Index tracks recovery for financial services industry

Further signs of recovery came from the financial services sector yesterday as trade body TheCityUK’s “competitiveness tracker” rose for the second consecutive quarter, marking the first time the index has notched up six months of improvement since 2011.

The tracker – which is made up of 16 indicators, including the take-up of office space, the locations chosen for initial public offerings and sector’s trade surplus – found 11 indicators were up between April and June, while only five were down.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “The UK remains one of the most-competitive locations in the world for financial services and London is still the number one global financial centre.

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“The recent gross domestic product figures from the Office for National Statistics and the Markit-Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply services purchasing managers’ index show 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.”

One disappointing indicator showed financial services sector employment had fallen.

Cummings added: “Although employment fell over this quarter, the situation has stabilised and improved since the onset of the financial crisis, with sectors such as retail banking, legal services, accounting and management consulting driving employment growth.

“It’s also good to see that City office rent is holding up, and despite high levels of office construction the vacancy rate has dropped from 10 per cent between 2008 and 2010 to just under 8 per cent in the second quarter of 2013.”