talent he brings over from other countries within Europe, including Eastern Europe. According to him, the UK may become the “poor man” of Europe if we reduce our ability to attract and hire the right creative talent. Brad Antin (MD, Caddy Recruitment Ltd) agreed with this point as he was of the opinion that UK talent is thinning out.

The conversation then moved on the issue of business and trade within the EU. Once again, Mark Anderson shared his concerns and pointed out that an exit would mean that the UK would need to adhere to EU rules in order to trade within it, but would no longer be in a position to define the rules by which we play.  John Simpson (COO, Influential Software Ltd) shared his concerns regarding clients that he had in the City who he believed would leave the UK, if the decision was made for us to leave.

Brett Loveday (MD, Thintech) mentioned that he has a branch of his business based in Bulgaria and if there is a Brexit, he believes the ‘Local Authority’ in the UK may have a problem with this due to their protocols, if the UK were to leave the EU.

Parvez Kayani (CEO, Datateam Business Media) said he believed that businesses adapted to a changing world, whatever happens. So in a sense, an exit would not be the end of the world for business environment within the UK.

Wayne Wright from [W]sq solutions emphasised the importance of keeping close to customers and suppliers and to understand their fears around a Brexit situation rather than wait for it to potentially happen.  Parvez Kayani added also the importance of communicating and discussing Brexit with the workforce to help ease any uncertainty in relation to their role in the company.

The participants had enjoyed the exchange of thoughts and it was agreed that businesses do not like uncertainty and that a Brexit vote could be potentially difficult for businesses. However, the timescales for major structural changes would stretch across years, giving businesses a period to re-adjust to the changing climate.  At the close of the event, a straw poll of hands was conducted and all the participants indicated that they would be voting to stay in the EU on 23 June, 2016.