Britain’s escalating national emergency over Brexit has led optimism in the financial services industry to plunge at the fastest rate since the financial crisis, according to a business survey. In the latest warning that the political gridlock over leaving the EU is damaging the economy, the survey of City banks, investment managers and insurance firms from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the accountancy firm PwC suggests companies are the most gloomy since December 2008 – three months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The survey of 84 major City firms conducted late last month suggests optimism has not fallen this fast since the months immediately after the government bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds during the credit crunch, when panic spread, prompting banks to stop lending to one another. Only 10% of firms said they were more optimistic about the overall business situation compared with three months ago, while 53% were less optimistic, leaving a balance of -43% compared with -24% in the final three months of 2018. Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said: “The alarm bells ringing at the state of optimism in the financial services sector have reached a deafening level. “Brexit… Read full this story
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