UTB broker poll suggest there has been no change of heart on Brexit


Harley Kagan

The results of United Trust Bank’s most recent broker poll suggest that although there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the terms of Brexit, there has not been a significant change in how brokers would vote again, given the chance.

In the weeks leading up to the official EU referendum in June 2016, a UTB broker poll revealed that 51% of brokers planned to vote leave and 49% planned to vote remain. The actual national referendum result was 52% leave and 48% remain.

Questions in the most recent UTB Broker Sentiment survey, which received 120 responses from brokers working in the fields of property and asset finance, were designed to reveal if events since the referendum had caused voters to change their stance. 45% of brokers indicated that knowing then what they know now, they would still vote to leave and 44% would still vote to remain. In addition, 2.5% who voted ‘leave’ in the referendum had switched to ‘remain’ and 1.5% who voted to ‘remain’ in the referendum had switched to ‘leave’.

With the switchers included, the leave/remain vote would be split exactly 46.5%/46.5% indicating that despite the Government being increasingly criticised for making slow progress in agreeing the details of Brexit, confusion over plans for the customs union and concern for the future of the Northern Ireland peace process, ‘leave’ voters are largely steadfast in their desire to take the UK out of the European Union.

7% of respondents to this latest poll did not know how they would vote in another referendum.

Broker opinion on how the UK is now viewed around the world is also divided. 22% believe that the UK is seen as trailblazing and making a positive step towards greater freedom and independence, whilst 18% believe that the UK is now seen as a country in chaos. One third (33%) of brokers who responded believe that the UK’s position as a leader in business, human rights and innovation are unchanged since before the referendum.

Harley Kagan, pictured, Managing Director – United Trust Bank, commented:

“The terms of Brexit seem to be no clearer now than when Theresa May triggered Article 50 a year ago. However, despite the uncertainty and mounting additional impacts of the UK’s independence, ‘leave’ voters are largely happy with their decision and wouldn’t switch camps. ‘Remainers’, despite having seen that the UK economy hasn’t immediately collapsed under the spectre of Brexit, are equally resolute.

“The fact that opinions have not swung in either direction, despite there having been almost non-stop debate and discussion since June 2016, would suggest that most people made their decisions on ideological grounds rather than the details. There’s either a willingness to be part of a bigger union and enjoy the freedoms that brings at the cost of some independence over rules of trade, border control and lawmaking, or a desire to take back full control of those policy areas at any price. Whether those desiring the latter can get back as much control as they would like is looking increasingly doubtful, which is why the Government will be keen to avoid being forced into a referendum on the Brexit deal it will eventually have to agree.

“With all this going on, UK housebuilders and SMEs will be going about their business, building the new homes we need and providing the goods and services we all rely on in our daily lives. Whilst Brexit uncertainty may cause some companies to hold back investment, there will be others who see potential in their local or domestic markets and require financial support to develop and grow. United Trust Bank will be an approachable, willing and dependable partner to businesses who see opportunity through the Brexit fog.”