A view on Brexit from CEO Kate Jolly

They say that change is one of the few certainties in life. On Friday we all woke up to a change on a scale that is unprecedented – at least in my lifetime. At Briars we have built a reputation upon both change management and helping our customers grow across borders in the international business environment. As a Briars customer, you’re in good hands as we all step into the unknown.

As a proud Scot who has spent most of her working life in England, the UK is something I’m very proud of. It started, of course, in 1707, when Scotland and England joined forces and we have worked successfully as a single unit until now. This has enabled our island to function as a team and survive – even flourish – through wars, huge industrial development and multiple economic down turns.

In 2014, Scotland sought independence but, after listening to its people, chose to remain as a part of the UK. So what happened this time?

An unhappy population has voted in numbers not seen for over 30 years and chosen to leave the European Union. Many commentators are pointing out that the ‘Leavers’ majority is underpinned by an age group that remember the UK before we joined our European cousins and who sought a return to the controls that the UK had at that time.

Across the British Isles, our younger generations are Europeans in heart and soul and up to an estimated 75% voted to remain. It is this outvoted demographic who now face the task, as they step forward over the decades ahead into senior roles, of managing the UK’s relationship with mainland Europe.

What will this mean?

Under the pre-agreed conditions of exit, it will take two years of negotiation before the UK practically leaves the EU. The isles will go through the turmoil that occurs in any restructuring but, with capable management, I am firmly of the opinion that a positive outcome is achievable.

Our clients are now considering operational perspectives such as the impact of double tax treaties; the introduction of commercial incentives; creation of trade centres and further actions that will require tangible solutions.

However, we know that this will take time, particularly as the UK Civil Service rebuilds its remit and capabilities to match the pre-EU days.

It never entered our thoughts when we set about building our Briars global offering that the Union would end, but we have always been driven by your needs. And the hard work put in by your Briars team over our 24 years means that we can guide you through this fluid, complex and developing arena, however it unfolds.

Our global coverage, connections and specialists will be on hand to lead you along every step of the path as the new regulations come into play over the next three years, not only in the UK and throughout Europe but also in the event of other countries following the UK in leaving the EU. The globalisation trend will not be set back by Brexit, and nor should your ambition, both within and beyond the EU.

Keep calm and carry on.


Kate co-founded Briars in 1991 with Andrew Brierley. She specialised in tax law and today continues to advise clients on international operations, particularly land, expand and exit! In her spare time Kate is a Past Master of the City of London Guild of Entrepreneurs and a Director of CCARHT (Cambridge Centre for Applied Research into Human Trafficking).