Optimism seeps back to the City’s financial services firms

Marion Dakers
THE financial services industry in London showed signs of optimism in 2009, with 39 per cent of businesses claiming to be more optimistic about their prospects this year, compared to 23 per cent in 2008.

An improvement in sales was one reason for cheer, with 94 per cent of respondents reporting either stable or increased sales expectations in the next 12 months, compared to only 65 per cent in 2008’s Smith & Williamson annual financial services survey.

Last year saw a jump in redundancies with 39 per cent saying headcount fell, after reporting relatively stable staffing numbers in 2008. Almost 90 per cent are hopeful about maintaining or increasing the number of jobs in the next 12 months.

Firms thought regulation, changes in UK tax law and consumer confidence were the factors most likely to affect them in the coming year.

Natasha Lee at Smith & Williamson said: “These findings are consistent with industry optimism as firms become more confident of economic recovery but more concerned with regulation and legislation restricting the speed and extent to which this can be achieved.”