High growth businesses more optimistic than low growth counterparts about Brexit

Almost three quarters (70%) of high-growth businesses in the UK are confident in their ability to handle the impacts of Brexit, compared to just half (49%) of lower-growth businesses, according to latest Trailblazers survey commissioned by Santander1.

The biannual survey of more than 1,000 businesses found that confidence among high- growth companies has increased markedly over the past six months. The proportion of ‘trailblazing’ firms - those which have either grown by 20% over the past year or expect to do so over the next year - who are confident about their growth prospects has increased to 89% from 78% at the start of the year. Confidence for lower-growth businesses stands as just 41% - an increase from 38%.

Trailblazers' confidence in their future prospects is reflected in their willingness to take risks to secure growth opportunities (70% compared to 44% of lower-growth firms) as well as enter new markets (63% compared to 37%).

The research also found that Trailblazers are more likely to view investment in research and development and upskilling their staff as key drivers of business growth. Over half (53%) have increased R&D investment in the past three years, compared to 28% of low-growth businesses, while two thirds (63%) have increased investment in training and development compared with 30% of lower growth businesses. The most common reason for Trailblazers to invest (60%) is to recruit new talent.

Sean Longsdale, Managing Director, Structured Finance, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “This research confirms what we’ve been hearing from leaders of high growth businesses, who tell us they don’t see Brexit as a blocker to their ambitions, but as just another hurdle to clear. However, while it’s positive to see that the UK’s most thriving businesses are confident about their future prospects, it’s a real concern that many companies already experiencing growth challenges feel unprepared for Brexit. It’s vital that we ensure that all types of businesses are well prepared for Brexit and ready to grab the opportunities that are out there for British goods and services across international markets.”

To help small and medium sized businesses prepare for Brexit and beyond, Santander has run a series of workshops focused on the practical implications of Brexit, including a change in the UK-EU trading relationship.

Santander provides funding and guidance to a range of businesses at each stage of their growth journey, from investment in people, technology and R&D, to overseas operations, and M&A activity. 

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Notes to Editors

  1. Fieldwork carried out between 10 - 21 May 2019 by YouGov. Total sample of 1,012 UK businesses with minimum £1m annual turnover and more than five employees. Respondents were limited to senior and board-level staff at UK-based businesses. A cohort of 141 high-growth businesses – defined as companies which have grown revenues by at least 20% over the past 12 months and/or which expect to do so over the course of the coming year – was identified.
  2. For more information on the Santander Trailblazers research, please visit: https://www.santandercb.co.uk/insight-and-events/trailblazers  

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2018, the bank has c23,800 employees. It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

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Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2018, Banco Santander had EUR 981 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 144 million customers, 13,000 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 7,810 million in 2018, an increase of 18% compared to the previous year.

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