Sarah Holland is chief operating officer of RiskEye, an online reputation protection service.
She says she faces difficulties in scaling the business up in the UK. “Even with the 12-point steps that were announced the other day, there’s still a level of missing clarity and transparency around the actual steps that are going to be taken by the UK Government,” Holland told the Sunday Independent.
“We see it as a real potential problem, almost to the point of not really understanding the depth and the level of the problem it’s going to present to us in terms of lack of freedom of movement, potential barriers to trade and potential barriers to the parts of our business that are regulated.”
Holland said she was concerned that barriers to freedom of movement might make it difficult to move skilled staff from Ireland to the UK in order to help cope with an increase in scale.
“Our main problems are the scale issues: how will we move? How will we keep our products? We’re lucky at the moment that we have our product regulated within the UK and Ireland separately … but who’s to say that those rules and regulations won’t change within the UK once they withdraw fully from the EU? How will that then affect our ability to trade our product outside of the UK and then within Europe and beyond?
“It’s frustrating and it’s presenting a grave set of challenges to us that we really can’t plan for or know the answers to because we have no real lead or direction from the British government.
“Even if you might think that the barriers that are potentially going to be put in place are potentially going to be a problem for you, you don’t know that for sure. You can’t therefore make a plan one way or the other.
“At the moment we have to carry on with the intention that the UK is potentially our biggest market within Europe, that it’s insurance heavy. Part of our product is insurance, and there’s a recognition in the UK that risk and reputation management is one of the highest risks.
“It makes perfect logical sense for us to be in that market and to expand within that market, but we’re prohibited from knowing how our ability to get in there and grow as we’ve anticipated will be affected.”