Brexit reactions and comments from HR & business organisations

Here, at HR news we’ll keep you up to date with the reactions as they come in:

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Alessio Giorgi – MLRO Compliance Officer for Currencies.co.uk said:

“Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU we have seen the Pound drop to its lowest levels in 30 years. This volatility looks set to continue with each announcement, as the shockwaves are felt from both the leave vote and the resignation of David Cameron.

“We are anticipating significant fluctuations in exchange rates in the short-term and have extended our operating hours to provide our clients with additional coverage during this busy time.”

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Paul Cook, Founder at Alderbrooke, a leading Executive Search and Cultural Diagnostics firm, said:

“The UK’s decision to leave the EU brings with it huge uncertainty for jobs within the financial services industry. City institutions, such as JP Morgan, had warned prior to the vote that leaving the EU could mean job losses and movement of operations to the Continent. Decisions on job cuts and banks moving their headquarters outside of London will not be effective immediately – but the last thing the sector needs is months of uncertainty as to ‘what happens next?’ weighing on the existing cost pressures.”

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Sinead Hasson, MD and founder of recruitment company Hasson Associates said:

“As the owner of a small business the outcome will have a very real impact on my business and on the industry I recruit for. At Hasson Associates we recruit for the market research & insight industry, it’s an industry reliant on the knowledge and experience of people not just here in the UK, but across the whole of Europe. Our clients are international and our candidates come from all corners of Europe, those candidates make a valuable contribution to the research industry and I can’t imagine a research agency without representation from those countries.

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Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of cloud based accounting software FreeAgent  said:

“This result is a big blow to the UK’s micro-business sector and I think that a lot of people will be very concerned about what the future will hold.

“It was clear during the run up to the referendum that the overwhelming majority of micro-business owners and freelancers were in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, and that they did not think a ‘Brexit’ would be beneficial for their own businesses or the economy in general.

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Dave Chaplin, CEO and founder of Contractor Calculator, said:

“Contractors face both risks and benefits as a result of the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union (EU) in the Brexit referendum. Contractors get hired during times of uncertainty, and that’s certainly what we are facing now the UK has voted to leave the EU. However, that same uncertainty can also result in cancelled projects and lost contracts, so for contractors the Brexit scenario represents a double edged sword.

“It is during this time of uncertainty that contractors will benefit from businesses hiring contingent workers in order that they can manage risk, but this could also be when contractors are at their most vulnerable to cancelled and postponed projects.  Whatever the feeling about the outcome, the fact is that it has happened and the UK will be leaving the EU. The challenge for contractors and the contracting sector will be to turn this challenge into an opportunity.”

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Sheraz Akram, head of corporate and commercial at DJM Solicitors, said:

“From a regional perspective, most good commercial law practices all have clients who are heavily reliant on Europe for their business and this could very well be significantly impacted leading to reduced instructions, less investment and mergers and acquisitions. There may be an initial spike in advice requests but mid to long terms businesses may well suffer the ramifications of Brexit.

“In the interim period before Brexit actually becomes reality uncertainty will continue which will leave investors and decision makers pulling back from major decisions. This will continue to have an impact until we are clear on what Brexit actually looks like practically and contractually.”

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Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, said:

“We take note of the decision by the people of the United Kingdom. We urge the authorities in the UK and Europe to work collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to a new economic relationship between the UK and the EU, including by clarifying the procedures and broad objectives that will guide the process.

“We strongly support commitments of the Bank of England and the ECB to supply liquidity to the banking system and curtail excess financial volatility. We will continue to monitor developments closely and stand ready to support our members as needed.”

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Russell Gould, CEO of Digital mortgage innovator BlueZest said:

“I think the diversity of the U.K. SME means for some this will create opportunity and others big challenges. The most important thing is to not panic and make rash decisions. The market will be like a roller coaster for a while and some panic speculation will be the norm. However in time things will settle down and businesses will be able to plan appropriately and make the right decisions. The decision is made so now it is about how to participate in this new environment and looking forwards.”

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Tony Vail, Director Wealth Wizards, warned investors to think before taking action:

So the worst thing to do is act in haste without thinking through the consequences. Taking your money out of the market when it is down “locks in” the loss. If you have a financial adviser then speak to them about any concerns you have, and we would encourage Wealth Wizards clients to call us if they are at all worried.

Since we launched Wealth Wizards we have been advising our clients to internationally diversify their investments so that they would not be exposed to the UK disproportionally, and also to move away from riskier investments as they approach retirement, and this advice is likely to have served the well in the current circumstances.

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Giving his personal view on the impact of a Brexit within the world of tech and business Matt Hunt, CEO of Apadmi Enterprise, says:

“The UK and EU are markets that have continued to offer tech businesses huge growth potential and the international business community has been overwhelmingly supportive of our industry. Technology does not observe boundaries and we have been lucky to enjoy an inspiring array of tech from the UK, Europe and even further afield, which we have been able to access and use for the benefit of our customers. The UK tech industry has been in a strong position and the only limitations we’ve faced to do business has been our own ability. With the impending Brexit, there is now a high level of risk and uncertainty over our future and questions are being asked as to how will we be able to build on our success and further grow without the support of the EU – will it be from Brexit to techxit?”

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Mark Mitchell, CEO of specialist recruiters Meridian Business Support, said:

“As a country we will become less relevant. In the years to come, I expect we will experience a significant lack of investment in major industries as other countries wont want to trade with the UK. Brexit means we are isolating ourselves and we may not seem favourable to other countries.

“The result makes us appear to be less friendly and tolerant and has turned many of our workforce into official immigrants than colleagues – this will have a detrimental effect on staffing.

“Brexit will have a major impact on start-ups and businesses. The economic impact will be damaging as we have cut ourselves off from a valuable source of skilled labour and we may have cut ourselves off from the single market. It’s going to take a lot of time, money and effort in order to get new trade agreements up and off the ground.

“But we have to respect the vote, and get on with it.”

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Suzanne Horne, Partner at Paul Hastings, the global law firm, said:

The impact that a Brexit would have on UK employment legislation depends to a great extent on the nature of the withdrawal from the EU and the negotiations. There are various possibilities which the UK, and Europe, may consider. For example, remaining a European Economic Area/European Free Trade Area state, as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have done. This would likely minimise trade costs, but at a cost – the UK would remain subject to much of the EU legislation, but with no voice in the decision making process and no right of veto. Politically, this option is likely to be extremely unpopular, and does not afford the government independence from the EU legislation or the European Court of Justice. Significant changes could be on the way, and employers would be well advised to watch this space for developments.

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Simon Black, CEO, PPRO Group said:

The UK, led by London, has rapidly become a global centre for Financial Technology innovation. With an estimated 500 FinTech companies in the UK, Brexit will cost the taxman around five billion pounds* over the course of the next ten years, following the inevitable exit of the FinTech companies themselves. As well as London being a global financial hub, the UK offers specific regulatory benefits, that when combined with a massive pool of talent have made the UK the natural choice to be located both from a European perspective and for some companies, even as a global base. But with their status as financial institutions recognised across the EU and EEA under threat, all of these businesses will not wait for trade deals to be resolved. They will immediately begin forming plans to relocate at least some of their operations, and the majority of new jobs will be outside of the UK.
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Jo Sellick, managing director of recruitment firm Sellick Partnership, said:

Despite the many concerns I have about our future, I do believe there is no need to panic at this stage as it will be some time before we truly know the full ramifications of the vote. We now have two years of negotiations to determine the extent to which we remain part of the EU. In fact, it will surely take far longer than two years to plough through the raft of legislation that will need amending or creating in line with the vote to leave. During this time it will be essential for our politicians and business leaders to unite to decide on the best actions for Britain’s future. The country has voted in favour of a detached, independent nation and now we must unite and avoid any further division within the country if we are to prosper in the way that the Leave camp has so confidently promised.

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Rose Carey, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, said:

“Following today’s vote, any substantive action to withdraw from the EU will take two years of negotiating from when the UK gives notice to the EU. Only with agreement from all the other member states could this two year period be extended. Until the UK formally leaves the EU, in the short term the same provisions – including free movement – will still apply. Transitional arrangements are likely to protect people from the European Economic Area and Switzerland already living in the UK up until Brexit is implemented to acquire permanent residence.

