June 23rd 2016 - The UK referendum on leaving the European Union, the result shocking the rest of Europe and the World and sending markets in turmoil. Then on November 8th, 2016, the world was stunned to learn Donald Trump was going to be the next President of the United States of America. Both results were unexpected and the consequences will change the world as we know it.
The UK Prime Minister Teresa May has now triggered Article 50 to leave the European Union and the Brexiteer's rejoice with cries of freedom and gaining "our country back". Whether you agree or don't agree with Brexit one thing is for sure, there is great uncertainty in the markets and this will be the case for the next two to three years. Coupled with Donald Trump as President of the USA with his intention to put “America first” and Asia’s focus on trade liberalisation and globalisation will have a dramatic impact on trade for years to come. Ayhan Kose the World Bank’s director for development prospects says “Because of the outsized role the United States plays in the world economy, changes in policy direction may have global ripple effects. More expansionary US fiscal policies could lead to stronger growth in the United States and abroad over the near-term, but changes to trade or other policies could offset those gains.”
So what's the effect of these two results on business in Spain? To be honest we saw deals collapse on the referendum result as the initial shock and uncertainty was too much for clients to comprehend when they were about to sever ties with the UK and purchase a business in Spain, and we totally understand this. Enquiry levels dropped and as a business we saw levels drop to the recession days again, all very worrying. However there seems to be a silver lining which is very interesting. We are receiving numerous enquiries from the USA, we always have but not in the numbers we have seen recently, and speaking to clients the reason is the "Trump effect". The clients we have spoken to don't want to be a part of Trump's new America and they are looking for a safe alternative in Spain. The UK market for us seems to have levelled and we are sure on one of the reasons for this is weak Sterling, clients are waiting for a better exchange rate. However we strongly believe that there will be a "Brexit effect" and people will want to move away from the UK and come to Spain to start a new life and hopefully be a European citizen.
The world is changing and this offers new challenges to businesses and we must grasp these and turn negatives into positives.
Most people don't seem to realise there are better deals to be had when dealing in foreign exchange. The majority of people go to their bank simply because they haven't researched alternatives or because they like to be in their comfort zone and probably don't like change. This is a strange conundrum for me because we deal with people who are changing their lives and have just ultimately made their biggest decision of their lives to emigrate to a new country and start a new life. Then why after making this decision go back to being "comfortable" with their own bank when their are better options for foreign exchange? Strange don't you think.....?
With Sterling under pressure after Brexit it matters more than ever to get the best exchange rate possible and your bank isn't the place to get it.
Here at Business Broker Spain we recommend Infinity International for your currency needs, with over 9 years experience they are fully regulated and have 9 offices in 4 countries they not only offer a personal service but will offer you a better rate than your "comfortable bank!" The managers of Infinity International will help you with setting up a bank account here in Spain and because they have 1000's of clients they can get you fantastic deals with the bank, for example no charges and no set up fees.
When I moved to Spain many years ago I never had the luxury of this service and I have to tell you it cost me a lot of money! Our advice is listen to people who have been there and done it, and as our client we would only recommend services that we know will look after you and help you in every step of the way in your big move. So take our advice and contact Infinity International for an impartial chat and see how they can help you save money and beat the "comfortable bank!"
Business Broker Spain and everyone associated with our business has worked incredibly hard over the years to become the leading business brokers in Spain, we have experienced the boom and we have seen the harsh realities of a crippling recession that gripped the whole world.
I think Business Broker Spain can speak for the majority of expat business owners here in Spain and probably in the whole of Europe of our shock at the result of the referendum on the 24th June. Things have changed and not for the better, we have seen Sterling hit a 31 year low against the Dollar and we have seen Sterling drop over 8% against the Euro.
80% of our clients purchasing businesses here in Spain are from the UK and we are bracing ourselves for what are now very uncertain times after what was our best 6 months of trading on record, confidence had returned to the market, businesses were selling at rate seen in the boom of 2005/2006.
Confidence plays a massive part in any life changing purchase and non more so than deciding to emigrate to another country and purchase a business, and we only hope this is quickly restored to levels pre-Brexit.
I for one class myself as European and my family are happy and settled in Spain with the Spanish people welcoming us into their community, it's been a positive and life changing experience and one I wouldn't change for anything. My daughter attends Spanish school, speaks three languages fluently at 10 years old, and we want her to grow up in a free Europe where cultures can mix and learn from each other and our only hope is that somehow Brexit will not deny other young people this fabulous opportunity.
Our advice for anyone contemplating the move to Spain and purchasing a business to continue with your dream, follow it and achieve it and we will help you every step of the way. It won't be easy, we all know that but the rewards are there to be achieved, plan carefully and please do contact us for any advice. There is life after Brexit, there has to be!
Business Broker Spain
We are proud to welcome on board two new Associate Partners, Alejandro Scholtz who is managing the Malaga and Almeria territory and Kevin Cook who now manages the Costa Blanca South.
Both have a wide experience in business and will be great assets to Business Broker Spain, Alejandro has previously worked in Miami, Florida and has moved across the Atlantic with his wife for the new challenge.
