Confidence in the financial services industry has dramatically improved in the last quarter, with life insurers and investment managers "particularly bullish", a poll shows.
The latest Confederation of British Industry/PwC financial services survey said the improvement in confidence reflected increased business volume, calmer financial markets and more stable economic forecasts.
It added firms were focusing on plans for growth but regulation was also a major driver of spending.
Each major sub-section of the regular survey reported dramatic improvement, especially life insurance and investment managers.
However, securities traders remained worried due to being more exposed to the effects of financial market volatility.
PwC said the improving sentiment was transferring to other areas, notably employment.
It said its December figures put aggregate numbers employed across UK financial services are falling, with further reductions predicted for the first quarter of 2012.
However, overall numbers are reported to have grown in the past quarter - with particularly strong increase in banking and insurance. Headcount is expected to continue rising, with several sectors planning staff increases.
The consultant said: "This not only reflects stronger levels of business, but also the requirements of new regulation and the need to invest for organic growth."
The life insurance sector reported growing customer demand and stronger levels of new business.
It added: "PwC said: "The life companies are planning to add staff and invest more capital as they plan their responses to the introduction of the retail distribution review."
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