“The same should apply to British nationals living in EU member states. Following Brexit, if there is no agreement on free movement with the EU, immigration controls would be introduced – meaning people from the EEA and Switzerland may need a visa to live and work in the UK. It is very difficult for the UK to have access to the single market without agreeing to free movement. It is feasible therefore that we could Brexit the EU and end up like Norway or Switzerland and still have free movement.”

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Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:

“While it is not the result many businesses wanted, it’s the democratic will of our nation. The Government must move very quickly to stabilise the economy, reassure the markets and shore-up business confidence. The process of leaving the Union will take some time, and the Government should not rush to instigate Article 50 and the formal exit process, while there is so much uncertainty. Ministers must think carefully about our negotiating position while setting out a clear roadmap for establishing a new deal with the EU which remains our biggest market and trading partner.

“We need a clear vision for a new relationship between the UK and the EU, but we must also avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. In the complex task of unpicking the UK from EU regulation and legislation, the Government must tread carefully, keeping if we can a trading relationship with the single market, avoiding dramatic overnight changes and not becoming bogged down to the detriment of making long-awaited and much-needed decisions on projects vital to our future economic prosperity. We must also ensure that the skilled workers we need are still encouraged and enabled to live and work in the UK.”

He added that manufacturers have a series of priorities for any forthcoming negotiation, including:

  • Securing access to key markets for goods and services
  • Ensuring regulatory certainty
  • Addressing the UK skills gap
  • Domestic policy focused on shoring up investment.

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Tony Hague, Chairman of the Midlands Assembly Network said:

“This isn’t the time for knee-jerk reactions and we need to assess how the new political and trading landscape is going to develop.

“There will undoubtedly be levels of uncertainty and, as manufacturers, we have had to deal with this a lot in the last nine months and will continue to be positive in our approach to winning new work with our partners both in the EU and across the rest of the world.

“MAN is testament to what can be achieved when we work together in collaboration and I think that needs to be the overriding sentiment as we tackle the immediate ‘uncertainty’ and prepare to explore the potential long-term opportunity.”

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Doug Rice, managing director – international services Jelf International said:

“As the dust settles following the referendum vote, employers will be looking at how this decision may affect, not only their UK employees, but also what this may mean for expatriate and globally mobile employees. The impact on pan European benefits including health and wellbeing will become clearer in time, and as always our recommendation would be to seek professional advice.”

Steve Herbert, head of Jelf’s benefits strategy explains that this may mean more benefits changes for the domestic market: “From a UK benefits perspective it has been apparent that some employers have been potentially in denial about the possibility of a Brexit in the last few months. We now can and should expect some national political and fiscal policy changes in the short to medium term, and some of this change of direction is likely to influence current thinking around employee benefits, with pensions Auto-Enrolment and taxation issues a key area of focus. We shall watch these developments with interest.”

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Julia Kermode, CEO of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association, the UK’s largest independent trade body for contractor accountants and umbrella firms said:

“For FCSA it will be business as usual as we continue to work to raise standards in our sector to support and protect the flexible workforce in the UK that has been vital to the UK’s economic growth in recent years. Leaving the EU will undoubtedly bring a period of uncertainty and as we have witnessed in the run up to this referendum demand for contractors has been high and I see this demand increasing particularly if the rules on immigration tighten up. We have seen significant impact on the stock market already today, and some concern regarding sectors traditionally reliant on the migrant workforce, such as construction. However, it should be borne in mind that exit will not be instant, stability is needed and now more than ever it is important to ensure that firms have the right skills in place. Once again, the flexible workforce will be key in ensuring the UK’s economy doesn’t suffer”

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Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox said on Twitter:

Today Jo wld (SIC) have remained optimistic & focussed on what she cld (SIC) do to bring our country back together around our best values #MoreInCommon

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Peter Searle, CEO, Airswift, workforce solutions provider to the global energy, infrastructure and process industries, said:

“The poll we conducted prior to the vote revealed that only 32 per cent of energy sector workers would have voted to remain. That said, this result could create uncertainty for North Sea operators, particularly around the need to source talent for projects in and around the EU. However, leaving the EU could ultimately signal a more prosperous future for the UK North Sea. Norway, a key player in the energy industry, already exists successfully outside of the EU and now it’s the UK’s time to carve out its own future.”

