Brexit: what you need to know
On 24 June, the UK woke up to the news that we had voted to leave the EU. Since then there has been a huge amount of discussion about what’s going to happen, how and when.
Here we bring you the latest in what it might mean for you in what is shaping up to be a long journey to our new future.
Prime Minister Theresa May told the Tory Party Conference that she would trigger Article 50 (the mechanism for leaving the EU) by the end of March 2017. She said: “We are not leaving the EU only to give up control of immigration again.”
Her comments triggered a fall in the pound, which dropped to a 31-year low against the dollar.
At the 2016 ICAS Conference two panel sessions discussed the pressing matters of Brexit. They agreed that even if “Brexit means Brexit”, nobody as yet knows what Brexit will entail. What is clear, however, is that negotiating an outcome that will work for the UK, and for Scotland and Ireland (largely Remain voters) in particular, will be very difficult.
There was a mood of cautious optimism at an ICAS Brexit event in London. “Most of us thought there would be a bigger financial services fallout [post Brexit],” said Janet Henry, Global Chief Economist, HSBC, though she added: “The real hit will be on investment.”
“Where there is confusion, there is consultancy,” said Iain Anderson, Chairman, Cicero Group.
- A warning to politicians: Ken McHattie CA, ICAS President, warned that politicians are playing a risky game of political Jenga with our economic futures.
- Keep your eye on business: ICAS business breakfasts were set up to discuss Brexit and a range of views were heard. “Concentrate on the fundamentals of your business. Don’t think about Brexit, because it will probably not impact on your business, at least the next nine months,” Sir Brian Souter CA, Deputy President of ICAS and Chairman of Stagecoach.
- Review your portfolio: James Jamieson, Financial Planning Director, Investec Wealth and Investment, advised that personal finance needs a careful hand. He said: “The management of investment funds has never been more important and investors should be regularly reviewing their portfolios together with their investment managers and financial advisers to ensure they have the appropriate structure.”
- Brexit isn’t just a European issue: “This will also be an opportunity for the UK to look with fresh eyes at free-trade agreements with other parts of the world, which they previously never had the opportunity to do,” said David McCredie, CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce.
- Uncertain times: “Uncertainty is not the friend of the markets, and it is not the friend of business generally,” said Jim Pettigrew CA, former ICAS President and Chairman of Clydesdale Bank and Scottish Financial Enterprise.
- What does Brexit mean for state aid? James Barbour, Director, Technical Policy discussed free competition and whether or not the UK would still have to abide by EU state aid rules.
- Interest rates were cut: The Bank of England cut rates on 8 August and announced other measures.
- Three stages of Brexit: Past president of ICAS Jim Pettigrew CA identified three stages to leaving the EU.
"What we need now is for the Government to act swiftly and decisively to bring clarity to key questions for business which were never answered during the campaign,” said Anton Colella, Chief Executive of ICAS.