The 2017 Competitiveness Report by Eight International explores the current state of the UK’s economy in comparison to other nations and assesses what impact Brexit and the General Election could have on future inward investment and performance. The report reveals that Britain has solid foundations across several areas and building on these is crucial to remaining competitive in a global market. Rather than wait to see what impact Brexit will have on the UK, policy-makers should ensure that Brexit works for the interests of the UK economy.
The report which examined 40 rankings such as the state of the macro-economic situation, business environment, digital advances and innovation, companies, political stability and education in the UK in comparison to the rest of the world, found that the UK performs strongly across several areas and particularly in business environment and higher education.
The UK must also ensure that it continues to be a welcoming and easy place to do business. Despite the legislative, regulatory and policy changes associated with doing business in the UK, Brexit negotiations need to result in a prosperous and engaging environment which will enable the UK to remain a key business centre and a recognised competitor in attracting international investment. Failure to do so could see the UK’s position as a place to invest challenged by a number of countries eager to grow.
Alexis Karklins-Marchay, author of the report, Partner at Eight Advisory and General secretary of Eight International said: “It is imperative that the UK builds on its strengths to send a message to the rest of the world that doing business with the UK will not be disrupted simply because it will no longer part of the EU.Until 2016, the UK was regarded as a politically stable and profitable environment. This changed on 23 June 2016 with the outcome of the EU Referendum and has now been exacerbated by the recent General Election result.
“Policy-makers should take the lead on continuing to fight inequality, enhance workforce productivity and improve infrastructure across the country. These steps will help the UK economy as competitiveness is multifactorial. Most competitive economies are, except for Switzerland, in Scandinavia or the Netherlands – all countries which score well on these metrics. Finally, all legitimate businesses must be made to feel welcome and to trade with the UK. The UK must now live up to and embody its ancient reputation as a great and United Kingdom.”
Jędrzej Piechowiak, Managing Partner at JP Weber said: “After the EU Referendum in the UK, many firms adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach before making any significant decisions. However, whilst there are signs of continued investment, particularly from the technology sector, some global companies intend to relocate at least some of their staff to European Union cities. This demonstrates why this, and any future, government must focus on what's good for the country, rather than party political point scoring. Business does not like uncertainty and will be looking for greater visibility and a period of political stability.
“In this particular complex and uncertain context, we have already seen greater demand from our clients for advisers who can respond to all their financial and strategic challenges around the world, which is why we have created Eight International. Through the alliance, we combine financial and/or operational skills tailored to each situation, coupled with a perfect knowledge of the local market specifics, while maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit and the level of excellence that characterizes each of our alliance’s firms.”
The findings of the report also highlight the need for high quality universities, not only as a means of education, but also for attracting highly capable people to employ in businesses across the UK. The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world and it is therefore imperative that after Brexit, immigration and education policies continue to promote the sector internationally.
Crucially, the happiness and welfare of citizens is proven to thrive in a competitive economy. The Eight International report demonstrates that personal development and happiness are prime factors in making both personal and corporate commitments to a country. Therefore, policy-makers should consider the wider business and financial links to a happy and healthy citizenship of the UK remaining globally competitive.
Eight International which is launched today in London, has been created in response to the growing demand from company executives, shareholders, private equity funds, banks and potential investors for dedicated financial and operational advice around transactions, restructuring and business transformation decisions. It is a global alliance of eight independent business advisory firms and 13 associated firms across 20 countries. Each firm is a leader in its own country and is focused on advisory services related to sophisticated and complex operations, such as transactions and restructuring, crisis and insolvency, valuation, forensic and litigation.