Forty four percent of respondents from 123 financial services companies said they were more optimistic about business conditions in their sector than three months ago, while 7% were less optimistic – the strongest level of optimism in the sector since 1999.
While jobs cuts have continued in the last six months – just last week Friends Provident announced potential cuts from its direct sales force – overall more respondents expect to increase jobs than reduce them.
CBI chief economist Ian McCafferty said the results showed that a recovery in financial services is taking hold, against the background of an improving stock market and global economy. ‘The first expected increase in financial services employment for more than two years and the end of the downward slide in expected IT investment are further indications that a real turnaround is underway,’ he said.
John Hitchins, UK banking leader at PwC, said ‘All the sectors most closely exposed to the stock market have reported a growth in business with private individuals. The return of private investors to the market is an important signal of recovery.’
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