Global CEOs Are More Optimistic About U.K. Growth After Brexit

The U.K. is more attractive for investment than it was before Brexit, a survey of more than 5,000 global chief executive officers found.

The country is now ranked fourth as a growth target for the CEOs, having overtaken India. CEOs from China, India, Canada and New Zealand in particular are increasingly interested in investing in the U.K., according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which carried out the survey in January.

A sweeping review is planned with the aim of boosting financial services, which generates about 7% of the country’s economic output, while Barclays Plc’s Jes Staley has said Brexit will prove to be a net benefit for the City of London.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • The U.S., China and Germany are seen as the top markets for growth
  • 13% of Chinese CEOs selected the U.K. as their main target, compared with 3% in 2019
  • 25% of India’s CEOs ranked the U.K. number one, compared with 9.5% previously

“The findings are a vote of confidence in certainty and stability, which have undoubtedly increased on the trade front,” said Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at the PwC’s U.K. unit. “Not only has the U.K. grown in appeal to some of our newer trade targets, but it remains an important market among our European neighbors.”

The poll also suggests that the global economy is rebounding after being roiled by the pandemic. Ellis said that merger and acquisition activity is increasing and that tech firms are likely to add workers. U.K. CEOs are also increasingly confident, with 56% expecting to increase staffing this year, though they saw larger than average reductions in headcount last year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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