Upbeat UK asset managers buck trend for Brexit gloom

UK asset managersUK asset and wealth managers are confident in the future, reporting rising optimism amid robust demand, a survey found.

According to the Confederation of British Industry/ PwC financial services survey the sector’s positivity is not mirrored across the rest of the financial services community, where sentiment deteriorated in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017, rounding off two years of flat or falling optimism.

The number of investment managers optimistic about overall business in their sector was up 11% compared to the previous quarter, compared to a 22% decrease across the rest of the financial services sector.

Investment managers made up eight of the 92 total respondents.

They also reported that the level of business remained well above normal, while the overall level of business across financial services was reported as fairly flat.

There was robust volume growth in the asset and wealth management industry - but for a third quarter running, the sector took a cautious approach to volumes of upcoming business. Forecasts for future business between January and the end of March remain subdued.

As with the previous quarter, the survey revealed sustained positive sentiment in overall profitability and the value of fees, steady performance in business from financial institutions and private individuals.

Alongside virtually all financial services firms, investment managers viewed the impact of Brexit uncertainty as the most serious threat to the UK’s position as a leading global financial centre.

Elizabeth Stone, UK asset and wealth management leader at PwC, said: “Despite the continued uncertainty around Brexit, it’s encouraging to see the Q4 survey reflects asset and wealth managers’ confidence in the future and their commitment to driving investment in their people, technology and marketing.”

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