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Financial sector 'less at risk from systemic shock'

18/06/14

A new survey has found firms are less worried about a major shock to the financial system in the UK.

The UK financial sector is less at risk from a systemic shock than was previously the case, a new poll has found.

Nearly two- thirds (64 per cent) of respondents to the Bank of England Systemic Risk Survey for the first half of 2014 said the chances of a major incident that would shake the system was unlikely or very unlikely, up nine per cent from the previous survey in October 2013.

The poll found 28 per cent felt such a shock was also unlikely in the period between one and three years from now, 12 per cent higher than at the last poll.

Of the 72 senior executives responsible for issues like financial risk management, the level of confidence in the UK financial system remains fairly low, with only 24 per cent being very confident, albeit five per cent up on the previous figure. 69 per cent were fairly confident in it - down eight per cent - but the number who were quite or very unsure about the safety and stability of the system showed a rise of three per cent, to seven per cent.

The key risks tended to be seen still in terms of economic problems, geopolitical issues and sovereign issues - the latter tending to focus on uncertainties about the eurozone. An economic crisis was cited by 61 per cent as a major threat, albeit six per cent fewer than in October last year.

By contrast, geopolitical uncertainty soared to 57 per cent on the back of the Ukraine crisis. Both fears of a sovereign crisis and a fall in house prices were listed as a key risk by 40 per cent.

The overall level of confidence that the financial sector is reasonably safe and secure from another shock like the credit crunch is the highest since the survey began in 2008.

What role geopolitics or sovereignty play in future perceptions of risk may be subject to change, with Ukraine having elected a new president in Petro Poroshenko and the Eurozone continuing its economic recovery.

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