36% think customers have negative economic outlook

Some 36% of brokers working in the fields of property and asset finance believe that the majority of their customers have a negative view of the UK’s economic outlook for the next three years, according to research from United Trust Bank.

Just 20% indicated that most of their customers took a positive view whilst 40% believed their customers were neutral.

However, the survey of over 140 intermediaries, carried out by UTB in October, found that as a group, brokers were more optimistic about the future than the customers they serve.

Although brokers are generally more positive, the new research does indicate a decrease in broker confidence since the EU referendum. The UK is set to leave the EU on the 19 of March 2019.

A poll carried out by UTB in July 2016, immediately following the Brexit vote, found that 56% of respondents were positive about the UK’s future outside of the EU. With just over one third (35%) of brokers now taking a positive view of the economic outlook to 2021, it appears that sentiment towards the split has become more negative.

Harley Kagan, group managing director – United Trust Bank, said: “Many business people look for certainty when making important decisions and unfortunately we’re not seeing much of that as we move towards Brexit.

“This lack of a cohesive view of how the UK will operate in just 18 months time coupled with almost daily reports of political infighting amongst those in charge of the process is bound to be detrimental to business confidence. In addition, companies may be devoting huge amounts of money and resource to working out just how they will continue to operate post Brexit.

“That resource may, in normal circumstances, have been employed in driving growth and investment, something which may have been moved to the back burner for the time being.

“UTB’s position has always been that change will continue to happen and we must be prepared not only to adapt to the new environment but be ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Brexit certainly ups the stakes but whether it’s political change, change caused by market forces or technological advancements disrupting or even destroying existing business models, nothing stays the same for long. Brexit hasn’t stopped UTB from having another successful year and the same can be said for brokers and businesses the length and breadth of the UK.

“There will, of course, be more uncertainty ahead. Some businesses will find that a good enough reason to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. Others will look to make the most of the stronger winds. At UTB we’ll be out there supporting the brokers and customers who wish to steer their own course rather than be swept along with the tide.”

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Ryan Fowler is the editor of Specialist Finance Introducer