Matt Western MP and West Midlands finance and industry leaders joined Dr Stephen Connelly and Dr Andreas Kokkinis from Warwick Law School at the first University of Warwick Business Forum, a new initiative aiming to connect the University’s experts with the region's 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 round table 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.
Dr Connelly said: “The striking revelation in last week’s Birmingham Mail that the Government’s own calculations predict 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. 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.
“The roundtable that followed was extremely productive. 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.”
Dr Kokkinis added: “The Forum brought together expertise from senior business figures in banking, finance, accounting, and immigration advice, from Parliament and the Department for International Trade, and from academia, for a lively and well-informed exchange of views.
“A clear message emerging from the discussion was the need to support SMEs in navigating the unchartered waters of Brexit - a cause with regard to which Universities and academics have much to offer. There was also recognition of the importance of putting forward a narrative about the UK’s relationship with the EU based on facts, evidence and technical expertise, but at the same time accessible to the broader community.”
3 October 2018
This forum was the first of a series co-ordinated by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Warwick University and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
- Photo, L - R: Dr Connelly, Mr Matt Western MP and Dr Kokkinis outside Warwick Business School.
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