CBI Financial Services survey: Brexit worries cause decline in optimism

A survey has revealed that optimism amongst UK financial services firms has dropped in the third quarter of 2018. Optimism about the business landscape has been on the decline almost every quarter since 2016, amid worries about the potential impact of Brexit.

We took part in a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and accountancy firm PwC which showed that the overall business volumes saw a slight increase in the three months to September, despite the level of business dropping slightly below expected levels. Finance houses, building societies and insurance have seen an increased amount of demand, whilst the banking sector remained stable. Employment growth has slowed significantly in the last quarter, with two-fifths of firms stating that they have been struggling to recruit and retain talent over the course of the year.

It’s clear from the results that concerns about the economy and Brexit have had an impact on optimism about the future of the financial services sector. There’s still uncertainty around the potential impact that Brexit will have on the UK economy. Due to the inevitable adjustment period that businesses will face, there’s a strong potential for a dip in business activity. There are also no guarantees that levels of business will stay the same for any sectors, so it’s crucial to have contingency plans in place as the issues caused by Brexit become more apparent. For our part, at 1pm, we are not seeing any slowdown in business volumes and we will be there in support of our current borrowers and new customers who may need financial support through any adjustment period that arises. We stand ready to provide or arrange the finance that SMEs and consumers may need.

The UK is known for its world-leading financial services, so it’s imperative to maintain this status after Brexit – focus should be turned to making sure our financial offerings remain one of the most attractive assets that we have to offer.