We have come so far but we still have some way to go and the road is bumpy!
It is quite incredible that a year ago we had no vaccines, very little certainty and an economy that was very much still in lock-down. We were facing a prolonged recession, further waves of the virus and a very tough winter. Today the country is almost fully vaccinated (bar our children), we have opened up and enjoyed a long summer and business is very much back. I am under no illusion that all is well as I write this because our Covid cases are sky-high, but the vaccines are working, our hospitals have not been over-run, the death rate has been contained and our elderly are much safer than they were.
But we are still being held back in other ways and it looks like it will be a couple of years until we can say the pandemic is behind us. Businesses cannot secure the staff they need or the raw materials, inflation has jumped, taxes are rising, prices are rising, supermarket shelves are increasingly empty, petrol stations have run dry, and we have an energy crisis on our hands. We still have businesses that are just starting to recover and in some sectors they are still suffering. We also have different approaches to easing and managing Covid restrictions across the UK and our politicians are in some cases dragging their heels, not helping businesses and being all to focused on their own political agendas.
Despite these challenges I am very optimistic that we will pull through this and that the year ahead will be a positive one. Yes, we still have Covid all around us and a winter to get through, but we now have to live with Covid, adapt as a result of it and move on. We need to be able to shake people’s hands again - even if it means the sensible ones among us will keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in their pockets! We have seen record amounts of investment and M&A activity this year at a much higher level than we could have ever imagined. After such a difficult year in 2020 it is no surprise that the number of deals are up as part of clearing the lock-down ‘backlogs’. But we don’t see this activity stopping anytime soon and the UK looks to be very well placed to benefit and drive forwards. A lot of activity relates to a change of strategy by many to embrace the effects of the pandemic - to adopt new technology and go digital and to accommodate many changes in the behaviour of individuals and also businesses that are now permanent. We have a climate crisis on our hands and the world is now at a state of ‘Code Red’ where action is now critical. The impact of Brexit is still being worked through, many countries still need to get vaccinated and our global leaders continue to focus on their own strategy of national interest as part of an increasingly volatile global environment. All of these things mean more change and more opportunity for those that can look for it and seize it.
At MBM we have been working very hard to help our clients with these many challenges and opportunities, to provide the necessary advice and to complete large numbers of transactions. It has been a fantastic team effort and I am so proud of our team who have at times had to work long hours to help deal with what can only be described as a ‘wave of work’ over the summer. Some of the reported transactions we have been working on are set out in our iDeals section. With a weak pound it is no surprise that many transactions involve an international buyer or investor.
This summer we founded and launched an international network of tech law firms called World Tech Legal and am delighted that we have 14 initial members at the point of launch. The network has already been supporting clients with their international business requirements and we expect the number of members within the network to grow significantly over the next twelve months.
Our business has now moved to full agile working, we have moved to new offices in London and Edinburgh, we have been investing in technology, in the development of our staff and have been recruiting at pace to expand our team and support capabilities. I am pleased to note that despite these difficult times the firm continues to grow to support the growth of our clients and our growing client base. There are a number of new faces in the firm and I hope you get a chance to meet and work with them soon. We very much appreciate your help and support and look forward to helping you on your entrepreneurial journey.
If you have any feedback or would like to get in touch about our services, our team and support arrangements then please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take care, keep healthy, continue to be resilient and put your best foot forward.
Stuart Hendry, Senior Partner