Contrasting opinions and expert knowledge at the third monthly ‘Founders Breakfast’ as Philip Salter and Tzvete Doncheva set the theme to be ‘How to Brexit-Proof Your Business’.
Concerns around hiring and keeping European talent, fixed costs and regulation emerge as key themes at the event. Nick Winters from top 20 UK Advisory firm Kingston Smith revealed 67% of UK businesses have not taken measures to prepare for Brexit and are not aware how it may affect their business.
He said: “We’ve developed BX360, a review tool to help businesses better asses both the challenges and opportunities associated with Brexit. One of the first questions a business should address is whether they have a staff member following the Brexit policy change. We notice very few businesses have started to prepare for the possible ‘no deal’ scenario’.”
Warren Bath, CFO at house crowdfunding platform Property Partner, added his company had adapted its approach to Brexit very early on. It diversified its portfolio of properties to expand beyond the M25 area to ensure investors’ returns remain within norm. He further added that the appetite in UK properties for Asian and Middle Eastern investors is stronger than ever.
He commented: ‘The devaluation of the pound, the prices drop and the fact that London real estate will always be considered prime are all factors fuelling their desire to buy’.
Attendees in the property sector admitted to make more calculated and conscious decisions when approaching deals. Land dealer Jamie Pickerill from Land Options Ltd now takes on fewer projects (each averaging 18 months to complete) due to the variable profit margins related to material and labour costs until the Brexit decision becomes clear.
‘The construction and hospitality sectors employ a lot of lower skilled European worker who are genuinely worried about what comes next’ added immigration lawyer Atef El- Marakby from Good Advice UK.
“In order to address these concerns, employers must have an open discussion with their personnel- to help them apply for settled status and help dismiss any confusion about their future situation in the UK.”
The roundtable ended with a positive outlook to the future. Pru Ashby, head of Brexit and Key Accounts at London & Partners, revealed London is still ranked as a top European capital for innovation and attracting highly skilled talent will not change even if the UK leaves the European Union.