Finance firms see return to boom in 2014

Chris Papadopoullos
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FINANCE companies are enjoying their strongest expansion since 2007, with firms reporting rising business volumes, increased profitability and greater employment, according to survey results released today.

The survey of 109 firms, conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Confederation of British Industry, shows that 60 per cent of firms surveyed saw an increase in business volumes in the three months to Sept­em­ber, compared to 11 per cent rep­orted a decline.

Looking ahead, 63 per cent of businesses expect volumes to increase with eight per cent anticipating a slowdown.

Profit wise, 60 per cent reported an increase compared to only eight per cent who saw a slide.

There was also a marked increase in spending on training and employees. But firms expect slow their hiring going forward with many concerned about a skills shortage.

The most impressive sub-sector performance was among banking, securities trading and investment man­age­ment.

Profits are high in each of the sectors and are expected to stay so going forward into 2015.

“The 100th CBI/PwC Financial Ser­vices Survey paints a picture of im­proving confidence and profitability. There is an increasing focus on new services and technology-enabled growth,” said Kevin Burrowes, UK fin­ancial services leader at PwC.

“Time will tell if established banks are underestimating their need for digital capabilities as we see a continued influx of new entrants without the chains of legacy systems, meaning that tougher competition is an increasing concern. There are hints of a new ‘war for talent’ and tighter monetary policy in 2015 could also pose a challenge,” he said.