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January 11, 2010    

Survey reveals pessimism in financial services sector

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by Kay Murchie

A quarterly survey of the UK’s financial services sector by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed that firms remain cautious in their outlook.

According to Ian McCafferty, chief economic adviser at the CBI: “The bounce in UK financial services activity over the past six months is not expected to last as we enter 2010.

“Firms see their business volumes falling back again, with no further improvement in profitability over the next three months,” he adds.

The survey found that the number of financial services companies expecting a reduction in business volumes in the first quarter was 13% more than those anticipating a rise - the most negative expectation since December 2008.

Meanwhile, almost one third (32%) of firms said that volumes rose while 28% said they fell in the last quarter.

John Hitchins, UK banking leader, comments: “The industry as a whole expects the coming quarter to be pretty tough going.”

However, “they think things will get better in the medium term, and that the worst is over,” concluded Hitchins.

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