The Leader Magazine

SEP 2016

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Page 28 of 75

"We are still in a period of uncertainty," says Guy Douetil, managing director, EMEA Corporate Solutions, Colliers International. "I think a lot of people were surprised by the vote to leave following the EU referendum. There have been suggestions there was no plan from the 'Brexiteers' on what happens if they were successful. And that hasn't been helped by a vacuum in the UK's political leadership during June and July, although the UK now has a new Prime Minister. So that will be a positive in terms of whether you voted 'Leave' or 'Remain' – it is positive to have someone steering the ship. "I have yet to see any real evidence in the occupier market of any signifi cant change to companies' plans or strategies. Across our clients at the moment, we haven't had any projects put on hold or canceled following the Leave vote. That might change, but at the moment that's certainly the case. "I am sure that there will be some jobs moving to the continent due to the way the trading is done, but the fundamentals remain unchanged, and the UK will continue to be overwhelmingly attractive to corporations. The UK has a very highly skilled labor force, particularly in the fi nancial services sector. English is the most-used interna- tional business language, and London is a very attractive place for people to live and work. And it is a liberal environment within which to deliver business, both from a tax and a labor point of view. It is much more fl exible in the UK compared to France or Germany in terms of moving jobs around. "It's still early days, but the fundamentals remain strong in terms of the overall real estate market in the UK. It is an island with a limited amount of space, and property is all about supply and demand. While there may be short-term changes, the fundamentals will be that London can only accommodate a certain number of people, and it will still remain attractive. "Frankfurt is often considered to be an alternative location to London for fi nancial services companies. But keep in mind that the population of Frankfurt is below a million people. That's signifi cantly smaller than London and, as a result, there's only a certain amount of talent available there. "Still, there will be some movement. It is natural to move shared services centers and back-offi ce jobs from expensive London to other UK cities or other parts of Europe or the world. That will continue to happen, and arguably it could happen at a slightly faster pace after the UK leaves the EU. "If you are a global company, you put your people in the best location. It's what I call best- shoring, rather than off-shoring or re-shoring. It's going to be where companies can get the right balance of skills at the right cost to run their business." 'the UK will remain overwhelmingly attractive' SEPTEMBER 2016 29

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