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What Brexit means for business

The idea of creating a guide to the possible implications of Brexit came into being before the date for the Brexit referendum was set and the referendum campaign had begun. Now that the countdown to the June 23 vote is well underway, this has become a much more topical and current issue for everyone in the UK and I think that many more UK businesses are now engaged in active study and planning for Brexit scenarios.

This report does not aim to make a case for or against Brexit. Insurance is about identifying, preparing for and mitigating against risk and in the pages to follow we examine the likely impact of Brexit on businesses and what steps they ought to be considering in the short and medium term to manage such an eventuality.

At QBE, our planning for Brexit is at an advanced stage and our aim is to continue to support our customers without interruption. What is clear is that Risk Managers have a critical role to play during Brexit planning. The experts we spoke to told us that “most people are … seeing this as a risk to their business, so they are putting it to the emerging risks committee within their organisations.1” Risk management teams can expect to be working on the front line alongside directors and boards to model and plan for Brexit scenarios. Our aim in writing this paper is to support you in that task.

Whilst we cannot map out every implication within every business sector in the UK, we can provide a guide to how to create your own ‘impact map’, and also give some clarity around the multiple different possible outcomes that a Brexit vote might create.

This paper was based on a series of interviews with experts in a variety of fields; from law, accountancy, regulation, insurance and economics, and it is their views that you will find summarised below. Of course, there can be no certainty about what will actually happen if there is a vote for Brexit, and the opinions within this document should be taken for what they are – expressions by an informed commentator of a likely outcome, rather than concrete advice based on a certainty.

We hope you find this a useful guide and that it contributes towards your Brexit thinking and planning. The one thing we cannot guide you towards is how to vote – this we leave to your own personal (and business) conscience.

Richard Pryce
Chief Executive Officer, QBE European Operations

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