LESS THAN HALF (41%) of UK boards have considered the impact of the referendum should the UK exit the European Union and the effects it might have on their organisation, a new poll reveals.
An even bigger percentage – 47% – have not considered it at all, according to the survey conducted jointly by ICSA: The Governance Institute and company secretarial recruitment outfit, the Core Partnership.
Seeking the views of its constituent base, which boasts “insight into the boardroom”, the poll found respondents were split over the effect Brexit would have with responses ranging from no impact, negative, little effect, to unknown and “panic”.
Opinion was divided as to whether or not EU regulation is out of sync with the UK’s business needs, but a general feeling that “some of the blame lies with the UK for ‘gold plating’ EU regulation” with SMEs feeling burdened by EU red tape, found the report.
Simon Osborne, chief executive of ICSA, said: “While not all organisations operate within Europe, it is surprising that boards are not at least considering the knock-on effect that an exit could have on the underlying economy. If sterling goes into freefall this will have an impact regardless of whether or not they have import or export agreements with Europe.
“Boards really need to be thinking about some of the potential implications like staff supply, grants, access to markets and regulatory arbitrage now, whatever the sector. We will be covering the issue of Brexit in some detail in our next Boardroom Bellwether survey which is due to be published on 23 May, just one month before the referendum.”