Yes to Brexit: How the City is reacting to the EU referendum result

Emma Haslett
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The City voted almost 75 per cent in favour of remaining in the EU (Source: Getty)

So the UK has voted in favour of Brexit - pushing the pound down against other currencies, and hitting stocks.

For the most part, the City came out against Brexit during referendum campaigning - which was reflected in the result of its vote: 75.3 per cent in favour of a Remain vote.

And as the City woke up, reactions began to trickle in. Here are some of the best.

Brexit Britain: What you need to know

1. BCC: "Immediate priorities are stability and clarity"

Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce:

The immediate priorities for UK business are market stability and political clarity.

Some businesspeople will be pleased with the result, and others resigned to it. Yet all companies will expect swift, decisive, and coordinated action from the government and the Bank of England to stabilise markets if trading conditions or the availability of capital change dramatically.

"Firms across the UK want an immediate and unambiguous statement from the Prime Minister on next steps, along with a clear timeline for the UK's exit from the European Union. Business will also want to see a detailed plan to support the economy during the coming transition period - as confidence, investment, hiring and growth would all be deeply affected by a prolonged period of uncertainty. If ever there were a time to ditch the straight-jacket of fiscal rules for investment in a better business infrastructure, this is it.

2. IoD: "British businesses are resilient"

Simon Walker, director general at the Institute of Directors:

British businesses are resilient and, with their characteristic ingenuity, they will weather this storm. It is now beholden on politicians to negotiate a deal with European leaders which preserves the ability of British firms to trade easily with the remaining member states.

Even once we have left, the EU will continue to be our biggest trading partner, and the first destination for many companies when they start to export. One thing the government must do immediately is to guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens currently in the UK. Companies do not want to have to worry about losing valued staff.

3. Royal London Asset Management: "We expect a recession"

Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Royal London Asset Management:

On the back of this morning’s result we expect the UK will fall into a recession. Unfortunately I see unstable market conditions lasting for between three and five years whilst new trade agreements are drawn up.

It is our view that the UK government will be left with no choice but to stimulate the economy through fiscal and monetary means, flooding the system with liquidity if necessary.

4. UBS: "Dollar down further"

Dean Turner and Caroline Simmons, UBS Wealth Management:

In our view, it is reasonable to expect that sterling will settle in the mid 1.30s level against the US dollar until some clarity emerges. Beyond this level, we would note that sterling would be significantly undervalued and markets would probably be reluctant to sell.

Companies and sectors most leveraged to the UK economy could therefore be expected to continue some of their pre-referendum underperformance. This includes sectors such as the financials, consumer discretionary, and the FTSE 250 Mid Cap Index. Meanwhile we would expect defensive and international segments of the market to outperform, as they have less exposure to the UK economy and should be supported by a weaker pound.

5. Clifford Chance: "Serious implications for the City"

Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner at Clifford Chance:

We believe this outcome has serious implications for the City and many of our clients' businesses with exposure to the UK and the EU. We are working alongside our clients to help them as they anticipate, plan for, and manage the challenges the coming political and trade negotiations will bring.

6. CBI: "Not a time for rushed decisions"

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI:

The British people’s vote to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in our history. The country has spoken and it’s for us all to listen.

Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt.

The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the Government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy. The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.

7. TheCityUK: "The focus is on securing access to the single market"

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK:

Clear agreement is now needed on the way forward for the forthcoming negotiations as Government shapes a new relationship for the UK with the EU and retains the jobs and investment that the UK has seen to date. For financial and related professional services, the focus is on securing continuing access to the Single Market.

It is vital that action is taken to reinforce the global competitiveness of the UK as a place in which and from which to do business. This will help to mitigate the risk of prolonged uncertainty while a new relationship with the EU is negotiated. We look forward to working with Government on forward-looking policies to help achieve this and to advancing the attractiveness of UK-based financial and related professional services.

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