Brexit, business and banking: thoughts from AIB's Mark Billington
This week Mark Billington, Head of the Leeds Business Centre and Senior Relationship Manager at Allied Irish Bank (AIB), discusses the aftermath of the UK's vote to leave European Union and how, in spite of the uncertainty, Leeds City Region businesses are still focused on ambitious growth.
This week Mark Billington, Head of the Leeds Business Centre and Senior Relationship Manager at Allied Irish Bank (AIB), discusses the aftermath of the UK's vote to leave European Union and how, in spite of the uncertainty, Leeds City Region businesses are still focused on ambitious growth. Read on:
Brexit: how is it affecting businesses?
The July Brexit vote has taken the country, and its SMEs, on an unprecedented journey of change. There is no doubt that business owners are concerned about the impact that Brexit may have on the future success of their companies. But there is a wealth of prosperous businesses across the City Region and we must work together to help them embrace the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Overnight, certainties about trade agreements and the free movement of workers were swept away and by the end of the day, the then-Prime Minister had announced his resignation and the pound had slumped to a thirty one year low against the dollar. The events sent shockwaves around the globe, wiping more than $3 trillion from international stock markets. In the months and years to come, SMEs face unprecedented political and economic uncertainty. And yet, business owners are assessing the facts and planning their next steps. For some, the weaker pound will unlock new overseas markets. For others, the prospect of new trade agreements could offer a welcome boost. For all, there is a nudge towards finding a new, leaner, more efficient approach to business.
Brexit is the new reality but with change comes potential opportunity. Some SMEs are already embracing the challenge: we conducted a survey of 300 businesses, taken from a range of sectors and from across Great Britain, shortly before the referendum that revealed that 49% expected that a leave vote would be positive and lead to growth. SMEs in the hotels and leisure sector, and in professional services, including law and accountancy, were notably upbeat: 66% and 60% respectively said they expected to benefit.
Leeds City Region
Leeds City Region boasts some extremely talented business owners and we should celebrate the success we have on our own doorstep. Businesses such as Leeds-based EuroTrail are about to celebrate their 20 year anniversary and earlier this year expanded their fleet of trailers and cranes. Established by Managing Director, Alan Steers in 1997, the business has expanded into a nationally recognised leader in the supply of heavy-duty commercial vehicles and specialist equipment to a broad spectrum of industries. Alan manages the company along with his two sons Adam, Sales Director and Mathew, Rental Director. Today the business employs 17 people and has a turnover of £6 million.
Another great example is construction firm the Moorhead Group. The company is enjoying new ownership after its acquisition this year by Jonathan Prutton and Philip Horsnall of Croxden Capital Partners in partnership with the existing Managing Director, Colin Fitton. Moorhead Group employs 50 people and has a turnover of £8 million.
Examples like these show that local businesses are continuing to thrive and focus on growth and, even though the economic and political landscape is changing, we should all focus on what is positive and meet, head on, the challenges ahead.
An experienced banker, having worked in the industry for 22 years, Mark is committed to supporting Owner Managed Businesses across West Yorkshire. He has extensive experience supporting both SMEs and Corporates with their funding requirements and helping them to achieve their business ambitions. Mark works closely with the LEP and business professionals across West Yorkshire to keep close to the issues affecting SMEs and to ensure that his team is aware of the full range of support available to businesses in the area.
Does Brexit have you thinking about export? Read our blog on making Latin America your next new market, speak to our Growth Service or explore the latest export opportunities with the Department of International Trade.