Brexit Schmexit

Everyone likes uncertainty – said no one ever !

Could anyone have really predicted the level of uncertainty surrounding the end of March 2019?

I work in the financial sector in the heart of the city. You will have read about Banks outsourcing their European set ups to either Dublin, or Frankfurt.

Currently, we are held hostage to Brexit.

We have set up a function in Frankfurt. Boy is it expensive to set up a new business !

We have had two years of meetings with the regulators.

We have recruited staff locally for the support functions.

We have recruited a good team.

However, it is dog eat dog out there, so it won’t be long for some of our employees are head hunted. We are doing all we can to retain employees. But no one can be certain – right??

Biggest headache – transferring some London employees’ roles to Frankfurt.

There is a mix of employees who will transfer  / relocate. Issues include; cost of housing and cost of living is rising at a great rate. No one knows when they need to be there from. It’s like a game of roulette!

Then you have employees, who will have to commute on a weekly basis, due to the fact that their families are settled in the UK and cannot relocate.

So here is the tricky part; when a role transfers, the contract and benefits change. For example, the pension is not as beneficial in Germany. The tax is higher, but the social system is better.

In my 25 years of working in HR, this is the most emotive project I have worked on. Unless any employee on the transfer list can afford to retire or give up work, they are stuffed. They need to work, but the role is in Frankfurt. Our competitors’ roles are in Frankfurt. Everything is moving to Frankfurt.

Under a Hard Brexit or No Brexit situation, they can only carry out their role in Frankfurt (unless the regulator gives some compromise).

Even with an extension or soft Brexit, most businesses have invested millions in setting up a new operation in Frankfurt that they wish to see a return on investment as soon as possible.

So, for the last year or so, I have been consulting with the affected individuals. It has been a mixed bag of reactions, some pragmatic and ahead of the game, apartments sorted, schools looked at, shipping of items underway.

Others, reluctant. They know they have to go but are hoping for a miracle, a soft Brexit, an extension to the date or a significant lottery win!

Others, in denial. Like what we have been communicating over the past year is a panto, a pipe-dream, a tall tale !

So here is the reality. Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty…..

What next ?

More uncertainty. Purchase a crystal ball ?

All we know is that with the best will in the world, businesses can aim to be as fluid, reactive and as flexible as possible, but ultimately, that gets us no where. Businesses are now left to make their own decisions and hope for the best due to the blatant lack of direction from the government and EU.

The impact whichever way you look at it is significant.

Link that to the fact there are stories such as passport and visa issues, flight issues, customs issues and it all adds to the heightened levels of uncertainty.

On the Brexit roulette wheel of fortune – are you going Red or Black ?

Personally, at this moment in time, I think I have more chance of winning the lottery, than predicting Brexit.

I am sticking my $10 chip on more UNCERTAINTY….