The die was cast on June 23. As the British public voted marginally in favour of exiting the EU, questions began to swirl around the City as to whether London’s status as the centre for the global wealthy was now under threat. Could Brexit provoke an exodus of the super-rich? Recent studies suggest that such fears have some foundation.
A report published in September by KPMG stated that three-quarters of the 100 chief executives surveyed were considering moving their company headquarters, or at least some of their operations, out of the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote. Separate research from DHR International, the recruitment company, suggested that British executives could look to Frankfurt and Paris rather than London following the June referendum.
So if the wealthy are leaving, where exactly are they going? And if they are looking for better tax deals — or simply somewhere else to live in Europe — what are the factors that could lure them from the UK’s capital?
Both Monaco and Switzerland — traditional havens for the wealthy fleeing punitive domestic tax rates — are “expecting a bounce”, says Hugh Wade-Jones, managing director of Enness Private Clients, a mortgage broker for the super-rich. “The guys that leave will be ‘tax tourists’,” he says.
And beyond the tax considerations are two equally important factors: security and sun. Wealthy individuals and families are buying elsewhere — Lisbon and Berlin, for example — for investment purposes. The majority, however, are looking to live somewhere where their family is safe and where it does not rain — or at least not as much as in the UK — Mr Wade-Jones says.
While Monaco may tick many boxes, it is also expensive, with prices listed on one property website ranging from €1.7m up to €12.9m — and this is for one- or two-bedroom flats.