Nearly 60% of company boards in the UK have not considered the impact a Brexit would have on their business, according to ICSA: The Governance Institute and The Core Partnership.

A study by ICSA found that just 41% of UK boards have considered the effects of the UK leaving the European Union, if a 'leave' vote was successful in June.

ICSA said respondents were split over what impact a Brexit would have on the UK and their business, with responses ranging from no impact, negative, little effect, unknown to ‘PANIC’. Opinion was divided as to whether or not EU regulation is out of sync with the UK’s business needs, but there is a general feeling that some of the blame lies with the UK for ‘gold plating’ EU regulation. SMEs seem to feel burdened by EU red tape the most.

Simon Osborne, chief executive of ICSA, said: “Whilst not all organisations operate within Europe, it is surprising that boards are not at least considering the knock-on effect that an exit could have on the underlying economy. If sterling goes into freefall this will have an impact regardless of whether or not they have import or export agreements with Europe.

“Boards really need to be thinking about some of the potential implications like staff supply, grants, access to markets and regulatory arbitrage now, whatever the sector. We will be covering the issue of Brexit in some detail in our next Boardroom Bellwether survey which is due to be published on 23 May, just one month before the referendum.”