March 19, 2018 / 1:23 PM / 6 months ago

KPMG says of Brexit transition: businesses need legal certainty

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - The Brexit transition deal agreed with the European Union will make little difference to business leaders as they need legal certainty and will continue to plan for a no deal scenario until they get it, said James Stewart, KPMG’s head of Brexit.

“I’m glad to see that terms have been agreed on transition– but we should remember that this is a contract that’s been written but not signed,” Stewart said.

“Today’s progress, although substantial and positive, will make little difference to business leaders in their Brexit planning. Legal certainty is what counts.”

“So until we have legal certainty, our clients will continue to take action to prepare themselves for a ‘no-deal’ scenario,” Stewart said.

The Brexit transition deal agreed with the European Union needs to be endorsed by regulators so businesses are able to use the agreement to put on hold plans to move jobs and operations out of Britain, the City of London policy chief said.

Banks and insurers have said they might not be able to rely on such a political deal as it will not be formally ratified by governments until October or later, which would be too late for them to avoid making adjustments to their operations.

“Before the announcement firms were peering over the precipice,” said Catherine McGuinness, in practice the political leader of the historic financial district’s municipal body.

“They are now on firmer ground and we hope that the regulators will be tasked to work together by the UK and EU to underpin this political commitment and give firms the certainty they need.” (Reporting By Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill)

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