NEWS - ACCOUNTANCY & FINANCE

Competition from alternative lenders driving growth in business lending

Competition from alternative lenders driving growth in business lending

Competition from alternative lenders is driving banks to boost lending amounts for businesses, according to Conrad Ford, Chief Executive of SME finance aggregator Funding Options.

Barclays and NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland are among the banks that are boosting access to finance for SMEs.

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Finance professionals want clarity on Brexit, research shows

Finance professionals want clarity on Brexit, research shows

Research from finance and accounting recruitment firm Reed Accountancy & Finance has shown that businesses in the finance sector want clarity to be provided on the UK’s exit from the EU as concerns rise among their employees.

The study, which surveyed 800 finance professionals, showed that finance firms are calling for the government to focus on securing a free trade deal during Brexit negotiations, securing employment rights for employees, and keeping membership of the single market.

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Financial services helping to drive UK M&A activity, research shows

Financial services helping to drive UK M&A activity, research shows

Research from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and debt advisory firm Livingstone Partners has shown that M&A activity targeting companies in the UK increased by 13% in the second quarter of the year, with financial services being one of the main drivers of growth.

The findings showed that the UK continues to lead the way for M&A in Europe, with a total of 355 deals taking place in Q2 2018.

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Report shows increase in demand for permanent finance workers

Report shows increase in demand for permanent finance workers

The latest IHS Markit jobs report has shown that there was an increase in job vacancies for permanent staff across the UK last month, with accounting and finance being among the sectors to see a rise in demand.

The report, which is sponsored by the Recruitment & Employment Federation (REC), analysed data from the Office for National Statistics and showed that job vacancies hit a record high of 824,000, with a year-on-year rise of 50% in the three months leading up to June.

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FCA announces consultation phase for global fintech sandbox

FCA announces consultation phase for global fintech sandbox

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a consultation phase in its plan to create a global fintech sandbox.

The UK financial regulatory body announced plans for a global version of its domestic regulatory sandbox in February this year with the aim of tackling common cross-border issues and enabling financial technology firms to conduct tests in different countries concurrently.

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Digital-first banks leading the way for customer service, research shows

Digital-first banks leading the way for customer service, research shows

Research from FIS has shown that digital-first banks are outperforming the world’s top 50 banks when it comes to customer services such as security and privacy. 

The Performance Against Customer Expectations (PACE) study surveyed thousands of banking consumers from the UK, the US, Germany and India to identify the most important performance indicators in banking and to rank the performance of service providers against consumer expectations.

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Digital transformation driving demand for new finance skills, research shows

Digital transformation driving demand for new finance skills, research shows

Research from finance and accountancy recruitment firm Robert Half has shown that digital transformation is driving demand for new skills in the finance sector.

The study surveyed almost 14,000 Chief Financial Officers across 14 countries, exploring hiring trends and career ambitions, and found that more than 40% of UK CFOs believe that more focus is being placed on skills such as data analysis as digital transformation becomes a priority for businesses.

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72% of UK adults unaware of Open Banking, study shows

72% of UK adults unaware of Open Banking, study shows

A study carried out by market research and data analytics firm YouGov has shown that 72% of UK adults are not aware of Open Banking.

The research surveyed more than 2,000 adults to explore their views on the Open Banking initiative, which was launched earlier this year and requires banks to share financial data with third-party providers with the permission of their customers in order to boost services.

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Data shows increase in demand for finance and insurance professionals

Data shows increase in demand for finance and insurance professionals

Figures from labour market analytics data provider Innovantage have shown an increase in online advertising activity for front-line roles across a number of sectors, including finance and insurance.

The data analysed job posting trends, exploring original job adverts and reposts of job roles to identify which sectors saw the highest increase in demand for front-line workers.

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UK financial services exports reached record high in 2017

UK financial services exports reached record high in 2017

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics have shown that UK exports of financial services hit a record high in 2017.

The ONS Pink Book 2018 showed that financial services exports reached £59.6bn last year, up by £3.6bn on 2016.

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Research highlights demand for flexible finance options

Research highlights demand for flexible finance options

Research from finance solutions provider Duologi has shown that consumers want access to flexible finance options, with 20% saying that they would be more likely to go elsewhere if a company did not offer them.

The study, entitled Finding the right balance: the future of credit, found that point-of-sale (POS) finance, which enables customers to purchase a product or service through a loan, could be critical to a company’s survival.

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Traditional banks benefiting the most from Current Account Switch Service

Traditional banks benefiting the most from Current Account Switch Service

Research from payments body Bacs has shown that traditional banks are benefitting the most from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), a scheme that was launched in 2013 to simplify the process of switching banks.

The CASS data showed that 965,317 people in Britain switched their current account in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 6%.

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Virgin Money’s SME franchise to deliver £500m of new deposits

Virgin Money’s SME franchise to deliver £500m of new deposits

Figures published by Virgin Money showed that the challenger bank is on target to deliver £500m of new SME deposits through its SME savings franchise by the end of 2018.

