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Optimism continues to rise in City

The financial services sector is brimming with optimism for the year ahead, with 78 per cent of organisations expecting an increase in business, according to Smith & Williamson.

The accountant says its research into FSA-regulated firms in the City of London shows business confidence rising for the third consecutive year, after 85 per cent of firms reported 2005 as a better year than 2004.

On the back of this, 66 per cent of firms say they expect to pay bigger bonuses this year to staff than last year.

Eighty-seven per cent say a possible terrorist threat does not diminish the importance of London as a financial centre although 75 per cent agree that terrorist activities raise the importance of fighting money laundering and related financial crime.

The seventh annual survey does show some industry concerns, with 70 per cent of respondents saying the financial services environment will become less favourable under the current Government.

Fifty-seven per cent say the tax system acts as a disincentive to undertake certain business decisions and just over 50 per cent said the burden of tax is increasing.

Head of financial services and markets group Giles Murphy says: “Three consecutive years of rising business confidence is excellent news and seems to underline people’s faith in the City of London as a financial centre. This was in spite of the earlier terrorist attacks and concerns over a tightening tax regime.”


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