Kevin, has been on the Orihuela Costa for a number of years running his own property business and he sees the fantastic opportunity to manage his own territory.
After some intense classroom and field training both partners are now active receiving continued support from Head Office, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish them the best for their new and exciting futures with Business Broker Spain.
Head Office has also relocated to new premises in the heart of Javea's Old Town, 10 Calle Arquitecto Urteaga. This is a perfect location for us to manage our operation and greet clients.
The Old Town is steeped in history and when clients do visit us we love nothing more than showing them the "pueblo" and having a wander down the ancient narrow streets to gab a coffee.
Easter in Spain or as the Spanish call it Semana Santa is probably the biggest and most important event of the year. The Spanish Catholic church celebrates this time of year with Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) and end with Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). People in every town and city get involved in processions and celebrations, it's as if all Spain comes alive!
Celebrations vary from town to town but essentially they are celebrating life and culture with music and dance in a religious manner and it's some spectacle. Processions wind through the streets carrying their religious symbols and icons, with huge crowds watching on in a very emotional state. We strongly recommend that if you are panning to visit Spain over the festive period that you witness the solemn masses and processions, it's an experience that will stay with you for a very long time.
Cities such as Seville for example demonstrate how the "cofradías" (religious brotherhoods) manage to withstand the colossal weight of elaborately decorated statues of the Virgin Mary as they parade through the narrow streets of the old town. Semena Santa in Lorca is very original, the processions include figures and scenes from the bible and from ancient civilisations.
Palm Sunday - Domingo de Ramos
Holy Thursday - Jueves Santo
Good Friday - Santo Entierro
Easter Sunday - El Domingo de Resurreccion
Spanish Terminology for Easter
This is the main ritual practiced in Spain at Easter. The town's streets are used as a grand stage for religious and passionate displays of devotion to Christ, residents dress as members of ancient brotherhoods and parade through the town.
This is a traditional Easter ritual that can include a procession of giants, monsters and devil like creatures.
These are made of straw and sometimes made to resemble famous people, these dolls are burned in the streets.
Spanish for 'Holy Week'.
The name given to the people that carry the floats with the religious statues on. A 'Costal' is a small cushion often carried and used to stop the float causing sores when being carried long distances. These floats are immensely heavy and can weigh up to 6 tons.
Domingo de Ramos
Palm Sunday. The first of the Easter Masses and processions. Palms are carried through the town. The palms are used to symbolise the palms that people threw on the road in front of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. People carry small items made of woven palm which are often later burned. The ashes may be used in ceremonies on Ash Wednesday.
Procesion del Silencio
The Procession of Silence which is held on Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday).
The Holy Burial, honoured on Viernes Santo (Holy Friday).
El Domingo de Resurreccion
Easter Sunday on which everyone goes to church and celebrates the resurrection of Christ.
These are people who follow the floats whose appearance could almost be confused with that of the Klu Klux Clan. The cone shaped head gear that is worn is actually due to the belief that it will bring them closer to the heavens.
A traditional Easter snack which consists of slices of bread soaked in a mixture of whisked eggs and milk then fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sugar. (Cooked similar to French toast).
La Mona de Pascua
A traditional Easter cake, with origins in the 15th century. These vary considerably and are often highly decorated, the shops and supermarket shelves are full with them.
If you ever spend Christmas in Spain one of the first things you will notice is that it isn't commerial as other western countries. There is a hardly a fairy light or Christmas tree to be seen until mid December, and the town and city centres showcase nativity scenes known as Belénes which depict the life in the village where baby Jesus was born. These Belénes always include the Three Kings, Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
You may have heard of El Gordo (the fat one), Spain's national lottery. Town's and villages purchase tickets hoping to win the very large prize and the Spanish are glued to their TV's all day watching the draw which is drawn over a period of many hours.
Christmas Eve known as Nochebuena (Goodnight) is regarded as the most important family gathering of the year. Families get together for a meal to celebrate the occasion with fine Spanish wines and Cava being consumed. After the meal children will possibly receive a small gift, or this is given on Chritmas Day, however the 6th January is the main day for present giving. Christmas Day is usually a quiet day with families meeting for a walk and a long lunch.
Boxing Day as know it isn't celebrated in Spain but on the 28th December the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) the Spanish play practical jokes on each other just like our April Fool's Day
New Year's Eve is known as NocheVieja and as you would expect it's a massive celebration! In the city centres people gather to celebrate the New Year in, bars restaurants are full! On the stroke of midnight the Spanish eat 12 grapes one on each chime of the bell with Cava which brings good luck for the New Year. Having tried this, there is definitely an art to eating all 12 in time!
New Year's Day as you would expect is low key, however on the Costa's there are the expat's partaking in the traditional New Year's Day swim in the sea, most are raising money for charity and the cold sea certianly is a cure for a hangover.
On the 5th January processions take place throughout Spain, the Three Kings are paraded through town and there are floats with sweets being thrown for the children.
Children wake up on the 6th January to the Feast of the Epiphany (Día de los Reyes Magos) this is when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem with their gifts, excited children in Spain wake to presents as we do from Father Christmas on Christmas Day.