We have heard a lot over the last three years about the number of businesses making contingency plans to shift their headquarters from the UK and into somewhere inside the EU because of Brexit (nad actually doing it of course). We hear less about businesses making similar contingency plans to do the same in the event of the election of a Corbyn led government – or a Labour government with a different leader but similar policies.
However, given that, when pushed, most business leaders (and investors) will confess to be much more nervous about this than about Brexit, must wonder if behind very closed doors they aren’t doing it exactly that.
Note that a survey out late last year showed that four out of five of the chairmen of FTSE 100 companies felt that a Corbyn government would be more harmful to them than Brexit. One, quoted in the Times, put it like this: “a Corbyn government will be anti aspiration, anti business, wealth destructive and result in contracted spending leading to no growth.” Britain’s rich feel much the same way.
With that in mind, a release from Hansa Trust (an investment trust that holds a variety of other investment funds as well as a large stake in Brazil based maritime services company Ocean Wilsons Holdings) is interesting. The board it says “has become increasingly concerned about the recent political climate in the UK and the instability and uncertainty this creates for Hansa Trust.”
As a result, the board has “given consideration as to how to best protect Hansa Trust’s business from the risks of unfavourable political developments in the UK and concluded that Hansa Trust should redomicile to an alternative location.”
We know that this isn’t about Brexit partly because Brexit makes little odds to the regulation around investment trusts but also because in order to attempt to replicate the benefits of the investment trust status it has had in the UK without the risk of losing that status Hansa has decided to ask shareholders to approve it redomiciling in Bermuda.
Hansa is slightly ahead of the game here – Corbyn’s approval ratings are shockingly awful. But it won’t take much political change for them to look less paranoid than prescient.
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