Monday 24 October 2016 4:24 pm

Boom time in the City as Brexit gives a boost to professional advisers

The UK's vote for Brexit has delivered a big boost for City advisers as firms scramble to find out how they should respond to a period of unprecedented uncertainty.

Insolvency firm Begbies Traynor found the number of professional services firms in "significant financial distress" had dropped by 10 per cent since the EU referendum, as new work streams in from worried clients.

"Professional services firms have been in high demand following the referendum," Begbies Traynor partner Julie Palmer said. "Law firms and management consultancies are benefiting most thanks to an influx of new projects … looking for help in navigating the current Brexit uncertainty."

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The group also said the health of the UK corporate sector, with the FTSE 100 recently setting a new intra-day high and comfortably established above the 7,000 mark, has helped advisers maintain their regular transactional work.

Across the UK, the number of businesses in significant distress was down six per cent to just under 250,000, the latest "Red Flag" research revealed. Palmer added: "The economy is ploughing on as it would have been. Generally the figures are Brexit-neutral and are probably where they would have been if we hadn't had the referendum."

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While the boom for City consultants could continue until even after the UK formally leaves the EU as businesses grapple with new rules and regulations, other industries should be preparing for a rough patch, Begbies Traynor warned. "Over the longer term, there may be some issues for consumer-facing industries, like retailers and pubs and restaurants, which will be hit with a double-whammy from the national living wage (NLW) as well."

The insolvency practitioners sounded the alarm bell over plans to push the NLW to £9 an hour by the end of the decade, and said it hopes the government takes the "opportunity of Brexit" to reverse the policy, introduced by George Osborne before the 2015 General Election.

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