Financial services companies’ profitability rose at its fastest rate for over three years as business volumes and optimism increased for the third quarter in a row, according to a report by the CBI and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report also showed financial services companies in the UK increased staffing for the first time in a year. The report claimed that the recovery, which began early last summer, has now firmly taken root. Thirty nine per cent of companies said business volumes went up over the last three months while 12 per cent said they were down. The balance of plus 27 per cent compares is much better than the previous winter and spring when business was actually falling, according to the report. As a result, respondents said business was above normal and optimism about the business situation continues to improve. As business activity increased, total costs rose at their fastest rate for two and a half years, but this was volume driven, according to the report. Average costs per transaction fell for the third survey in a row. Overall profitability rose at its fastest rate since September 2000 and much more quickly than expected. According to the report, it is expected to continue rising over the next three months, though less rapidly.
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