A survey by online trading platform Asset Match indicates that more than half of UK investors are confident in UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the post-Brexit economy, but have little faith in the government of Theresa May.
Of the 1100 investors surveyed, 57% believe entrepreneurs and SMEs “will be the champions of the UK’s post-Brexit economy”, 57% see Brexit as an opportunity for UK companies to expand their global presence, and half of investors feel the UK will be in a stronger economic position following Brexit negotiations.
Meanwhile, 59% responded that they were not confident in the minority Conservative government’s ability to support the private sector, 60% are not confident the government will help SMEs grow, and 54% are not convinced it can create a strong trading network outside the EU.
“Having weakened its hand in the recent snap election, the Conservative government must now provide bold and confident action to combat this,” said Stuart Lucas, co-CEO of Asset Match. “Theresa May and her Brexit team must demonstrate that they can make a success of the UK’s departure from the EU by enabling the private sector to seize the opportunities that are emerging.”
Lord Howard Leigh, senior partner at Cavendish Corporate finance, agrees that confidence in UK business is still strong, but disagrees with the assumption that the government is harming optimism. “In fact, we are seeing evidence to the contrary with the FTSE 100 at record highs, both the commercial and residential property markets remaining robust and Lloyds Banking Group’s Investor Sentiment Index in June revealing that UK investor sentiment remains at near record levels, with overall sentiment up 3.87% compared to this period last year,” he said. “This confidence is reflected in the strong appetite we are still seeing from overseas buyers for UK businesses.”
“Overall, the UK government will also be able to pursue supportive measures and policies for businesses, as has been done in the past with the development of schemes such as VCTs and EIS, both of which suffered from unhelpful restrictions imposed by the EU to avoid suggestions of state aid,” Lord Leigh continued. “Hopefully post-Brexit, these rules will be amended to reflect commercial concerns of investors and provide huge benefits to companies seeking capital from individuals and institutions.”
“More recently we have seen the launch of the British Business Bank and the Business Growth Fund, which solely reflect the interests of UK companies rather than have to consider broader EU business interests and directives,” he added.