Now that the initial surprise has worn off since the outcome of the Brexit referendum (replaced with surprise at the outcome of the US election!), coupled with the UK Government's announcement that Article 50 will be triggered in March 2017, we have set out below an overview of the client trends and wider developments that we have seen since 23 June.
The recent decision of the UK High Court in the Article 50 ruling illustrates that there is still uncertainty as to how the UK will communicate its intention to leave the EU and if the stated preference to trigger Article 50 in March 2017 will be met. The High Court's decision is now under appeal and the final form Brexit will take is also, as yet, completely unclear.
Walkers have been interacting with our clients on the potential impact of Brexit, while closely monitoring ongoing events and developments to ensure we can advise on the risks and opportunities that this unprecedented development brings.
Client interaction on Brexit issues
We have been helping clients with a wide range of queries on the impact on their businesses. This includes responding to requests for Irish perimeter and establishment advices from clients that are considering relocating some or all of their business to Ireland in a worst case 'hard Brexit' scenario.
Regulated financial service provider clients have been particularly cognisant of the risk of a 'hard Brexit' that could see them lose the ability to freely passport the provision of financial services from the UK throughout the EU. The most obvious step to future proof businesses against the current uncertainty is to have a separately authorised subsidiary inside the EU.
Interestingly, we are seeing a lot of the same queries arising repeatedly, regardless of the specific sector that our clients are operating in. In particular, clients want to know about:
establishment requirements and the staff numbers they will need on the ground in Ireland; guidance on engagement with the Central Bank of Ireland (the "CBI") and timelines to obtaining a financial services authorisation or licence; how permissible is outsourcing and to what extent can existing UK operations be relied upon and leveraged off; taxation issues and how to avail of Ireland's favourable corporate tax regime. Clients are understandably reluctant to make hasty (and potentially costly) decisions in relation to expanding or moving the jurisdictions in which they operate. We have mainly been...