International Brexit Boardroom Series - London event | KPMG Global
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International Brexit Boardroom Series - London event

International Brexit Boardroom Series - London event

Resetting for the future: A window into the global Brexit conversation.


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The London event was the capstone for the Brexit Boardroom series as KPMG and the Financial Times gathered board members and business leaders in February 2018. KPMG’s Bill Michael hosted the event, and the discussion was moderated by Lionel Barber, FT editor and international award winning journalist and James Blitz, FT’s Whitehall Editor shared commentary during the discussion under Chatham House Rule. In addition, KPMG’s Head of Brexit, James Stewart provided Brexit observations and Michael Cole-Fontayn from the Association for Financial Markets in Europe gave keynote insights with financial services sector perspectives.

Highlights of what we heard in London

  • Business leaders are concerned about the continued division on the preferred type of Brexit, suggesting that a compromise (even at a sector level through managed divergence) could be a dangerous outcome for business.
  • Notwithstanding a possible political agreement on the transition in March, UK business is ‘well past the date at which decisions are made’ and without legal certainty over the transition, many businesses are starting to make irreversible decisions around a ‘no deal’ Brexit (including loss of EU-third country FTAs)
  • Profits, platforms and people will be impacted by the more complex and ‘unwieldy’ trading framework that may result from Brexit, with some businesses already experiencing challenges around the latter.
  • Whilst greater regulatory sovereignty and trading flexibility could have its upsides for some sectors, it was not seen to be worth a trade-off of increased friction of trade or loss of regulatory access to the EU market that it would likely require in practice.
  • Brexit is regarded as symptomatic of broader societal issues, and acknowledging the role of business in increasing productivity and the living wage may help offset some of the impacts of Brexit. Business also has a responsibility to be vocal about what they need in order to generate growth from a Brexit deal.

Read the full summary report from London (PDF 1.60 MB) and hear what the UK business leaders are sharing. Businesses are facing a challenging journey ahead, strategic planning will be vital to minimize disruption in times of uncertainty – and for the most agile and innovative, Brexit may even be a catalyst for change.

About the International Brexit boardroom series

This global program is led by KPMG’s experts on Geopolitics and Brexit in collaboration with the Financial Times. Each of the events are co-hosted by KPMG’s national teams and UK Head of Brexit to bring both global, regional and UK perspectives into the discussions. Insights, executive summaries and video assets from New York, Frankfurt and Tokyo are available. Visit the sites to learn more and reach out to KPMG for questions.

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