Financial services profession’s confidence in UK’s economic prospects is at an all-time low, says CISI

By Lora Benson | Feb 04, 2019

The financial services profession’s confidence in the UK’s economic prospects has deteriorated to the lowest level since 2012, according to the latest survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The CISI, the 45,000-strong professional body for those working in securities, investment, wealth management and financial planning, undertook the survey from 28 September 2018 – 21 January 2019.

Of the 1,062 responses, 55% were less optimistic about the UK’s economic prospects (compared to 35% in end 2017/early 2018). Of those who responded, 21% felt more optimistic, with 24% unchanged (as opposed to 30% optimistic and 35% unchanged end 2017/early 2018).

The CISI confidence indicator (the sum of positives less the sum of negatives) is -34, which is an all-time low since the survey first started six years ago.

Respondents were asked how they felt about the UK’s economic prospects compared with six months ago. The CISI has conducted the poll on average every six-12 months since Spring 2012.

Of the actual 109 individual comments made by respondents the word “Brexit” appeared on a total of 67 occasions.

Simon Culhane Chartered FCSI, CISI CEO said: “Our survey results match those of the latest Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) member survey which showed confidence in the UK’s economy is at its lowest level since their report first launched in 2009.

“In addition, the CBI’s latest survey showing confidence of UK manufacturers’ outlook has dropped to -23, the lowest level since the Brexit referendum. Business’s abhor uncertainty, they can’t plan, they can’t invest and they can’t recruit and now, with less than two months before the UK plans to leave, we have complete uncertainty, so this survey result is no surprise.”

Respondents’ comments to the CISI survey included:

  • “Brexit will completely overshadow any minor gains made elsewhere. It’s going to be a disaster.”
  • Total uncertainty. Total anxiety. Complete disharmony and division.”
  • “Ongoing political uncertainties delay decision making which in turn affects employment and future economic growth.”
  • As the decision about our position in the EU continues things are not going to be settled for investment for now. Leaving the EU is a huge mistake, as globalisation continues, trading in blocks create better negotiating clout.”
  • “Really worried about Brexit and its affect on the economy, the market and job security.”
  • “The country is run by jokers. They exist across all parties. UK is supposed to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world yet we still have a black hole in the infrastructure. Poor state of the roads. Poor public transport. Poor public services in general.”
  • “Brexit is best described as an en-masse self-harm process for the UK…”
  • “I feel politicians are putting their own power grabbing egos ahead of the nation’s best interest in securing an acceptable outcome for Brexit.”
  • “I feel the UK is an island and that whatever the economic circumstances we confront we will create an entrepreneurial economy and be flexible in our approach – business partners like that.”
  • “Brexit looks like a total dog’s dinner and global risks seem to be on the increase.”
  • “Whatever form Brexit takes it will unlease new energy and I hope that the negative tone of the Bank of England and The Treasury will cease and that the huge entrepreneurial spirit of the UK will bear fruit.”
  • “Re the economy I would suggest looking into higher taxes on high earners £1m+ salaries. Revoking the triple lock – it’s unbelievable that the demographic that benefited from free university education, DB schemes, (effectively guaranteed to a certain extent by the government) are the only demographic guaranteed to get richer every year, this in combination with stagnant wages, inflation and mental health issues guarantee that young people will have no social mobility.”
  • “Brexit has been a brutal curse to our industry and nation. It has taken on mythical status that even intelligent, rational people can hold extreme and fantastical viewpoints that have no basis in reality. Worse, it makes discussing planning extremely difficult as stepping on a hot button can detail a session and potentially lose a client. Even if article 50 is withdrawn much of the damage has now been done and instead of having 2.5 years to prepare for the inevitable slow down our nation has barely stayed expansionary.”
  • “Brexiteers have screwed up the UK’s economic prospects in the short to medium term and in the long term nobody knows, not least the Brexiteers who never had a clue in the first place. Stagnant property prices and negative growth in investment portfolios will keep the lid on consumer confidence and by extension, demand. Happy days!”
  • “We have a parliament full of donkeys. No one has a clue as to what is happening. It is a national scandal and disgrace which will affect us for many years to come. There has been no real or effective planning for any of this. The whole situation is outrageous.”