First Warwick business forum explores international business & trade after brexit
Matt Western MP and West Midlands finance and industry leaders joined Dr Stephen Connelly and Dr Andreas Kokkinis from Warwick Law School yesterday at the first University of Warwick Business Forum, a new initiative aiming to connect the University’s experts with the local business community.
Dr Connelly and Dr Kokkinis drew on their academic research to highlight key legal risks and challenges posed by Brexit for corporate mobility, corporate finance and the financial services industry, with particular emphasis on the West Midlands.
Dr Connelly covered issues including transnational corporate structures, mergers and insolvency, dispute resolution, and the effect of Brexit on credit facilities agreements, while Dr Kokkinis looked at post-Brexit trade in services, particularly financial services.
During the roundtable discussion which followed, Mr Western commented that the technical detail which Dr Connelly and Dr Kokkinis had presented was an example of the kind of expertise that needed to be communicated to Government.
Reflecting on the event, Dr Connelly said: “Many of the issues analysed require a detailed understanding of the integrated transnational nature of West Midlands business, and Andreas and I were glad to highlight legal points of pressure that should be mitigated.
“The striking revelation in last week’s Birmingham Mail that HM Government’s own calculations saw a 13% shrinkage in West Midlands GDP was discussed, and I drew attention to how this macroeconomic effect would feed into credit agreements and could potentially trigger a systemic crisis.
“Through the session I took the attendees through the problems of UK companies may face if they continue to operate directly into the EU post-Brexit, and the possible uses of cross-border merger techniques pre-Brexit as a mitigation technique, before considering the post-Brexit M&A scene. I then looked at commercial contracts, and how dispute resolution would change after 2019. Of particular concern is the uncertainty over acceptance of choice of English courts as the forum for any judicial proceedings, and the potential difficulties UK business may have in enforcing UK judgments abroad.
“Given the attendance of leading banks, I focused in detail on credit agreements and the stress points they will face under Brexit. Cross-EU restructuring and workouts too has been an area where UK banks and services have led the European field. The loss of certain EU regulations means that that sector will take a hit, and we may well see a restructuring vacuum in 2020.
“The roundtable that followed was extremely productive, and we heard a range of views from across West Midlands business. The general view was that the West Midlands economy is very much in ‘contingency mode’ for what may come, and that this session had been a very useful and informative one.”
To find out more about the forum, read Dr Kokkinis' article about the topics discussed at the event.