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Risk in Context

Deal or No Deal: Preparedness in the Face of Brexit

Posted by Ailsa King January 30, 2019

On 29 January, members of the UK Parliament voted on key amendments to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The majority of MPs voted that the UK should not leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, and that a modified version of the Agreement should be negotiated with the EU.

Here’s what we know

There is still a potential for a “No Deal Brexit”, and there are several things that organisations need to consider:

  • The original Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU was rejected by MPs on 21 January.
  • The EU says the Withdrawal Agreement as initially agreed will not be renegotiated.
  • The vote on 29 January was not legally binding, meaning tabled amendments, like the assurance of a deal, are not a given.
  • Theresa May has said that there remain three options: deal, no deal, and no Brexit.

So, while the desire among MPs for having a Withdrawal Agreement in place on 29 March is clear, a “No Deal” Brexit remains a possibility. This vote does not offer businesses with European Economic Area (EEA) exposure a green light to ease off on No Deal contingency planning.

What will change look like for you?

In uncertain times – whatever the cause – prudence lies in mitigating operational risk and strategic risk. It’s essential to keep the following questions at the forefront of minds within your organisation’s executive teams:

  • How will the three options impact your business models, strategies, and processes?
  • What change programme do you have in place for each of the three pathways?
  • How are your operations and services impacted by current and pending legislation?
  • How is uncertainty impacting your workforce?
  • Which of the three options have the highest pressure points?
  • Have you tested your organisational resilience and crisis management?

A conscientious approach in these areas will go a long way towards ensuring greater organisational resilience – even in the face of uncertainty. Whichever option prevails, Brexit and the weeks following will pose a variety of challenges, but ordering your steps for each potential path will lead to a smoother journey, whatever the outcome.

Over the coming weeks visit Marsh.com for insight and advice on your Brexit-related risk management needs. For more information, speak to your Marsh representative.

Ailsa King

Chief Client Officer