UK’s financial services continue to build their competitive edge

THE FINANCIAL sector in the UK is becoming increasingly competitive, fuelled by a surge in business volumes as the economy heats up, according to a report released by TheCityUK today.

The professional body announced the first back-to-back quarterly improvements in competitiveness in two years, with rising business volumes, improved credit conditions, and a third quarter of improvement anticipated.

Eleven of the indicators used to calculate the competitiveness of British finance improved in the three months to June, while only five worsened.

The report drew attention to the recent increase in the trade surplus for financial services, up to £13.3bn in the second quarter, from £11.7bn at the same time a year ago, and praised the recent reduction in the top rate of income tax, down to 45 per cent.

The research noted that London is still the top city for international business according to the Global Financial Centres Index.

European IPOs also rose in value in the second quarter, with TheCityUK also estimating an increase in mergers and acquisitions from $70bn (£45.22bn) in the first quarter for western Europe to $100.3bn (£64.79bn) in the second.

Chris Cummings, the group’s chief executive, commented on the findings: “The UK’s economic recovery is continuing to gather pace. This is leading to increased confidence within the financial sector, and we expect the upwards trend in competitiveness to continue in the third quarter of the year.”