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Germany increasingly concerned by lack of SME Brexit readiness


Small businesses in Germany are being warned that too many are unprepared for Brexit and the potential disruption the UK leaving the EU will cause native firms.

The warning primarily centres on financial services and access to financial products.

Banks on the continent have been shifting market-related activities for some of their EU clients, such as currency swaps, away from London in preparation for Brexit to avoid disruption.

However, some banks have warned that they can only move clients’ businesses if they give the green light to do so which can require the renegotiation of contracts.

Some have admitted their advice is falling largely on deaf SME ears.

“Too many clients do not react at all”

Central bankers at Deutsche Bundesbank have issued a warning to small businesses and reminded them that they are ready to help them prepare – should they choose to take the time to do so.

Board member Joachim Wuermeling said: “The banks are approaching their clients which might be affected by Brexit. The snag is that the response is very limited.

“Too many clients do no react at all.

“Even if Brexit will be postponed, all EU companies, be them small or large, are well advised to check hidden financial links to the UK.”

However, the disruption should only cause small-scale gridlock, with Commerzbank’s head of corporate client development and digitalisation, Jan-Philipp Gillmann stating that: “Only a small number of new or existing trades will need to be transferred or migrated to another subsidiary or branch due to Brexit.”

uk business brexit

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the general notion on this side of the Channel is that businesses have been preparing for Brexit, especially as the potential for a no-deal appears to be increasing.

Read more: Fishing industry urged to avoid no-deal exports catch

Around 40% of businesses said they were ready to enact on Brexit contingency plans at the start of 2019 according to the CBI, whilst data from OFX suggested that UK SMEs are planning to press on with EU exports despite Brexit this year.

If your business has little contingency planning for Brexit, deal or no deal, it’s not too late to put in place emergency measures and plans to negate where possible the potential short-term damage and disruption.

Contact Go Exporting today to find out how we can help, or read more about our Brexit consultancy.

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