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2019 London Technical Program

Date & Time February 27, 2019 - February 28, 2019
Venue Herbert Smith Freehills LLP Exchange House, Primrose St London EC2A 2EG United Kingdom

Schedule of Events

Taking place just one month before the proposed date of withdrawal, RICS & CRE (European Chapter) Brexit Conference will take stock of what is known and what is yet undecided about the UK’s departure from the European Union. Delegates will join speakers drawn from the worlds of economics, finance and law, and the professions of the built and natural environment. Taking place in the heart of the City of London, debate will centre on the probable economic consequences of Brexit for the UK, the 27 remaining member states and the bloc’s global trading partners. Many vital questions about the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the wider world remain unanswered while Brussels has sought to avert the risk of Brexit contagion. Attend this conference and join the discussion on the defining issue of our time.

28 February 2019


Registration and coffee


Chair’s Opening Remarks

Jonathan Harris, CRE, CBE, Past-President, RICS and Vice-Chair, CRE European Chapter


Opening keynote address: A new and everchanging political landscape

Brexit is the most vexed question in contemporary British politics. The national political settlement is undergoing a period of fundamental, and perhaps permanent, reconfiguration. The day’s opening keynote session will focus on the seismic political impact of the 2016 referendum, considering historical milestones on the road to Brexit and possible parliamentary scenarios in the aftermath.

Baron Jonathan Hill of Oareford, formerly European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union


Economists’ question time

Ten years on from the global financial crash, the economic hardships that many believe underpinned the vote to leave the European Union show little sign of easing. The overwhelming consensus among experts is that Brexit will cause further damage to the UK’s economy. Taking a macro view of the short, middle and long-term future, this panel discussion will assess best and worst-case scenarios and evaluate the credibility of the government’s recent claim that the age on austerity is over.


Hans Vrensen, CRE, Managing Director – Head of Research and Strategy, AEW

Introductory address

Vicky Pryce, Economist and Business Consultant

Panelists will include

Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist, RICS; Walter Boettcher, Chief Economist – Director of Research and Forecasting, Colliers International; Petr Barton, Chief Economist, Natland Group; Warwick Lightfoot, Head of Economics and Social Policy, Policy Exchange


Networking refreshment break


Legal question time

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act received Royal Assent in June 2018, but alignment of UK and EU law will continue for the duration of any transitionary period post-March 29th. The exact amount of current UK Law that originated in Brussels is disputed, but estimates place the figure somewhere between 30% and 70%. Clearly, the task of converting this tranche of legislation will be timely. This session will look at the practicalities of such a gargantuan undertaking, with a particular focus on areas of law directly affecting the professions of the built and natural environments.

Moderated by

Peter Cosmetatos, Chief Executive Officer, CREFC Europe

Panelists will include

Paul Butcher, Brexit Director, Herbert Smith Freehills; Dorothy Livingston, Consultant – Competition, Regulation and Trade, Herbert Smith Freehills; Jeremy Walden, Regional Head of Practice – Real Estate UK and EMEA, Herbert Smith Freehills; Gavin Williams, Partner – Corporate, Herbert Smith Freehills


Networking lunch


Real estate investors’ question time

Uncertainty over the likelihood, date and nature of the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union, coupled with rising interest rates and inflation, and a potential exodus of firms currently headquartered in London, is driving a decline in investment in UK real estate. In this session, representatives of some of the world’s largest institutional investors will share their concerns and causes for optimism around the sector.

Moderated by:

Sue Forster, Chief Executive, Investment Property Forum

Introductory address: Stephanie McMahon, Head of Research, BNP Paribas

Panellists will include:

Paul Tebbit, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager – UK Property Fund, BlackRock; Phil Clark, Head of Property Investment, Kames Capital; Nick Chatzitsolis, CRE, Managing Director, CBRE-AXIES Greece; Tom Claridge, Executive Director, Julius Baer; Jon Neale, Director – Head of Research, JLL


Networking refreshment break


Closing keynote address: The European future – a project in peril?

The UK’s vote to leave the European Union is just one piece in an increasingly complex geopolitical puzzle. The threat of contagion is apparent across the continent, with the anti-EU populist wave breaking on shores as diverse as Hungary, Sweden and – perhaps most significantly – founding member-state Italy. Angela Merkel’s decision not to seek re-election in 2021 has thrown a shade of doubt over the future political direction of the bloc’s largest economy; meanwhile, French President Macron’s catastrophic domestic approval ratings have further emboldened the country’s already resurgent far-right and far-left. Closer to home, the two-decade long era of peace in Northern Ireland has never seemed in such precarious health. Can Europe survive these challenges to remain a guardian of liberal, enlightenment values in an era seemingly defined by uncertainty, disorder and disruption?

John Plender, Columnist, Financial Times


Chair’s closing remarks

Tomas Ctibor, CRE, Chair, CRE European Chapter