Whither Brexit? Dyson - the start of an exodus or a mere coincidental shift?

January 23, 2019

Dyson shifts its Head Office from UK to Singapore

Just as recent as October 2018, Sir James Dyson announced his decision to start production of Dyson’s Electric Vehicle (EV) in uber modern and hi tech Singapore.

It shocked many observers. Some winged at Dyson’s choice of locating an automotive manufacturing base in the city state that is well known for its high operating costs. While some marveled at the astute business decision that Dyson has made, taking advantage of the highly trained workforce, strong protection of Intellectual Property rights and Free Trade status of Singapore with China, along with many other nations.

Some expressed skepticism about Sir Dyson’s move out of the United Kingdom, ahead of the looming Brexit and after his well publicised backing of it. 

Dyson, the firm and the man, has categorically denied the links, dismissing them as pure speculation. The move is a complex decision made on business decisions like supply chain, proximity to markets and availability of expertise.

In January 2019, Dyson announced its decision to move its Head Office from UK to Singapore. 

Again, Dyson stated that it is a business decision.

In their CEO, Mr Jim Rowan’s words it was to “future proof for where it sees the biggest opportunities.

As a Singaporean, I certainly welcome the decision. It underlines and underscores the efforts of Singapore, our Government and our people in retaining our allure for Multi Nationals to invest and be based in our little red dot!

Whiter Brexit?

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Brexit is a word play on the now two globally famous words “Britain’s Exit” (from the European Union). 

For those who are wondering why did the British chose to leave, it was a result of the EU Membership referendum called by then Prime Minister James Cameron for the people to decide if they should stay or leave the European Union. They chose to leave.

For those who are thinking about the potential repercussions and the impacts of Brexit, it remains a mystery. One can imply from the current impasse that the British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing, she has trouble convincing her Members of Parliaments to agree to her plans and deals for the impending Brexit in March 2019.

Frankly, does anyone knows any better?

Perhaps some of the business leaders do. Perhaps some of the hedge funds and financial institutions do.

Services make up about 80% of UK’s economy, in particular Professional services and Finance contributes about 19.6% while Production stands at about 13.8%. The distribution, transport, hotels and restaurants at 17.7% is the second most important after the Government sector that gives 18.1% to UK’s economy. The table below is published by UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Industry  £ billion  %
 Government health and education  317.5 18.1%
 Distribution transport hotels and restaurants  310.4 17.7%
 Real estate  243.1 13.8%
 Production  242.4 13.8%
 Professional and support activities  216.6 12.3%
 Financial and insurance  128.6 7.3%
 Information and communication  110.4 6.3%
 Construction  104.7 6.0%
 Other services  71.0 4.0%
 Agriculture  11.4 0.6%
  1756.1 100.0%

Come Brexit, how will these numbers change? Will a weaker GBP increase footfall into London and other scenic parts of the UK, drive up investors’ demand for bargain assets (like Mr Ken Griffin did) or will it be a precursor of a massive exodus of firms exiting London and UK for greener pastures?

What are your views?

P.S: Welcome Dyson to sunny Singapore!



about author

Seng Ti is currently heading a Treasury & Finance team in a MNC and is serving as the President of the Association of Corporate Treasury (Singapore) aka ACTS. He enjoys reading and discussing about current affairs, politics, life, wine and lives a normal life with his wife and 2 young kids.