Service: Human resources Management and leadership Taxation 

Topic: Brexit 

Is the UK still one of the best jurisdictions to do business?

By Richard Kleiner

27 Aug 2019

Back in 2014 the Daily Telegraph reported that the UK had moved up in rankings and is classed as the eighth best country in which to do business, according to the World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” survey.  

That of course was before the Brexit referendum, although at the time it was notable that none of the Eurozone’s core economies, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain featured in the top 10. Italy was ranked 56th!

The World Bank’s “Doing Business” survey measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business, including the following:

  • Starting a business
  • Dealing with construction permits
  • Registering property
  • Banking services including getting credit
  • Protecting minority investors
  • Taxes 
  • Trading across borders
  • Enforcing contracts
  • Resolving insolvency
  • Measuring labour market regulation
  • Electricity connections

Interestingly, the World Bank’s “Doing Business” survey in 2019, which was published at the end of October 2018, ranked the UK in overall ninth position, and scored the UK 82.65 in the “ease of Doing Business” score (0-100).

One of the areas that let the UK down was in the “banking services and getting credit” area where the UK ranked only 32nd, with a score (0-100) of 75.  This was not a complete surprise as many people I speak to, including several clients, have found it very difficult when even trying to open a bank account let alone obtaining credit.

It seems to me that the banking sector should now form a multi-organisational working group or task force to devise a proposal that streamlines the process for account opening. This is needed to ensure there is consistency across all banking organisations, so that the business community has the same level of expectation in terms of what the banks require to get an account open and to apply for credit.  In some extreme cases, I am aware of companies waiting up to 10 weeks to have a bank account open. This is due to the apparent failure of the banks to properly train their staff to deal with the various onboarding and Anti-Money Laundering processes.

I know that some readers of The Round, our quarterly newsletter, are bank managers. I would welcome the opportunity to have a more detailed discussion with them and their colleagues regarding how we can assist in making the UK more efficient in dealing with the subject of getting credit, and perhaps the wider services from the banking sector.

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