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Chris Bryant, Partner, City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner said:

“This marks the biggest upheaval of our legal system in history – its scale simply cannot be underestimated. It covers everything from financial services to food labelling, from data protection to employment law. Tens of thousands of laws are now up for grabs. The job of deciding which laws to keep and which to abandon is too big for politicians to do unguided. Anyone doing business in the UK needs to assess their key pressure points and protect their interests. Businesses are facing years of uncertainty as they consider how they will continue to provide services and market products cross-border into the EU.”
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Rain Newton-Smith,  Chief Economist at the CBI, said:

“We need strong and calm leadership to reassure the markets.

“The Bank of England is clear that it stands ready to provide additional liquidity and to take other necessary measures – this should help to calm markets and shore up confidence in the UK economy.

“As the Governor said, the UK’s financial system is resilient. UK banks are well-capitalised, with a large quantity of high quality liquid assets, and have been stress-tested against tougher conditions than where we are now.”

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Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, said:

The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union.

Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result.

There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

And it will take some time for the United Kingdom to establish new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.

Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds.

But we are well prepared for this. The Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning and the chancellor and I have been in close contact, including through the night and this morning.

The Bank will not hesitate to take additional measures as required as those markets adjust and the UK economy moves forward.

These adjustments will be supported by a resilient UK financial system – one that the Bank of England has consistently strengthened over the last seven years.

The capital requirements of our largest banks are now ten times higher than before the crisis.

The Bank of England has stress tested them against scenarios more severe than the country currently faces.

As a result of these actions, UK banks have raised over £130bn of capital, and now have more than £600bn of high quality liquid assets.

Why does this matter?

This substantial capital and huge liquidity gives banks the flexibility they need to continue to lend to UK businesses and households, even during challenging times.

Moreover, as a backstop, and to support the functioning of markets, the Bank of England stands ready to provide more than £250bn of additional funds through its normal facilities.

The Bank of England is also able to provide substantial liquidity in foreign currency, if required.

We expect institutions to draw on this funding if and when appropriate, just as we expect them to draw on their own resources as needed in order to provide credit, to support markets and to supply other financial services to the real economy.

In the coming weeks, the Bank will assess economic conditions and will consider any additional policy responses.

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Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:

“Now that the British people have had their say on Britain’s future relationship with the EU and voted to leave, it’s important that the Government and UK businesses take time to properly assess the long-term impacts of any decisions that they take going forward.

“The impact of a ‘leave’ vote is much bigger than simply changing the political landscape of the UK. It stands to have a significant impact on the world of work and future planning within organisations. We need a broad and thorough consultation between government, organisations and employees across all sectors and representative bodies. The CIPD will play its part in these necessary consultations drawing on our strong base of evidence and experience of the world of work. It’s important that the Government takes the time to really understand the impact of any proposed changes and works with businesses to minimise risk to individuals, organisations and the economy.”

“For most businesses, the immediate impact of this historic decision will be limited as major changes won’t be able to occur for a while. However, employment law, immigration and the ability of employers to bring the right skills they need into their business were key themes focused on in the campaign that will potentially be subject to change going forwards, and these things will no doubt be on employers’ minds.

“Now is not the time for hasty decisions or knee-jerk reactions from government or employers. Evidence suggests that the UK’s flexible labour market already strikes the right balance between providing flexibility for employers and employment rights for workers. We would urge the Government to bear that in mind when approaching any renegotiation of our relationship with the EU or considering any changes to UK law.

“Another key element of our flexible labour market is that it enables employers to access or bring in skilled and unskilled workers from outside the UK to help support business growth and address labour shortages in our public services. It is important that this is not forgotten in any reform of the immigration system.

“Alongside the significant technicalities of a re-negotiation of a new relationship with the EU and possible further political change, it is vital the Government continues to focus working with all constituencies on the very real and strategic challenges that continue to threaten the UK’s prosperity in future years, namely the productivity, skills and employment agendas.”

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Paul Palmer, Professor of Voluntary Sector Management and Associate Dean for Ethics, Sustainability and Engagement at Cass Business School discusses the implications of Brexit for the charity sector.

Professor Paul Palmer says, “In terms of investment, Charities who have properly diversified portfolios and a good investment manager should do nothing. They are long term investments. All historical indicators show that markets rally and if you are not invested in these good days you will suffer.

