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UK financial sector 'becoming increasingly competitive'

19/08/13

A new report has suggested the UK's financial sector is becoming increasingly competitive as the economy begins to recover from its ongoing slump and business volumes improve across the country.

Professional body TheCityUK, which consists of a number of different organisations all working to drive growth and positivity in the financial services industry, revealed that the first back-to-back quarterly improvements in confidence have been seen for two years.

With other research bodies also making positive noises about the state of the British economy and pundits cautiously predicting increased growth in the coming six months, accountants and other sector experts could see the opportunities available to them expand.

Chris Cummings, TheCityUK's chief executive, told City AM: "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."

Eleven of the metrics used to gauge competitiveness in the sector looked better in Q2, while only five worsened. It is anticipated that business volumes are to rise and credit conditions to improve in the next three months.

According to the Global Financial Centres Index, London remains the world's most important international business hub - while counterparts such as Hong Kong and Tokyo have made great strides in recent years, the English capital has not yet lost all of its lustre.

One issue that has been affecting financial markets in Europe is the debate over the UK's position in the EU.

While this is an emotive and politically-charged issue, TheCityUK has urged financial services professionals to work on an evidence-based attitude when considering the importance of EU membership.

According to a recent study from the body, the EU is the single greatest importer of the UK's financial services and a major reason London has retained its prestigious status.

"The UK has a leading share of trading in many EU financial markets including OTC derivatives trading, foreign exchange turnover, hedge funds assets and management of private equity funds," concluded Mr Cummings.

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