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Declan Swan

Our international members give us a wealth of experience and perspective from other countries

At the UK200Group Annual Conference, held at the Ageas Bowl, Botley Road, Southampton SO30 3XH, members from across the European Union were invited to share their views on business, with a special emphasis on the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU.

Conor Mullany of Dublin-based UK200Group international member Mullany Walsh Maxwell Solicitors said, “Overall, I don’t think Brexit is going to be a good thing for the Irish economy. There are obvious advantages to our financial services sector but the UK is one of our biggest trading partners and for anyone working in export it’s not going to help, especially with the shift in sterling.

“If the UK steps out, it gives it more flexibility in terms of tax regimes so it could challenge Ireland in that way. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what the UK is going to do, but ultimately I think the disadvantages are likely to outweigh the advantages.”

Marc Marsal of Barcelona-based UK200Group International Member Firm Marsal Abogados y Asesores Tributarios said, “Where I live, in Barcelona, is a very multicultural area and we have a lot of British and US expatriates here, which is beneficial for our IT sector and call-centres.
Some of my clients are now worried that their VISAs may not be renewed and if they did have to move it would not be good for the area.

“There are concerns on the coast about the British who have second homes there, who don’t know how they are going to be taxed.

“This is a clear problem for the European Union, and it underlines a lack of credibility. From the British point of view, I don’t understand the decision. I think it is a decision that was made emotionally rather than from a practical point of view.”

Vittorio Romani of Rome-based UK200Group International Member Firm GMR Partners said, “There are companies from outside the EU who currently have offices in the UK who want to move because they are scared of Brexit from a political point of view, because they don’t know what the rules will be tomorrow. They aren’t looking to move for economic reasons – not at the moment.

“The only negative I can see Brexit creating for Italians is if they are importing or exporting goods to the UK – it will be like trading with a country outside of the EU.”

Neal Morrison of UK200Group International Member Firm McInerney Saunders, based in Dublin, said, “What we have seen since the vote is an increase in activity in UK firms looking to establish operations in Ireland. Within two weeks, we’d had ten approaches from a factfinding point of view, three of whom are still live. I think those initial enquiries were more panic-driven than anything else, and now the dust has settled people are addressing more strategic issues – how best to structure a business. What we’re seeing from both an Irish and UK side is a potential for growth.

“In the financial world it’s difficult to see someone who’s settled into a certain lifestyle in London, with children in schools in London, having the same quality of life in Dublin.

“I think Ireland will benefit from Brexit. Historically, we have seen a number of clients who are UK residents with Irish interests and there’s always been a crossflow of trade. With recent currency fluctuations, and we are seeing enquiries from UK entities setting up in Ireland, and from Irish entities looking at opportunities in the UK.”

Patrick Scanlon of UK200Group international member Ferrieres & Co, based in Paris, said, “France is looking to attract investment from companies in markets outside of the EU, but will have to address its social charges to be effective. The French government is currently extending its favourable tag regime for employees moving to France from five to eight years.

“I think that France will benefit from Brexit. There will be some margin for businesses that are looking to stay within the EU, whether that’s France or Ireland, Holland or Germany. My view is that there will be at least some benefit associated with remaining a central member of the EU as opposed to being outside of it.”

David Macdonald of UK200Group member firm The Martlet Partnership, based in Worthing, said, “I think that the UK is going to try to ensure that the effect of Brexit is negligible, but some European countries may not make that easy.

Britain has to consider its tariff position and its tax position. It’s already low tax in comparison to most EU countries, although not Luxembourg, Ireland and Holland, but will undoubtedly continue to seek to attract foreign investment. Inward investment is not going to stop.

“Brexit is going to make the UK more inward-looking, which I think is not good for young people in today’s global world. Commercially, however, I’m not quite sure whether things will change as much as we first feared, it’s too soon to tell. There have been two very positive things for the government in Nissan and Google’s investments in the UK.”

Declan Swan, CEO of the UK200Group, said, “Our international members give us a wealth of experience and perspective from other countries, and that’s one of the reasons they’re so invaluable to the UK200Group. It’s easy to view Brexit as a British decision but in reality it’s going to have repercussions across Europe, and our international members give UK200Group members based in the UK a real boost when helping clients explore their options in expanding to Europe.”

ENDS

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About the UK200Group:

The UK200Group was formed in 1986, and is the UK’s leading association of independent chartered accountants and law firms, with connections around the world.

The association brings together around 150 member offices in the UK with more than 500 partners who serve roughly 150,000 business clients. Its international links in nearly 70 countries give its members access to expertise across the globe.

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