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The next structural issue facing the European Union
White & Case commissioned independent research to capture views on how senior in-house legal decision makers and senior managers viewed the possibility of a Brexit and what they were doing about it by way of planning and preparation.
It comprised two elements: an on-line survey of German bankers; then telephone interviews with companies from the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the US in a wide variety of sectors.
Forty three percent of our telephone respondents are 'very' or 'quite concerned' about a Brexit from a general management point of view. The 43% increases to 52% of respondents who were 'very' or 'quite concerned' from a legal point of view.
However, while there were significant concerns, the threat level is lower than anticipated as Brexit is viewed less as an imminent threat than a potential threat that is some way off.
There was confusion on whether agreed existing regulation would apply post Brexit or whether the UK government would need to start again with its own regime of regulation and trading standards.
The popular myth that once outside the EU, the UK would be able to dispense with its crippling regulation and red tape is roundly dismissed by 84% of our respondents. Interestingly, around 50% of our respondents admitted that as this was not a priority issue, they were not up to speed on the implications of a Brexit for their industry. As a result the strategies and planning around Brexit appear to be thin on the ground. It is on the 'to do' list.
London's pre-eminence as the financial centre of Europe is a given according to respondents who thought London might lose some business round the edges given a Brexit but that its lead was unassailable.
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© 2016 White & Case LLP