UK: Bellwether Summer 2017: The Views Of The FTSE

Last Updated: 6 September 2017
Article by ICSA  

Economic pessimism, political uncertainty and cyber risk mark the latest FT–ICSA Boardroom Bellwether survey of the FTSE 350, taken after the general election.

The business environment

Given the political and economic roller coaster of the first half of 2017, it is hardly surprising to find boards in this survey remain pessimistic about prospects for growth over the next year.

When asking about the outlook in the UK, our survey this summer finds respondents anticipating more misery.

With no clear plan yet revealed by the UK government as to what might happen in March 2019 if there is no deal at the end of the Brexit negotiations; a slowdown in consumer spending as prices rise and wages fail to keep up; infighting within the government; and an embattled prime minister, it is little wonder that confidence is so low.

Just 5% of respondents expect economic conditions in the UK to improve over the next year, down from 13% a year ago.

Over two-thirds (69%) predict a decline in the UK economy, consistent with 72% in winter last year, but representing a massive drop in confidence compared with the results of last summer's survey, which was carried out in the weeks leading up to the EU referendum.

Then only a quarter of respondents expected the position to get worse, although a further quarter stated that future prospects were dependent on the outcome of the vote.

However, views on global economic conditions are more mixed. There is optimism from 29% of respondents who think the international position will improve, an increase on the 16% who felt the same way in the two previous surveys. This time, however, we also saw 37% anticipating further decline, up from 28% last year.

There is also a bit more hope expressed in the answers about companies' own industries. Just over a quarter (27%) anticipate a slight improvement, up from the summer and winter surveys in 2016, but over a third (36%) still believe that conditions will decline – an increase on a year ago (31%) but down on winter 2016 (43%).


A year after the EU Referendum, this survey suggests that views about the possible impact of Brexit seem to be settling. Overall, half (54%) of respondents thought that Brexit would cause some or significant damage to their business, a small drop from 59% in winter 2016, but still 11% ahead of the scores in summer 2016.

In comparison, 44% responded with 'no change' this time, up from 32% six months ago and 39% in summer 2016. There is evidence of some confidence returning to the FTSE 100, with 44% now thinking that there will be some or significant damage to their business, down from the two-thirds who thought so in both our surveys last year.

In contrast, the FTSE 250 is feeling more nervous with nearly two-thirds expecting some or significant damage, up slightly from 55% in winter 2016, and considerably up on the 26% in summer 2016.

Business likes certainty and, while the Brexit negotiations are underway, business confidence is likely to remain shaky until future trade arrangements become clearer. The mood among the FTSE 350 remains depressed as confidence in the UK economy hits a new low and Brexit causes increasing concern.

Diverse boards

The benefits of a balanced and well-integrated senior team are widely acknowledged, particularly when it comes to decision making. As the recently published report from ICSA and Henley Business School, 'Conflict and Tension in the Boardroom', points out:

'Diversity creates healthy tension, particularly in terms of thinking, skills and experience. This translates into an ability to improve decision making and provoke robust debate using challenge and insight, without conflict.'

Yet, despite the desire for more representative boards, which combine a varied range of experience, culture, talent and mindset, the progress remains disappointingly slow. For the last three years we have seen opinions on the extent to which boards are gender diverse firmly stuck at around 66%.

Answers to our other questions to measure diversity have also remained pretty consistent, although there has been some improvement in ethnic diversity.

Most of the respondents to this survey reported that their boards had discussed the Parker Review, which encourages more ethnic diversity and inclusion, and the Hampton-Alexander Review, which continues the drive towards gender balance, so it is to be hoped that further progress will be seen in future surveys.

A company's ability to improve diversity at senior level is in part connected to the breadth and depth of its talent pool. This time we asked not just what companies thought about the scope and adequacy of their executive pipeline, but how they were addressing any shortcomings.

It was disappointing to find that the 41% who felt their pipeline was insufficient did not seem to be implementing more sophisticated plans to resolve the situation. There is plenty of advice available to boards, nominations committees and HR departments, so we will continue to track progress in future surveys.


Worries about political risk have grown considerably compared with previous surveys. Two-thirds of respondents now rate political risk as increasing, up from 41% in winter last year and well ahead of reputation risk and social media risk. The most likely explanation here is, of course, the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations and any transitional arrangements which may follow.

Predictably enough, cyber risk is still causing the most concern. 85% of respondents believe that their exposure to cyber risk is increasing – a slight increase from 82% in summer 2016.

Boards are seemingly also getting to grips with risks in the supply chain, including their exposure to slavery and corruption risk. Virtually all (91%) of respondents have reviewed their exposure (up from 57% in summer 2016) and two-thirds believe that they have been successful in mitigating the risk, compared with 16% last year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions