Financial services profession’s confidence in the UK’s economic prospects has grown, says latest CISI survey

By Lora Benson | Mar 25, 2021

The financial services profession’s confidence in the UK’s economic prospects has increased in the last six months, according to the latest survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The 45,000 strong not-for-profit membership body for those working in wealth management, financial planning and capital markets undertook the survey from 27 December 2020 – 11 March 2021.

When asked the question: “How do you feel about the UK’s economic prospects now compared with six months ago?” of almost 1,000 (910) respondents 18% said they were more optimistic, with 12% less optimistic and 70% neutral. This compares to to the last CISI survey on this topic in winter 18/19, when 55% were negative, 21% were positive, with 24% neutral.


The CISI confidence indicator (the sum of positives less the sum of negatives) is 6, reflecting the same level of positivity recorded for the same survey during winter 2015. The poll has been conducted on average every six-12 months since spring 2012.

Positive respondents’ comments included:

  • “Being ahead on vaccines feels like it will provide an economic advantage.”


  • “Things are going to take off. Although China has moved into dominant position.Britain has done well through the vaccine distribution but only time will tell regarding the merits of Brexit. Short term it will do well especially as we are not at negative rates like the EU. “


  • “If the EU doesn’t knock out London as the financial capital, I think the U.K. could enjoy some enduring growth in 2022-23 and beyond.”


  • “A Brexit deal with Europe and our vaccination programme set us up very favourably now to go out into the world and promote our skills as a nation. Need to invest in education and infrastructure, especially [energy] power.”

Negative comments included:

  • “Leaving the EU was a ridiculous move that will cause tremendous damage to the Brits. It would have been smarter to go to the EU leadership with 51% support to reduce EU fees, as the EU leadership does drain countries financially with little benefit.”


  • “I feel there is an element of make-believe propping up the markets temporarily. Structurally the economy (and not just the UK economy) is severely strained. The next few years are going to be very difficult.”


  • “Ballooning public and private debt, falling incomes, rising unemployment, end of furlough, end of property market stamp duty relief, increased post-Brexit export costs, oh, and an on-going pandemic.”

Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, CISI CEO said: “The result of our survey matches the recently reported GfK UK consumer confidence index, which showed the highest level since before the first March 2020 lockdown -16 points, the largest monthly jump in almost a decade. Our survey outcome is also in line with the latest IPSOS MORI poll, which reported that economic confidence is the highest since 2015. A deal with Europe on equivalence would provide greater confidence and help to embed the promising recovery.”