The bank’s H1 2018 figures showed that its underlying profit reached £141.6m in the first half of the year, up by 10% from £128.6m in the first half of 2017.

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Number of accountants reaches record high, FRC figures show

Number of accountants reaches record high, FRC figures show

Figures from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) showed strong growth in the number of accountants in the UK, with membership figures at accountancy bodies reaching a five-year high.

The regulator’s report, titled Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession showed that the membership at accountancy bodies has hit 530,000 worldwide, up by 16,706 from last year.

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APSCo figures show strong increase in permanent finance workers

APSCo figures show strong increase in permanent finance workers

The latest figures from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) showed that the financial services sector was one of the strongest in terms of hiring activity in the 12 months to June 2018.

The figures, which focus on professional recruitment, also revealed an increase in permanent workers across the UK, with a year-on-year rise of 9%.

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Accountancy firms providing most Brexit expertise

Accountancy firms providing most Brexit expertise

A study by Source Global Research, a research provider for the management consultancy industry, has found that accountancy firms are leading the way when it comes to Brexit expertise, with more than 80% of Brexit specialists in the UK’s consultancy industry working for an accountancy business.

The report highlighted the need for more workers that specialise in Brexit matters to keep up with the expected volume of demand.

 

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Consumers prefer their own bank for money services, research shows

Consumers prefer their own bank for money services, research shows

Research from financial services firm ING Group has shown that despite the rise in popularity of online shopping via mobile phones, people prefer to use their own bank when it comes to accessing money services.

The ING International Survey questioned around 15,000 people from 15 countries to explore money trends in Europe, the US and Australia and found that more than 55% of Europeans prefer to use their own bank for money services.

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Finance leaders are feeling positive about automation, research shows

Finance leaders are feeling positive about automation, research shows

Research from finance and accounting recruitment firm Robert Half UK has shown that finance leaders are feeling positive about automation and digitalisation, with more than 65% believing that it has led to improved collaboration.

The study also found that 63% of chief financial officers believe that digitalisation and automation are helping to improve innovation among their teams, while better communication and team spirit were also cited as benefits by 57% and 45% respectively.

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FCA publishes report on duty of care in financial services

FCA publishes report on duty of care in financial services

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a report exploring the need for duty of care requirements for businesses in the financial services sector.

The financial regulatory body’s report looks at how a new duty of care could help to boost good conduct and culture in the sector and enhance the protection of consumers.

 

 

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Metro Bank to shake up UK banking with developer portal

Metro Bank to shake up UK banking with developer portal

Metro Bank plans to launch a developer portal in a bid to help consumers and businesses have access to more choices and opportunities when it comes to managing their finances.

The portal will enable third-party companies that are registered with the financial regulatory body, the Financial Conduct Authority, to have access to the bank’s platform and build services on top of its APIs to develop more products and services for consumers.

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Finance leading the way for cyber security investment, study shows

Finance leading the way for cyber security investment, study shows

A study from SavoyStewart.co.uk has shown that the finance and insurance sector is leading the way for cyber security investment.

The study, which analysed Gov.uk data from over 800 companies, comes after separate figures from the Business Continuity Institute showed that more than 50% of business believe that cybercrime is their biggest threat.

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Financial services M&A activity is thriving, figures show

Financial services M&A activity is thriving, figures show

Figures collected by Big Four accountancy firm EY have shown that M&A activity in the financial services sector is thriving, with more than 80 deals being completed in the first half of 2018.

The surge in deals comes as a result of financial services firms facing tough competition in the sector, while low interest rates have also contributed to the boost in M&A activity.

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Accounting one of top industries for pay increase, research shows

Accounting one of top industries for pay increase, research shows

Research from UK job board CV-Library has shown that some of the UK’s key industries saw a significant increase in pay in June, with accounting making the list.

The study compared data from June 2018 with figures from the same period in 2017 and found that advertised salaries for new jobs increased by 1.2% across the UK.

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Finance Innovation Lab calls for purpose-driven approach to financial regulation

Finance Innovation Lab calls for purpose-driven approach to financial regulation

Financial start-up support charity The Finance Innovation Lab has released a report calling for a new regulatory compass, with financial regulators in the UK being urged to adopt a purpose-driven approach to financial regulation.

The report, entitled The Regulatory Compass: Towards a purpose-driven approach to financial regulation, suggests that regulators change their approach to make sure that the financial sector can deliver for the UK economy and society after Brexit.

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Report reveals what finance professionals want from their employers

Report reveals what finance professionals want from their employers

A study from recruitment firm Hays Accountancy and Finance has revealed what workers in the finance sector want from their employers.

The recruitment firm’s What Workers Want study surveyed 14,000 professionals, more than 2,000 of whom were finance professionals, and revealed the top reasons for workers being deterred from a job role, as well as the most important factors to consider when deciding on a job role.

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