lunes, 7 de octubre de 2013

Rise in optimism among financial services firms - Herald Scotland

That was the highest since the 61% recorded in the report from December 1996.

Catrin Thomas, financial services partner at PwC in Scotland, said: "Buoyed by signs of a steady and gradual recovery in the UK economy, levels of optimism and confidence across the financial services are continuing to rise - a trend that's also being mirrored in other business sectors.

"Our latest survey reflects a strong focus on organic growth across many financial services sectors, particularly in relation to IT investment, strengthening digital capability, infrastructure and product development.

"This is partly being driven by an increasing demand from customers for clarity, simplicity and reliability in their dealings with financial services - from banks to insurance - with other industry groups already setting a high bar in customer service for others to follow."

The research - conducted in August and September - said business volumes had been lower mainly because of the business banking sector which saw declines from industrial, commercial and overseas companies. Volumes with private individuals were stable and work with financial institutions the only area to grow.

However, profitability increased for the fourth consecutive quarter with most financial services businesses anticipating further gains in the coming months.

Volumes are expected to recover strongly while costs are predicted to fall meaning profits are likely to surge ahead.

There will be more jobs added in the sector with changing business strategies, stronger demand and complying with regulations highlighted as the main drivers of recruitment. The researchers estimated around 10,000 jobs were created in the third quarter of the year with a further 2000 to be added in the final three months of 2013.

Ms Thomas added: "We also expect to see headcount among sectors such as life assurance and investment management, which have a strong presence in Scotland, increase in the coming months as businesses gear up for renewed growth.

"For many businesses, however, the issue of regulation and its related cost burden, combined with an increasingly competitive marketplace, remain a source of uncertainty and concern.

"Nevertheless, the mood appears to be positive with the search for growth opportunities continuing unabated. Hopefully we'll see the full effect of the UK's economic recovery and this organic push reflected in performance and business volumes as we head into 2014."

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