The Implications of Brexit

Tibiano's picture
Rank: Monkey | 32

June 24 Update - Brexit Wins. 52% to 48%. European markets are taking a biiiiig-swiiingingg-dicking. The GBP is dropping on its ass faster than a fat bitch who sat down too fast. Cameron will step down. WSO, help.

In a week from now, representative democracy will come to a peak when British men and women decide whether or not to remain in the EU.

Possible outcomes of a LEAVE:

1) Re-location of the financial hub from London to Frankfurt/Paris for the secure connection with the rest of the EU -> cost of re-structuring and moving.
2) The dumping of UK shares, bonds, assets -> devaluing the GBP against the dollar by possibly 10-15%
3) Retail would suffer from the above as costs of importing would increase
4) Unemployment could rise
5) Deep levels of uncertainty surrounding the whole situation. Could other countries decide to leave the bloc too?
6) Ripple effects across other markets

It appears that the 'Leave' vote is leading the polls by several %.

So what do you guys think will happen? I started this discussion because I'm very interested in knowing the implications of this event. Please feel free to join in and share your thoughts.

Comments (107)

Jun 16, 2016

Honestly I don't see why the financial hub would be relocated. Sure, there are a lot of EU workers in the finance sector but that would only mean for firms to hire local talent. If anything they might open small shops where they hire a couple of people with lower salaries than in the UK.

Most UK schools are considered to be better than most top continental European schools, and since the curriculum is in English they can attract lots of good students unlike European schools with language barriers. Also UK schools have a reputation which attract a lot of that rich asian, middle eastern and european money.

London is the playground for the rich and I am pretty sure that most British citizens don't like doing menial work so there might still be a need for eastern European labor.

6 months to a year from now, no one will care and things will settle but I don't think there will be major changes or shifts. As for personal interests I would like for the UK to stay in the EU.

Regarding other countries leaving, I don't think so. They are all dependent on the EU money, especially the politicians who do nothing worthwhile with it and pocket most of it for themselves. Not to mention that the rules and institutions have become so intertwined that it's going to become a huge annoying hassle to take care of.

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Jun 16, 2016

Maybe slight shrinkage to the UK financial services sector but I don't think we will see banks upping sticks and moving. Devaluation of sterling in the first instance would be expected and investor sentiment would be far reduced, we've seen this happen in the run up though.

The whole campaign on both sides has been a bit of a shit show to be honest and reminds me of why I generally don't have a lot of time for British politics. One thing I would say is I am not putting much by the polls we keep seeing.

In my personal experience, people voting to leave like to shout about it and demonise the EU, people voting remain tend to do the opposite, very similar to the general election when Labour/alternative voters liked to shout about it and Conservative voters dare not speak too much. This manifests itself in skewed poll results and expectations.

The other thing to consider is the amount of people that talk a good game about voting out, and then on the day vote in - that shouldn't be underestimated.

Made the last few months pretty exciting none the less!

Best Response
Jun 16, 2016

The above posters are quite right. Will there be a short-term dip while trade agreements and the like get sorted out? Of course.

With that said, the figures coming out of the Remain camp have become ever more hysterical, particularly Osborne's recent attempt to induce panic (if / when Leave wins the vote, I am beyond excited to see the back of him).

In terms of the specific points raised by the OP:
* Paris presents no danger to London, the tax regime is punitive beyond belief, the economic environment is difficult to say the least, and as a result of this and the idiocy of the unions, London is now the sixth (potentially now the fifth) largest French city. Frankfurt on the other hand could take some jobs / roles but again hardly is a true threat.
* Retail would suffer...well perhaps, but given the vast majority of retail imports (such as clothing) come from outside the EU this would not have a significant impact. Further, Italian fashion houses for instance on the high-end aren't going to try to stick it to their largest near abroad market, it would hurt them more than the UK.
* In addition to the above, given the likely drop in the pound relative to the dollar and Euro, exports will rise off-setting some damage
* In this same vein, regarding the single market, from 2002 to 2012, the EU's exports of services - that is from the EU to outside the EU - have grown faster than their exports to each other within the EU. This calls into question whether there is any such thing as a single market in services. When one looks at the growth rate of services exports of 20 EU member countries to other EU members, with the exports of 19 non-member countries to the EU, there is no significant difference.
* Further external countries pay on average a 3-4% tariff to access the single market. However, as a net contributor to the EU (some PS8-9 billion per annum), Britain basically pays 7% for the privilege.
* In sum, there is significant evidence that being outside the EU and trading into the single market could be significantly better for the country
* National security is also often brought up as something that is going to be negatively impacted, but if anything it is likely to improve. Britain relies on the Five Eyes community (UK, USA, Canada, Aus, and NZ) much more than any EU nation, additionally the free movement of refugees does indeed pose a threat to the UK. Further, by regaining control of the country's sovereignty, we will be able to actually deport people like Abu Hamza rather than being stopped by various European and EU bodies (ECHR and ECJ respectively)

No one knows precisely what will happen in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, but we do know what will happen if we remain (a number of new initiatives which are / will be distinctly unpopular in Britain are being held back until after the referendum). Given this, Brexit, in my mind, is the best option and opportunity for Britain to grow and keep its place among the leading world powers.

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Jun 16, 2016

Great post. So far, I had only been presented with evidence for the leaving side, but I know have a good understanding of both. Thank you!

Jun 16, 2016

+1. Good points on national security. I hadn't thought of that.

You mentioned that for retail, most imports come from outside the EU. Wouldn't this be bad if the GBP gets weaker? Or would it be off-set by the increase in exports?

Also, do you think that if Britain leaves, then the refugee problem could loom over another country, like a 'hot potato' situation? In other words, considering that and other consequences, do you think other countries could dismantle from the EU?

Jun 16, 2016

Any dip in imports, would likely be offset by a similar rise in exports. Additionally, as Britain extricates itself from the EU (a two year process), new free trade agreements will be signed with these aforementioned non-EU trading partners, which will also work to lower the cost of imports. Between these two factors, things should normalize (theoretically) relatively swiftly.

In terms of the refugee issue, it will plague Europe for decades to come. Merkel and Germany have screwed the proverbial pooch on this one, allowing in 1m+. The attacks in Germany such as Cologne and in Sweden are likely just the beginning. As far as a hot potato-esque issue, already countries are refusing to go along with housing refugees (the Hungarians spring immediately to mind). If I had to hazard a guess, I would say the Danes and Swedes would start moving towards the exits should Brexit take place. The Danes in particular have significant scepticism towards the ever-closer union concept. This was evident in the Danish 2015 opt-out referendum and the opposition to the EU constitution.

In the end, I personally am not anti-EU, in some regards it can work, but it really should never have expanded beyond the Western European nations (or bent the rules for countries like Greece).

Aug 1, 2019

With the GBP already going down, the effects of Brexit - no deal or deal - will be felt in cities in the UK such as Brimingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool (2nd tiered to London). To piggyback on the tax laws of France stated above, the human capital and skilled workers in London is more than Paris and Frankfurt combined, do you think the real effects of Brexit will be mostly felt in the very areas that voted to leave?

I would earmark London as a city, even with banks looking to move headquarters to remain strong, if anything slow down to allow for more opportunity and bounce back quickly, in a stronger way.

Jun 17, 2016

Great post, very informative.

In your opinion guys, how will London investment banking hiring be impacted by a Brexit? And more importantly, when do you think that that this impact would be felt? I guess it could take time for all the measures to be implemented.

Jun 17, 2016

As an American of English ancestry (family came to America in 1639) I'm split on Brexit but am leaning slightly toward the "leave" camp. But I think it's interesting that if there is a "leave" vote the Muslims would have been successful in killing Europe as a "nation", so-to-speak. Islam's latest blow to the Western world.

Jun 17, 2016
Virginia Tech 4ever:

As an American of English ancestry (family came to America in 1639)

Are you fucking serious?

Why not also mention your African ancestry from 2 million years ago?

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Jun 17, 2016

Virginia Tech 4ever:As an American of English ancestry (family came to America in 1639)

Are you fucking serious?

Why not also mention your African ancestry from 2 million years ago?

What's funny (and sad) is that you stalk my comments on WSO because you can never break my arguments in a debate. So instead of defeating my arguments, you stalk my comments in random threads and seek to personally attack me at every avenue. Why don't you grow up and try to have an adult conversation for once?

Jun 24, 2016

quoted for racism..."The muslims?" come on.

It is sad though that the repressive Islamic radicals do win from pan European division. But don't blanket statement whole ethnic and religious groups like a 1639 bigot.

Jun 18, 2016

I'm looking to set a straddle before the vote. On the scale from 1 to Valeant, how dumb is this idea?

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

Jun 18, 2016

Valeant, it's too late.

Offshore liffe

Jun 23, 2016

It's looking like Brexit will happen. I think the impact on the City is being underestimated. France may have a punitive tax wedge, but there's enough business for the taking if the UK leaves the EU that reforms would pay for themselves rather quickly. As awful as all the strikes are now, people will start seeing the benefits of reforming the labor code in France and the pendulum could start to swing in earnest.

