The latest survey of UK financial services firms by the CBI and PricewaterhouseCooper has found that many plan to invest in IT in the coming year.
Respondents said that their levels of business were now only slightly below normal, which the CBI described as “the best result since the financial crisis began in September 2007”.
The sector’s operating costs are also on the increase, the survey found. “Total operating costs … increased at the fastest pace since September 2007 [while] average operating costs per transaction rose slightly, ending an eighteen-month sequence of falling costs. Both types of cost are predicted to rise again next quarter.”
The survey found that firms in the sector are planning to invest more in information technology in the coming year. This was especially true for two subsectors: banking, where business levels were ‘stubbornly’ flat but a steep decline in the value of bad debts brought about an increase in profit, and insurance.
“Encouraged by increasing business volumes and profitability, general insurers are looking to invest again in staff, marketing and IT,” commented PwC’s insurance leader Mark Stephen. “Reaching new customers will be vital to general insurers’ growth plans and companies are investing heavily to attract new business.”