Electronic financial services sector may be UK economy’s saving grace

Workers within the only industry sector in the UK which has a massive surplus – the financial sector – are demanding to working from home.
The FX industry has done very well recently, with many key employees operating remotely, therefore this may come to fruition

The British government may well be intent on continuing its assault on the nation’s enterprises, however there is one industry sector that has not only adapted well to remote working, but has flourished.

That sector is the electronic financial services business, which unlike most industry types which are completely disabled and have faced extinction due to the brutal lockdowns imposed by the government, is likely to continue to use a certain degree of remote working as a modus operandi on a permanent basis.

Now is not the time for employees of any company worldwide to call the shots, as many who still have their career are simply glad to be able to be among the remaining few who are still able to earn a living, however with the financial sector in the UK continuing to boom, staff are now beginning to approach employers and call for flexible working conditions to apply on a permanent basis.

It certainly would be inappropriate to suggest that the financial sector can work from home indefinitely, as this is very much a relationship business, in which liquidity providers need to meet with liquidity takers and vendors need to be on site with their clients regularly. Also, infrastructure and hosting is geared toward offices in Canary Wharf being connected directly to venues across the world, and hosting at Equinix in Slough, plus talent bases drive each other forward, and modern, cutting edge London is a tour de force in that respect.

Sitting in a Victorian living room in solitude cannot bring the same level of daily productivity and advancement as being in a structured environment among the personnel and technological infrastructure in the heart of the financial center.

However, it is certainly feasible to say that half of the financial sector’s employees could comfortably have flexible working conditions, and that is what they are now pushing for.

A survey by KPMG and the Financial Services Skills Commission found the sector has responded well to the pandemic, with 78 per cent of staff saying they had been able to work from home effectively.

As a result, one in two financial services workers want to continue to work from home for at least part of the week after the pandemic ends.

However, the research showed that the majority of employees still value their time in the office. Only 26 per cent of those surveyed said they want to work from home full-time in future.

While the preference for new ways of working was consistent across age groups, the findings showed financial services workers aged 31 to 45 are the most driven to work more flexibly.

“With much of the workforce scattered across a variety of home-offices, kitchen tables, and spare bedrooms, this has presented both difficulty and, in some cases, welcome flexibility,” said Mel Newton, head of financial services people consulting at KPMG UK.

“It is important to note that only half of the workforce want to continue working this way, and that clear division is important. It demonstrates that flexibility is more than just allowing people to work from home on the occasional Friday – what the future workforce wants is personal choice.”

Last week, official figures revealed the majority of UK businesses plan to scrap working from home beyond the pandemic, however there have been some bizarre exceptions such as Lloyd’s Of London, which is looking to remove all staff from its office and have permanent remote working for all Names and staff, which in our opinion would make their business model unworkable.

A survey by the Office for National Statistics showed that 67 per cent of British firms do not intend to keep home working as a permanent business model. The data also showed that commuter numbers have continued to rise despite government orders not to return to the office, suggesting Brits are keen to get back to work.

While the response to home working has been largely positive, many finance workers said their pre-Covid skills fell short of what was needed to keep working remotely.

This may well come to fruition. With key technologists, dealers and traders in the office, using the correct infrastructure, and all other staff at home, this could represent a change in how all companies operate.

in the FX industry, sales, back office and marketing staff have worked tirelessly from home during the last 6 months. Many industry executives have told FinanceFeeds that they’ve never worked so hard, and that there is more need for concentration on core business now than ever, which puts the FX industry’s committed staff in a good position.

When considering how much of a massive mainstay the financial sector is to the wider UK economy, it is even more likely that the employees will have their wish granted.

Financial services not only props up the entire UK economy, but with the rest of it flagging and closed down by an anti-business government, the financial sector will become more important as it pays its way toward propping up a nation in economic crisis.

Technologically advanced Great Britain is one of the only nations in the world whose financial technology and financial services industries have been interlinked for over 30 years, and whose workforce, whether salespeople, programmers or senior corporate executives, are dedicated and highly experienced.

Britain’s financial services industry employs only 0.0009% of the entire adult population of the European Union, yet produces 16.7% of all tax receipts to Brussels. Now that’s productivity.

As Britain finalizes its exit from the ball and chain around its ankle, the vast abyss which contributes nothing to the advancement of Britain’s economy and does not participate at all in London’s financial services sector – quite the contrary actually considering that ailing Deutsche Bank does its electronic trading from London whilst its faltering and ill-managed banking arm flounders in Frankfurt – reports are now emerging to demonstrate exactly how much of a producer London’s financial services sector is.

Employing just 2.2 million people across Britain, the financial services sector contributes £176 billion to Britain’s already huge economy.

That is quite remarkable.

On a granular level, things are even more remarkable. Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain’s largest retail financial services company, has a market capitalization of £6.5 billion, is based in Bristol and is led by former IG Group CFO Christopher Hill, who is CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown.

The company’s proprietary Vantage system allows retail investors to manage all of their portfolios from one platform, a far cry from Hargreaves Lansdown’s initial years as a Clifton-based independent financial adviser and insurance brokerage.

It is corporate powerhouses such as this, along with their rock solid reputations for quality, that are the flagship of the British financial services sector.

Although the domestic market is one of massive importance to British companies which have a long history of serving clients who are very loyal, the financial sector is Britain’s largest exporter, with a trade surplus of £72 billion.

This is another case in point. The export of financial services on an industrial scale represents the relationships between Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, North America, Australia, Canada and mainland China, not the European Union’s desolate financial environment.

In summary, as far as a holistic approach to the financial sector, from the Tier 1 banks right through to prime brokerage, platform development, market infrastructure, liquidity and connectivity, nobody does it better, hence Britain’s future as an independent beacon of financial services prowess is a very bright one indeed.

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