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24 October 2016

Brexit "will impact trade credit risk management for UK firms"

Content team

Following the outcome of the EU membership referendum earlier this year, many UK businesses will have to adopt new approaches to credit risk management to prepare for the new trading environment after Britain leaves the European Union.

The significance of Brexit in the context of business risk - particularly in terms of directors' and officers' liability insurance - was explored in a recent report published by Strategic Risk, in association with insurance firm AIG.

John Hopper, UK head of financial lines at AIG, noted that Brexit could prove to be a serious event for any organisation that is not sufficiently prepared, with the possibility of business leaders being held accountable if they mismanage the situation or miscommunicate any relevant risks to the market.

One of the biggest considerations for many UK companies - particularly those entering new markets outside the European Union - will be trade credit risk.

Neil Ross, AIG's regional manager for trade credit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said many industries are facing the prospect of a prolonged period of uncertainty. The possibility of insolvencies, losses and projects being put on hold will have a significant impact on trade credit.

One possible consequence of this is that the responsibility of credit risk management will go beyond a firm's corporate treasurer and require the involvement of a dedicated risk manager.

Mark Simpson, head of consultancy at Armour Risk Management, said: "[Risk managers] must support the assessment of credit risk and should also ensure that directors' and officers' underwriters are kept informed of changed circumstances.

"The risk manager needs to understand the issues and support consideration of risk factors when the company seeks to gain access to additional capital."

Mr Ross noted that increasing trade in less familiar markets and finding new sources of businesses will be among the most likely consequences of Britain leaving the EU.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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