With economic growth in the UK still stuttering in search of steady recovery, businesses are doing the natural thing: expanding into overseas markets to develop new opportunities and revenues. UK firms are continuing to increase net investment overseas with levels reaching £68.2 billion in 2011, the highest level since 2008. It’s an effective strategy too: net international earnings by UK firms stood at over £101 billion in 2011 – the highest level since records began in 1958 – with strong performance in Chinese and Indian markets.
However, doing business overseas can differ wildly from doing business at home. A range of issues - including the usual political, economic, supply chain, financial and legal factors - can affect the risk profile for your people, assets,interests and earnings. But depending on where you are developing new operations, that risk profile can also be affected by some seriously thorny threats: from bribery, corruption and the threat of terrorism or piracy - to protective security, intellectual property, cyber security, organised crime and human rights.
While UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) both offer resources for assessing overseas risk, it makes sense to talk to professional risk management experts who understand the local landscape in the precise detail you need to protect your international expansion.
Chris Leage, Director Global Accounts at Oval Insurance Broking, takes a practical look at the steps you can take to mitigate and simplify the risks you face when casting the net of your business overseas… cost effectively, efficiently, competitively and with confidence.