U.K. Banks Least Optimistic About Employment, CBI Survey Says

U.K. banks and other lenders are the least optimistic about employment prospects for the next three months as they seek to control costs, according a survey by the Confederation of British Industry.

“Banks remain focused on costs,” said Andrew Gray, U.K. banking leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which compiled the report with Britain’s biggest business lobby group. “Banks will continue to make headcount reductions.”

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) said last week it would shed 15,000 jobs to reduce costs by 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) by 2014, while HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest bank, said it will cut about 700 employees who offer branch-based advice on financial products. Credit Suisse Group AG may cut about 100 jobs at its investment bank in the U.K. as part of a global staff-reduction plan, a person familiar with the matter said on June 29, while Barclays Plc (BARC) said on the same day that it was eliminating a further 50 investment-banking jobs amid a slowdown in global markets.

Even so, financial services companies including insurance brokers and life insurance firms, added about 11,000 jobs in the second quarter.

“All big retail banks are looking at their headcount and resizing some business activities to make sure that they remain profitable,” said Gray at a press conference discussing the research. “But it is also clear where some banks have made headcount reductions they’ve also invested in other areas, so I think what we are seeing is realignment.”

Some 44 percent of those surveyed said the volume of financial transactions increased in the three months to June, while 28 percent said it fell, according to the report

The CBI and PwC surveyed 104 banks, customer-owned lenders, investment managers and securities firms from May 25 to June 9.

To contact the reporter on this story: Howard Mustoe in London at hmustoe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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