The possibility of a Brexit is probably currently the single most significant risk for the Irish economy and Irish business according to a report by Premier Irish law firm, McCann FitzGerald.
This report was launched at a special panel discussion which featured Chairman of AIB- Richard Pym, Group CEO of Ervia-Michael McNicholas, Former CEO of UK Office of Fair Trading and Chairman of Irish Competition Authority-Dr John Fingleton and Chief Economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers-Dermot O’Leary.
The event was moderated by John Cronin, a partner and former Chairman McCann FitzGerald, who leads the firm’s Brexit Group.
The briefing by McCann FitzGerald is the first of its kind by a major Irish law firm and provides analysis in relation to a number of different legal areas and industry sectors including energy, intellectual property, imports and exports and financial services.
In light of its warning, McCann FitzGerald recommends that Irish companies should establish a review team to consider their business models and arrangements in order to identify legal and business risks, opportunities and steps that should be taken in the event of a vote to leave.
The primary aim of the review would be to identify the principal aspects of the company’s business that would be most affected by Brexit.
Cronin noted that the financial services industry, including asset management and funds, is most exposed of all UK industry sectors to a Brexit.
In relation to Ireland, he said that there may be short and medium term gains for Irish financial services but the longer term position is uncertain and somewhat insecure. However, he suggested that there may be some Irish solutions to a number of potential issues that could arise for the UK investment funds industry.