Brexit and Asia-Pacific: a worry, or an opportunity?

Insurer looks at what the historic process might mean for this side of the world

Brexit and Asia-Pacific: a worry, or an opportunity?

Insurance News

By Ksenia Stepanova

Over two years have passed since the UK’s 2016 EU referendum, and Brexit has been called the “biggest political and constitutional crisis” facing Britain since the Second World War. The chaotic process has dominated global headlines and still no-one remains any the wiser as to what exactly is going to happen next, and under what terms the UK will finally exit the EU.

The uncertainty has hit British businesses hard, but has also massively affected overseas businesses with operations and interests in the UK. According to Sinead Browne, board member for Asia-Pacific and South America, and CEO for London at AGCS, UK-based clients have got a vast array of possibilities and difficulties to contend with – however, overseas businesses are also smelling opportunity.

“If you look at Brexit and the very interesting saga that it is – that naturally raises lots of questions not just for UK businesses, but also for global businesses with operations in the UK,” Browne told Insurance Business. “Having spoken to our own clients, we know they’re definitely concerned about their supply chain. They’re grappling with things like customs and border issues, the potential need to stockpile, and certification under EU health and safety regulations which will no longer exist once the UK leaves the EU.”

“They also want to know how they’re going to get their product out of the UK and into other markets, and whether they will be accepted into those markets,” she continued. “They’re also concerned about access to talent, and how that will be interrupted once freedom of movement disappears.”

Browne says the UK is now in serious danger of losing a significant chunk of its headquartered businesses, as many of them are now eyeing other destinations that don’t carry the uncertainty and risk that Brexit brings with it. She says overseas territories also see the opportunity to jump in and offer that exact environment, potentially bringing a goldmine of new business into their respective countries.

“If we look at some of our global clients who have businesses in Britain, they’re talking about pulling out,” Browne explained. “Companies like Jaguar, Land Rover and Dyson – they’ve all openly communicated that they will move headquarters or shut down their British manufacturing facilities. Of course, this also leads to opportunities for other areas of the world that can show that they’re very pro-business and keen to support the establishment of new facilities. Many countries are now actively courting British companies to move and completely eliminate the new risks that come with the new trade legislation, or to court foreign direct investment to really exploit the opportunities that come from the Brexit fallout – whatever form that might take.”

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