At the CoreNet Global Summit in Amsterdam this week, Brexit, the June 2016 referendum in which the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU), is a hot topic.

Opening General Session speaker Mujtaba Rahman  who leads Eurasia Group’s Europe practice, was interviewed by Daisy McAndrew, host of the O2 Business Show on LBC 97.3 every Sunday, predicts a hard 5-10 years ahead for the UK.

During a breakout session panel discussion, corporate real estate experts offered their forecasts about the short- and long-term impacts of Brexit. Vik Bangia, MCR of Verum Consulting, LLC, moderated the debate:

“There’s a long way to go before anything crystallizes about Brexit,” said Richard Barkham, Executive Director and Global Chief Economist, CBRE. “Brexit will not affect the global economic cycle one iota. From a London perspective, yes, we’re a little bit worried about it. Brexit could bring some brake on London’s pre-eminence as a financial capital.”

For the next two years, observed René Buck, Founder and CEO of Buck Consultants International, “the UK is still in the EU. We are going into a period of two years of negotiations. It will take two years, if not more. I don’t think that will be an easy negotiation because Europe is built on the free movement of goods, capital and people. What will happen if no trade agreement is reached?”

Early on, following the vote, the mood was more or less “panic,” observed Richard Middleton, Head of Occupier Services, EMEA & APAC, Cushman & Wakefield. “But that has stopped. It is all calming down now. It’s not clear the direction this will take, but it will be a five-year process.”

On that point, Marc Simon, Director Global Worldwide Corporate Real Estate, Facilities and Sustainability for Dassault Systems, agreed: “We have time in front of us to think about it. For now, we can continue to do our business.”

According to Roel Spee, Global Leader, IBM Global Business Services, Brexit won’t have much of an impact on where companies locate and do business globally. “But locally, there will be an impact. Clearly, it will impact the UK.”

In times of uncertainty, he said, people and companies tend to hesitate and delay decisions. “But this is an opportunity for corporate real estate functions to take the lead and be strategic,” he concluded.

For more information on Brexit and additional viewpoints on how the decision might impact corporate real estate, check out the September 2016 issue of the LEADER magazine.