New financial sector jobs in London jump 25%: study

GROWTH AREAS::Chinese yuan and Islamic bond-like instruments known as Sukuk are driving jobs in London, which wants to be a yuan-trading and Islamic finance hub

Reuters, LONDON

Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 15

London’s financial services sector created 25 percent more jobs last month than a year ago, new data showed yesterday, showing the industry may be recovering from the restructuring and redundancies prompted by the financial crisis.

After a strong January, London’s City hiring market showed no signs of slowing down last month, with 3,220 new jobs created, compared with 2,575 added in February last year, according to financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden.

Job creation in the past three months was 34 percent ahead of the same period the previous year, the figures show.

The data suggests London’s banks and financial services companies are returning to growth after slashing thousands of jobs in the face of a lengthy recession and a series of industry scandals that followed the financial crisis.

“The confident mood is underlined by the fact that the banks have shrugged off recent emerging market wobbles and remain upbeat about the long-term prospects for developed economies,” Astbury Marsden chief operating officer Mark Cameron said.

“The FTSE 100’s recent 14-year high shows that investors’ appetite for risk has well and truly recovered,” he added.

Investment in banks’ front office technology, particularly for algorithmic trading programs in foreign exchange, has created demand for skilled personnel that can hone trading systems to speed execution times, Astbury Marsden said.

“This is potentially a huge growth area for banks, and one in which hiring could be substantial for some time,” Cameron said.

A strong IPO pipeline has also triggered new hires at brokerage houses, smaller banks and other advisers.

Investment banks have been looking to add jobs in growth areas like the Renminbi and Sukuk — instruments similar to bonds that comply with Islamic law — markets, the recruiter said.

The UK wants to become Europe’s major offshore hub for trading China’s currency, hoping it will deliver a big boost to the financial sector and the wider economy.

It is also aiming to be the main Western center of Islamic finance and is planning to become the first Western country to issue a sukuk later this year.

Financial services firms employ 675,600 people in London and contributed £174 billion (US$291.60 billion) to the UK economy in 2012, according to industry lobby group TheCityUK.