Leaving the EU is stupid. The UK is in a great spot right now, what with being part of the EU trade bloc but not part of the eurozone. The next few years, will be very, very tough, particularly since Brexit will ignite referendum fever and the euro might collapse as well (as a matter of fact, I don't think that cross is going to help out the UK nearly s much as a lot of Brexiteers are claiming).

You have to have a short view of history not to see that London has benefitted tremendously as the gateway to European markets over the past 30 years. Back in the 1970s, London was a cesspool no one wanted a part of, and the country had to call the IMF during the Sterling crisis in 1976 things were so bad. Outside of the EU, there is no way the Big Bang would have had the impact it did.

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Jun 23, 2016

What's "stupid" is giving up your sovereignty to foreign powers. No American majority would ever allow a foreign power to make its laws, set its immigration policies, and make binding judicial decisions without recourse. The UK, if it exits, will definitely feel short-term pain, but the European Union is out of control. It's expanded into a super-government that was not originally envisioned. It's run disproportionately by Germany, which now has a European empire without firing a shot. It's the cleanest, most peaceful domination of a continent in human history.

Jun 24, 2016

Sovereignty? LOL. This result has ignited fire on Britain's separatist movements.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Jun 24, 2016

What an incredible lack of perspective. You should maybe read a bit about European Union construction and how treaties were designed to lead to greater integration.
UK never gave up a bit of sovereignty with its custom-made membership. You mention immigration policies whereas immigrants are mainly stuck at the FR/UK border due to the brits refusing to share the refugees burden with everyone else.
And you can keep your moralistic comments for yourself. USA is a federal republic which means that, at some point, states agreed to trade some "sovereignty" for a greater union.

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Jun 24, 2016
Virginia Tech 4ever:

What's "stupid" is giving up your sovereignty to foreign powers. No American majority would ever allow a foreign power to make its laws, set its immigration policies, and make binding judicial decisions without recourse. The UK, if it exits, will definitely feel short-term pain, but the European Union is out of control. It's expanded into a super-government that was not originally envisioned. It's run disproportionately by Germany, which now has a European empire without firing a shot. It's the cleanest, most peaceful domination of a continent in human history.

You're funny. Not in a good way.

Jun 24, 2016

I don't disagree that the EU and particularly eurozone have been horribly mismanaged and that this could serve as a welcome punch in the face (assuming it isn't a fatal one).

But the UK is not the country that had the most to win from reform, in fact the current status quo has served the UK very, very well. It would have made a lot more sense for Greece, Ireland, Spain or Portugal (potentially even Italy although much of its problems are self-inflicted) to throw in the towel.

As someone else mentioned here, should the EU put into place some profound reforms, the UK (or more likely England-Wales) will be left holding the bag when all is said and done.

Jun 24, 2016

Well said. Plenty of BBs and Tech cos have said they will have to relocate, be it in Paris or Luxembourg (very finance friendly regulations) or Frankfurt. Also, lets see what's going to happen in Scotland and Northern Ireland. A lot of grief there and even more among british expats. UK may no longer be a safe haven/harbor politically and this is very key for the financial industry.

Also local talent?? LOL. Have fun interacting with bankers who the only thing they talk about is telling stories about their latest pub crawl. Fun first times to hear it, boring/lame afterwards. EU has to get its shit together and if it reconciles and remains strong, britain will seriously regret it.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

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Jun 24, 2016

This is insane.

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

Jun 24, 2016

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

It's going to hurt in the short term. But sacrificing your sovereignty hurts worse in the long term.

Jun 24, 2016

In related news: Nexit and Frexit votes are on the horizon.

Jun 24, 2016

A lawmaker was literally murdered over this, all of this is quite sad.

Jun 24, 2016

Never felt so ashamed to be British in my life

Jun 24, 2016

Next up - Goldilocks winning in the US. Democracy seems to be broken.

Jun 25, 2016

Next up - Goldilocks winning in the US. Democracy seems to be broken.

Yeah I had the same though. Seems like things are going down the drain.

Jun 24, 2016

After @GlobeTF 'S response, I understood that Britain did have solid reasons for voting to leave.

On the short-term, it appears things aren't going so well. Do you guys think this will be off-set in the long-run?

Jun 24, 2016

Less like Americas (
i.e. US center with small offices in various latem countries

More like Asia (
i.e. multiple centers/hubs in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore. Some are centers due to specialization like Singapore for FX. Others are geopolitical (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai) and their individual importance shift between them overtime.

