The global Campden Wealth community of family business leaders overwhelming believe Great Britain is better off staying in the European Union than leaving it.
More than 100 responses flooded in to CampdenFB from family business owners and members, family office principals and professionals, advisers, investors and non-family chief executives and board members in response to our exclusive online poll.
We bring you the latest interim analysis of the results before the poll closes on the eve of the high-stakes EU referendum itself, on 23 June.
A significant 67% called on the UK to remain a member of the EU with 33% voting to Brexit. However, a narrow majority of 41% believed the impact on their family business would be “neutral” if the UK left, slightly more than the 38% who felt there would be a “negative” impact.
A “negative” impact on sterling dominated investments was predicted by most polled, at 43%, if Britons voted out.
The majority at 40% forecast a “negative” impact on the attractiveness of London and the UK as global hubs for both family offices and wealth management if Britain goes it alone.
Family business leaders were concerned an EU withdrawal will demote London on the financial world stage and trigger a withdrawal of European headquarters, with the cost paid in jobs and GDP.
British family businesses would suddenly have to compete with American, Russian, Indian and Chinese rivals for EU customers.
Selection Branded Clothing director Daniel Goldberg said his British family business relied heavily on free trade and movement between member states “and to threaten this freedom would destroy all of my efforts.”
Goldberg said sterling will devalue “by up to 20% plus” with the ripple effect of reducing British purchasing power abroad.
“Considering that we are a net importer, it will result in higher prices throughout the UK and reduced value in my UK based investments.”
A European family business owner, aged 65-74, said simply: “It’s suicidal to leave.”
However, Brexit supporters wanted to cut EU ties over issues of British sovereignty and immigration. They were tired of red tape, decision stalling in Brussels and bailing out debt-ridden member countries.
They claimed withdrawal effects would be “possibly negative for the first 12-month” then the UK would have the status of Switzerland with “long-term gains”.
A European trusted adviser to family businesses and offices worth $500 million to $1 billion backed Brexit but with a condition.
“The Government should then take steps to make UK more family business and family office friendly,” he said.