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03/02/2011

Steady increase for financial sector in 2010

The 85th CBI/Price Waterhouse Cooper Financial Services Survey – December 2010 indicates that, whilst levels of activity remain below normal, volume of business continued to recover in the last quarter of 2010 and is now picking up after a slow start in late 2009/early 2010.

The report indicates that the majority of financial services sectors grew and expect activity to further increase in 2011. However, despite bank confidence higher now than at any time since 2005, bank and building society income declined in the quarter and business levels are below normal for most. Activity here is likely to be subdued in 2011 due in part to weak retail demand, although commercial demand is expected to pick up.

Most sectors of the industry appear to be encouraged and whilst cost control is still a priority, some are now spending cautiously. Most of the increase appears to be on regulatory compliance, an increasing burden for the industry, and whilst numbers employed fell in general during the quarter and further falls are expected in 2011 in some sectors, it is not a blanket spread and some are spending on recruitment. However, the industry remains cautions here, and appears to be concentrating on recruiting in specialised areas such as compliance and risk management.

The report indicates that the slow but steady improvement in the industry is consistent with the improving outlook for the UK economy, but that there are mixed views about the outlook for business over the next twelve months. Whilst there is variation between the sectors, on the positive side, it is expected that impairment levels will continue to fall, aggregate profitability will continue to increase and new products and businesses will be launched. However, the outlook is balanced by continued concern about the cost of regulation, reduced marketing plans, and fragile demand.

For help and advice on recruiting financial specialists, contact Caroline Naylor at Sheffield financial recruitment specialists, CRA Consulting on 0114 241 8030, caroline@craconsultants.com. www.craconsultants.com