London will stay "a" center in Europe. Will other center(s) in mainland develop... Probably. In France? In Germany? In Switzerland? How will individual capital markets be distributed over those countries? Will there be a Singapore of Europe?

Near term volatility is large part the run up due to markets pricing in staying being unwound. You can look back at the charts at this years lows that co-incided with heighten market concerns about an exit to have predicted the day after effect. But the shock is one time adjustment and should subside.

Actual departure from EU will take years and it doesn't do anyone good to punish UK for exit decision (despite the hurt feelings of any divorce). The adults will do what is best for the "kids" (their respective economy and people in their economy they are responsible to watch over).

However I think this is another example of disenchanted that was first evidence in the Egypt uprising, Occupy Wall Street, Trump rise (and even Bernie Sanders despite not quite getting the nomination), Scotland UK exit vote (despite not quite getting enough vote)...

It is a new age ruled by disenchanted. (I'm not one of them, just an outside observer of reality)

Jun 25, 2016

This should show you how uninformed voters were.

The question has been the second-most Googled in the U.K. since the country voted in favor of Brexit.
And to add to the humorous side of things, here is a list of all possible future exit names for you.

Fears that Greece would leave the euro zone gave us the term "Grexit," that is, "Greek exit." Britain votes today (June 23) on whether or not to leave the EU, a.k.a. "Brexit." There are murmurs about an eventual "Frexit."

The way things are going, every EU country may need its own term at some point, but the "-exit" structure doesn't always work (just try saying "Italexit").

Here is our non-comprehensive list of possible names for the potential exits of every country in the union. Just in case.





Czech Republic





Angeleave Merkel
















United Kingdom

Jun 25, 2016

Would smart money be moving into loosely regulated export industries in the UK, consider how hard the pound has been slammed?

Renegade criminal from the late 90s. Don't tell Mike I'm here

Jun 25, 2016

Are you asking this as a way to prepare for interviews? If so, I would say that you can go for an even simpler answer: if companies notice uncertainty in the markets, they are less likely to engage in M&A activity. It might also be tougher for PE firms and strategics to use debt given that lenders tend to get more conservative in uncertain times. Also, if a strategic's stock price has fallen and is now perceived as undervalued, they may be unwilling to engage in M&A activity if they had planned to pay for part of the deal with stock.

Jun 25, 2016

You could also say that European firms will look to execute American M&A transactions to diversify themselves across more stable geographies. Danone-WhiteWave comes to mind as a decent example.

To your original point though, no, this would not be caused by a fall in the pound.

Jun 25, 2016

In the mid-market what we're seeing is American and Asian companies seeing this as a potential opportunity, particularly for good value bolt-ons. Several deals were nearly cancelled post-referendum, however many have now completed or are on track to complete at higher multiples due to the substantial fall in the pound. UK MM PE funds are still making acquisitions and there's plenty of capital in direct lending funds to finance these deals. Several US PE funds have commented that they are very keen on making UK acquisitions using their dollar denominated funds.

For mid-cap and large-cap UK corporates, there'll be little outbound M&A for the next 2-3 years due to the uncertainty. Other than the FTSE100, most companies smaller than this size do not have sufficiently diversified revenue streams geographically to do anything adventurous. May see some large opportunistic acquisitions from US or Asian companies of UK companies such as Softbank's acquisition of Arm. I doubt we'll see any EU into UK M&A, particularly with elections approaching in France and Germany.

Jun 25, 2016

As far as I know, LBS received the biggest number of applications in its history for the MBA class of 2019.

They felt quite comfortable arguing that "talented" immigrants won't be affected and that LBS being a tier 4 institution, companies will be able to deduct Visa expenses.

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Jun 25, 2016

Good point. But according to Hammond work expenses will increase due to Brexit for non Uk citizen.. Horrible mix with inflation, pound devaluation and real wages down

Jun 25, 2016

So this article is incomplete: "However, the figures do not take into account new staff arriving from the EU."

Jun 25, 2016

Where are you currently based or what is your current work permit in the UK? I am assuming you are either American or EEA passport holder.

I would tell the employer that you are very interested in the position but have concerns about your work permit if Brexit pulls through. Ask them what they'd do with you if that situation occurs and where they would transfer you (i.e. is that a global team or only London based? Could they/will they get you another work permit to Japan? USA?). Another option is to get sponsored for a work permit in the UK if Brexit negotiations allow for that (impossible to see now what will happen)

These are relevant concerns before signing a work contract.

Jun 25, 2016


I'm in London, in process for British passport. No US or EU passport. I worry about whether firms will be forced to relocate staff (for cost or regulatory purposes) and which staff could be most affected. And would lack of passporting rights mean weaker profitability for UK fund managers in the short to medium term?

Jun 25, 2016

I'd be interested to investigate this as well. I really don't even see a reason to move advisory in BBs as well actually.

Jun 25, 2016

You'll be fine. If the vote does go toward leave, then it is still going to take two years to renegotiate and see the various impacts. Your July start date will not be impacted, nor would I imagine your first year depending on the firm.

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Jun 25, 2016

I think with all of the risk, not just in the US but globally, people are too 'fiscally conservative' right now and aren't willing to hand their money over to hedge fund managers especially with the not so good looking industry data. My .02.

Jun 25, 2016

Just to add to the list, a good chunk of systematic global macro funds probably made bank on Brexit. We'll soon know who and how much but I'm sure some performed very well in the past month or two.

Jun 25, 2016


Jun 25, 2016

This podcast by Andrew of BettersystemTraders has interesting conversations with System Traders:

Jun 25, 2016

Here is good a list of London hedge funds that are going to be most impacted by Brexit:

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Jun 25, 2016

I do not think anyone knows what will happen. Markets will eventually stabilize and it'll pick up. Just a big hit is going to come in and a lot of people are going to panic.

Jun 25, 2016


I assume nothing changes as long as the exit is not fully negotiated.

Jun 25, 2016

whats the question? will they hire more than 100% ? probably not.
will they hire less because they have no idea what the next years will bring? probably

Make Donald Drumpf again

Jun 25, 2016

What is the possible impact on current FT offers for London/the current incoming analyst class which is about to start in the upcoming weeks? I am seriously worried that my bank starts rescinding offers last minute because of job cuts.

Jun 25, 2016

"what Brexit affect the university market (& job market) in case Uk will not have the freedom of movement and the single market?"

I'd imagine that UK university program's which emphasize collaboration with the US will do very well, and that international student revenue from other programs will diminish.

For example, Ireland's and Australia's model is to accept a lot of international students for employable programs in medicine, and then place moratoriums on where they can practice and/or prevent them from becoming licensed (e.g. Australia requires internationals to practice in rural areas or something similar and gives citizens preference for residency positions, while Ireland doesn't allow international medicine graduates to stay for their residencies).

If the UK did something similar, they'd be in a better place to utilize international student revenue toward supporting more employable degrees for their own citizens.

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Jun 25, 2016

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You're welcome.

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Jun 25, 2016

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Jun 25, 2016

FX rate impacts exchange ratio. Strengthening dollar would reduce the value of the target in a relative exchange. Thus, more attractive for the acquiror but opportunistic from the perspective of the target. ADR could help the deal by preventing flowback, but wouldn't really change anything regarding the exchange.

Jun 25, 2016

It's far too early to tell what will happen. Until formal negotiations have begun there will be little to go on. However, banks will continue to hire Europeans where possible due to the language needs. It's different in the US where there is no need for foreign languages (other than Latam coverage possibly), meaning sponsoring visas is an unnecessary complication.

Also, UCL is most definitely a target. Whoever argues it isn't is one not to listen to.

Jun 25, 2016

UCL is target enough. Visa not an issue for grads in uk. if you can speak a european language you have an edge over the others. don't make excuses go network, you can do it.

Jun 25, 2016

thanks for the answers

Jun 25, 2016

What is Brexit?

Jun 25, 2016

I think you really need to improve your English before you start wishing to work in IBD in London.
And don't listen to Blair - he's a noisy fart in the wind.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Jun 25, 2016

Unfortunately, you will have less of a chance to work in IB or the financial services if the worst case scenario of Brexit plays out. Large parts of major banks will be moved. This is not hearsay.

Jun 25, 2016


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Jun 25, 2016

Brexit probably doesn't mean much for the HF industry in London, although there is a risk that it might eventually. One of the reasons is that there are not a lot of alternatives to London.

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Jun 25, 2016

Does anyone actually care about fintech? or do they like using it as a buzzword?
the only people they will mostly be hiring are programmers.

Jun 25, 2016

WB12's business model is dependent on EU zone customers. That is different than technology services geared purely toward the financial industry, which makes London an ideal place to launch that kind of business. Begging the question, why not New York? Where funding is more robust.

Jun 25, 2016

I wouldn't worry about Brexit before fixing your English.

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Jun 25, 2016
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Jun 25, 2016
Jun 25, 2016