Gloom lifting, say finance professionals

Marion Dakers
OVER four-fifths of finance professionals believe the global economy is improving, but many are sceptical about lasting changes in the financial system once the recession is over, according to a survey conducted by business lawyers Norton Rose.

Seventy per cent of the 125 financial professionals questioned felt the financial landscape had been changed forever when questioned in April 2007. Now, only 51 per cent predict fundamental changes, with the rest forecasting business as usual. However, 81 per cent saw signs that the global economy is recovering.

The survey also showed a jump in faith in Asian economies, with 87 per cent of respondents believing China will lead the way to recovery, compared with 38 per cent in April 2009. Over two-thirds also expected to see a permanent shift in economic power from west to east.

Most predicted a swift return to liquidity in the global banking system, as 64 per cent of those questioned agreed that liquidity was already back or would return by September 2010.

James Bateson, Head of Financial Institutions at Norton Rose, said: “The mood of respondents in our fifth survey is noticeably more upbeat by comparison to previous surveys and the sense of optimism that pervades the survey suggests that many believe we have indeed reached a turning point in the crisis.

“There is a growing recognition among many that there has been a definite (and perhaps irreversible) increase in the influence of the east as a consequence of the crisis.”

Opinion was split on the value of global regulation. Sixty-two per cent of respondents agreed that the global financial crisis was caused by a failure to enforce existing rules, rather than inadequate regulation as a whole. Almost two-thirds (66 per cent) believed a move to a global regulatory standard was necessary, yet 61 per cent thought worldwide regulations would be unworkable because it would be too hard to get agreement.