Growth back on the agenda for UK financial firms: industry survey

Sun Oct 5, 2014 7:10pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Growth is back on the agenda for Britain's financial services companies, which have been posting rising profits and adding staff in recent months, an industry survey showed on Monday.

Following the 2007-09 financial crisis, many of Britain's banks and financial services firms were forced to trim costs and cut jobs and cope with a raft of new regulations.

According to the latest quarterly review of the industry by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and consultancy PwC, firms may be starting to move on from the painful period of restructuring.

Business volumes grew at their fastest rate since 2007 in the quarter to September, while 60 percent of firms reported greater profits, the survey of 109 companies found.

That trend is expected to continue in the current quarter, with the majority of firms forecasting another period of rising volumes and profits.

Respondents said competition was among their main concerns for the coming year, which suggested companies were looking for opportunities to grow.

"The sector could be moving to a new phase in the recovery where firms are feeling more assured about the level of demand and are now shifting their gaze to competing for new customers and business," Rain Newton-Smith, CBI's director for economics, said in a statement that accompanied the report.

Separate research from recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said financial sector firms in London, home to around a third of the industry's workers, created 3,470 new jobs in September, 46 percent more than the same period last year.

Many of the new roles were in compliance and regulatory functions, and stronger equity markets have created a need for more dealmakers and front office staff.   Continued...

Buildings in the City of London (L) and Canary Wharf (R) are seen from The View gallery at the Shard, western Europe's tallest building, in London January 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett