News

05th April 2022

RSM UK has launched the Middle Market Business Index (MMBI), the first economic index to focus solely on middle market* businesses in the UK, developed in partnership with leading data specialists Moody’s Analytics and The Harris Poll. There are currently 3,949 middle market businesses registered in the South East, making a significant contribution to economic growth and jobs in the region.

The quarterly index presents unique insight into the health of the middle market – the engine room for growth in the UK – whilst drawing on credible forward-looking indicators to deliver predictive economic insight over a six-month period.

The latest data** is the culmination of 15 months of robust primary research by the leading audit, tax and consulting firm. A quarterly survey of some 700 senior executives at middle market companies has helped gauge sentiment surrounding current and future business conditions.

The first-of-its-kind MMBI is backed by supporting in-depth insight from leading RSM UK economist Thomas Pugh. He comments: ‘The MMBI presents an exciting first for the UK marketplace – an opportunity to measure the health of the UK’s middle market. This research marks a particularly important milestone because, despite this segment of the market accounting for about a third of the entire UK economy, it has never benefitted from a specific benchmark to measure its health.’

The unique research offers businesses a set of rigorous and bespoke insights across a range of key indicators including revenues, profits, capital expenditure, hiring levels and input and output costs.

The latest MMBI findings demonstrated a fall from 139.6 in Q4 to 134.9 in Q1 as Omicron hit business optimism in the first quarter of the year. However, middle market businesses still remained optimistic. The data shows that inflation and labour shortages began to ease at the start of the year.  

Thomas Pugh continues: ‘The latest MMBI findings show a fall from Q4 to Q1 which was almost inevitable given the surge in COVID-19 cases, the reinstatement of restrictions on major parts of the economy and the dramatic increase in worker absences. But the Q1 score was still the second highest reading in the survey’s short tenure so the middle market continues to show resilience despite the hangover from Omicron.

‘The looming cost of living crisis and surging fuel prices which could be accelerated due to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, along with a tight labour market, provides a more challenging outlook for middle market businesses than any point since the last lockdown was lifted.

‘During times of rising prices, productivity can be the difference between stable and thinning margins. Over the past year, mid-market firms have ramped up investment in productivity -enhancing equipment, software and intellectual property, which means UK middle market businesses are well placed to prosper as the pandemic becomes endemic and absorb future economic shocks.’

Paul Anthony, RSM’s office managing partner in the South, added: ‘The launch of the MMBI is a significant milestone as we are focused on the middle market and we can now share the views of business leaders in that segment with our South East clients. The MMBI helps them through bringing valuable insight to help shape commercial decisions. The index also provides a voice for the middle market that will influence the focus of policy makers and industry as a whole.’   

For further information and to view the report visit https://mmbi.rsmuk.com