Press Release

UK companies failing to keep check on global operations

12 March 2020

London, 12th March 2020 - The need for UK companies to get a firmer grip on their international operations was thrown into the spotlight after a TMF Group survey revealed less than half are confident that all their global entities are compliant or adding value.

TMF Group, a leading provider of business administration services, polled over 1,500 senior decision makers with entity management responsibilities across seven countries – the UK, USA, Brazil, China, Singapore, India and France – to get a better understanding of some of the complexities facing multinational companies.

It revealed less than a fifth (19%) of UK companies evaluate their global entities on an annual basis to check they are all adding value and operationally efficient. Those with their headquarters based in Brazil and China have the best track record, but only marginally, with 28% saying they carry out checks across their organisation each year.

On average, 15% of UK companies carry out evaluations every 2-3 years (compared with a global average of 18%), 12% every 5 years (14% globally) and a worrying 10% said they believe they have never done a global entities audit (8% globally). Companies in the US and Singapore have the worst record in that regard, with 12% in each saying they have never carried out an audit.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the irregular approach taken by so many, less than half of UK participants that took part in the survey (44%) said they were either ‘very’ or ‘reasonably’ confident of being fully compliant with local laws and regulations across all entities, leaving many at risk of potential fines and reputational damage. Chinese multinationals were the most confident at 55% – compared with 48% globally.

Of the 253 UK companies that took part in the research, 54% said they have more than 20 legal entities across different countries and jurisdictions, with 7% saying they have more than 100 (compared with 51% and 8% globally, respectively).

“International expansion can bring lucrative rewards for UK businesses, not least market growth and diversification,” said Mark Weil, CEO of TMF Group. “But keeping on top of all your entities, particularly in an increasingly complex global market, plays an important part in delivering on that success. 

“The risks of failing to comply with international regulations are growing as new rules are introduced and governments step up enforcement in the face of public scrutiny. This research should serve as an important wake-up call for multinationals who haven’t got a proper grip of their global entity management.”


About the research: The research was conducted by Censuswide, with a minimum 250 respondents in each of the following markets; UK, USA, Brazil, China, Singapore, India and France. Participants were all business decision makers who make decisions on regulation and compliance within multinational companies. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About TMF Group: TMF Group is the leading provider of administrative support services for international business expansion. With some 7,800 experts – in-house, on the ground in over 80 locations – and is the only company worldwide to provide the combination of fiduciary, company secretarial, accounting and tax and HR and payroll services essential to the success of businesses investing, operating and expanding across multiple jurisdictions. We know how to unlock access to some of the world’s most attractive markets – no matter how complex – swiftly, safely and efficiently. That’s why over 60% of the Fortune Global 500 and FTSE 100 and almost half of the top 300 private equity firms use us. 

Insights and updates delivered to your inbox.

Sign up now