However, there must be a concern in the international charity sector that in the Autumn Statement the current protection to the overseas aid budget may cease – particularly if a longer term austerity plan has to be put in place.

It is also possible the sector will experience a “double whammy” of financial losses particularly if government funding has to be further reduced, donations from the public fall as donors feel less wealthy and, if house prices fall this is likely to have an impact on legacies. The need for organisations to understand their financial strategy and funding mix will become ever more critical.

On the side of the coin, we are also likely to see an increase in demand for charity services, particularly if unemployment and mental stress rises in the short term.”

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Andy Bridge, Managing Director of A Place in the Sun (APITS Ltd) comments:

The announcement this morning that the public have voted to leave the EU comes as a shock to the UK and leads to a level of uncertainty for the overseas property market.

An estimated 1.3 million Brits currently live in the EU and the effect of this result will cause immediate concern as people wait to see what changes arise as a result of the vote. The UK will now officially inform Brussels they intend to leave the European Union followed by a two-year period where the terms of our new status will be set out. The status of Brits living within the EU will be high on the agenda, as will the status of EU nationals who currently live in Britain.

Those who are looking to purchase a holiday home overseas, after an initial hiatus, are likely to see that owning a property in the EU will only be marginally more complex than it is currently. Residents of the US, Canada, Russia and many other nationalities own properties throughout Europe, so while it may become slightly more complex for Brits, clearly we are not going to be prevented from owning property in Europe.

Recent research by A Place in the Sun found that nearly half (48%) of those currently considering a purchase abroad would continue with their search if we were to leave the EU. It is expected that this number will be much higher after the first few months and Brits reignite their desire to own a property overseas.

More information on the overseas property market and future developments post the referendum can be found at www.aplaceinthesun.com

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Professional Recruitment Trade Body APSCo Responds to Brexit Result

Following today’s announcement that Britain will exit the European Union, Samantha Hurley, Operations Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), commented;

“Britain has decided that the EU experiment, with its expansion into social and employment policy, hasn’t worked for this country, with 51.9% of the electorate voting to leave the Union.”

“At this early stage, there is little detail on how Brexit will affect the regulation of the professional recruitment sector. However, this result brings the possibility that the Agency Workers regulations (AWR), and other inappropriate EU-derived legislation, could, at some stage, be reformed.”

“Outside of the EU, UK courts will, in theory, have more latitude for interpretation to ensure that ‘one size fits all’ policy is reconsidered. While we strongly support the belief that potentially vulnerable workers should be protected, current rules focus on protecting lower skilled, lower paid workers and are of little benefit to professional contractors.”

“APSCo will, of course, be working closely with Government regarding any changes, and will keep members abreast of all developments.”

APSCo members were polled on their voting intentions in February this year. 59% of respondents said they would vote to remain part of the EU, with 48% per cent believing that their business would suffer if Britain was to withdraw.

APSCo has remained politically neutral throughout the campaign process, providing members with a balanced view of the UK’s place in Europe and evidence on how EU membership has historically both helped and hindered the professional recruitment sector.

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NonStop Recruitment responds to Leave referendum vote

Following today’s announcement that Britain will leave the European Union, Oliver Donoghue, Managing Director of Swiss-headquartered NonStop Recruitment, commented: “As we found out earlier today, Britain has decided to leave the European Union, with 51.9% voting in favour of the UK forfeiting its membership. For us an organisation it now means we must reassess our internal recruitment processes as EU freedom of movement laws have, up to now, allowed us to benefit from the skills of talent from across the single market. With this talent pool’s ability to move – both to and from the UK – potentially affected by the outcome of this vote, we, like many businesses, are waiting on outcomes of negotiations to see whether we will need to secure working visas or equivalent for our people.

“At this early stage there is little indication how freedom of movement laws, and other regulations, will be impacted so it would be remiss to suggest how the recruitment sector will be impacted. However, we will be working closely with our clients, and sector trade bodies, to ensure that the transition is as smooth as it can possibly be.”

NonStop recruits in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, care, chemical, technical, digital and education markets throughout Europe. It has employees based in Switzerland, the UK, and the Czech Republic, and with contractors working in many European nations.

Author: Editorial Team

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