Mercer | Brexit and Financial Services

Mercer | Brexit and Financial Services

UK EU Referendum

Brexit and Financial Services: The Need to Plan Ahead

Britain’s decision to leave the EU will have a major impact on the global financial services industry, and not just organisations based in the UK.

Two areas of strategic importance for the FS industry from a people perspective are: workforce implications and the impact of retirement liabilities.

Firstly, workforce repercussions will continue to emerge as political fall-out from the vote becomes clear. However, there are some fundamental issues around workforce location that require significant planning regardless of what happens next. Fortunately, most, if not all, regulated participants in the banking and asset management industry will already have robust contingency plans in place to face up to disasters and market disruption.

Skilled labour from EU countries makes up a large percentage of the workforce in the UK financial services sector, particularly in London. It is likely that restrictions will be placed on EU workers within the UK workforce so companies should review their workforce plans. In an era of rapidly evolving business models in banking and asset management, primarily the disruption coming from digital challengers and fintech, it is not just traditional FS expertise such lending, portfolio management and compliance that are hard to find, but new skills such as ecommerce, innovation and big data analytics that are scarce. Less freedom of labour movement makes it all the more critical for talent managers to access smart tools such as workforce analytics and long-term strategic workforce planning to future-proof the organisation.

In the face of tight regulation around operational risk, many will also have thought through the implications of “Brexit” in terms of evaluating alternative locations for their UK operations; some will opt to stay, some will opt to move elsewhere, but all market participants will be impacted in some way by the decision.

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