1. About us
  2. Media centre
  3. General insurance news
  4. 2016
  5. One quarter of SMEs suffering post-Brexit

One quarter of SMEs suffering post-Brexit

London, September 20, 2016

- Three times more feel positive about new PM than negative

The latest Zurich SME Risk Index results show that many small businesses in the UK have had a tumultuous time since the EU Referendum on June 23rd as the UK voted to Leave, despite two in five of SME owners and decision makers (43%) voting to leave the European Union (EU).   

The survey of over 1,000 SMEs revealed that anxieties about leaving the EU persist. Less than 3 months on, almost a quarter of SMEs (22%) already feel that the devaluation of the pound in the fallout from the vote has hindered their business, and over half (57%) are now primarily concerned with the effect of Britain’s official withdrawal from the EU on foreign currency and exchange rates. This anxiety may be due to the knock-on effect of a weak sterling on import and export conditions, the second greatest concern amongst SMEs post-referendum (46%).  

SMEs have seen positives in developments since the Leave vote, however. International trade talks have grabbed the headlines in recent weeks, and this has been keenly felt in the SME community, with almost half stating that international trade risks, including sanctions and regulation, were a key concern for their businesses (44%). SMEs have, however, shown confidence that Theresa May can deliver on the international stage, with more than three times as many business owners indicating that her appointment as Prime Minister will have a positive impact on the success of their business (25%) rather than a negative one (8%).    

Statistics suggest that, above all else, SMEs crave certainty in the business environment, following the decision to Leave. If asked to vote in the EU Referendum again, slightly more SMEs would vote for a Remain decision now (55%) than before (54%), yet more than half of SMEs stated that they oppose calls for a second EU referendum, regardless (52%). 
Anne Griffiths, Head of SME Proposition at Zurich, comments, “Amid concerns over currency fluctuation, import and export conditions, and international trade talks, SMEs appear to be showing confidence in the new Prime Minister to deliver stability in uncertain times. 

“Statistics suggest a worrying uplift in concern about business risk among SMEs, which hit two year highs earlier this year. While business conditions remain uncertain, it is vital that the interests of UK SMEs remain represented on the world stage, and that British business leaders receive the support they need to continue to function as the backbone of the UK economy.” 


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

These statistics are taken from two samples of Zurich’s SME Risk Index. The first sample included 1,004 respondents covering the period 11th July 2016 – 15th July 2016. The second sample included 1,062 respondents covering the period 30th August 2016 – 5th September 2016.

*The Zurich SME Risk Index is formulated by calculating a mean score against nine different parameters, which asks how concerned management are about each of these. From these scores, an overall mean is calculated to create an index score between 1 and 100, with 1 being “No concern at all” and 100 being “Very concerned”.

All surveys were carried out online.

Media contacts

For further information please contact: 

Alex Jones, Zurich
07875 888058, alexander.jones@uk.zurich.com

Morwenna Jones, FleishmanHillard Fishburn, 
0208 844 5317, morwenna.jones@fhflondon.co.uk

James Deacon, FleishmanHillard Fishburn,
0208 618 2978, henry.adams@fhflondon.co.uk