If geopolitical risk isn’t high on the corporate real estate (CRE) agenda, it probably should be.

Why? As discussed in a breakout session at the CoreNet Global Summit – EMEA, a 2017 McKinsey survey of more than 1,000 CEOs found that the three greatest risks to global economic growth over the next 12 months are geopolitical instability, transition of political leadership, and changes in trade policy.

The session was led by Rene Buck, CEO of Buck Consultants International; Richard Middleton, Head of Account Management & Client Services – EMEA, Global Occupier Services, Cushman and Wakefield; and Johan van der Walt, Real Estate Lead, Africa and Middle East, Unilever.

Today we live in a “VUCA” world, the panel noted, explaining that today’s business environment is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

There are more and more geopolitical shocks in the world, and Brexit is perhaps the best example of a geopolitical challenge that is top of mind today for senior business executives and corporate real leaders alike. “Who would have imagined in 2016, before the referendum, that we’d have Brexit?” Middleton asked. “The assumption by the banking sector was that Brexit would not happen.”

The eventual structure of Brexit is yet to be determined, but the uncertainty is already prompting some financial services companies to re-think their European location strategy. Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris have emerged as top alternatives to London, the panel noted.