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Robert Walters says banks continue hiring in London
July 12, 2017 / 6:34 AM / 5 months ago

Robert Walters says banks continue hiring in London

(Reuters) - Recruiter Robert Walters said banks continued to hire “significant numbers” of people in London, underpinning its confidence that jobs in the sector would not move to the continent anytime soon despite Brexit concerns.

“There are examples of banks that have been hiring significant numbers of people in London,” CEO Robert Walters told Reuters, adding that financial companies continued to hire for compliance, cybersecurity, risk, audit and technology.

“I would say that anyone in our business, anyone in our game at the moment should be reasonably confident (that these firms) are in the UK for the future.”

His comments echoed the view of larger rival PageGroup, which said on Tuesday that financial companies were currently talking about moving only very small teams to the continent.

Many financial companies have committed to move some British jobs to continental Europe to keep serving clients in the single market. However, Walters said the fall in the pound’s value had made British workers cheaper, prompting companies to rethink their plans.

When asked whether financial firms had begun hiring aggressively on the continent, Walters said: “No, nothing’s physically happening at the moment.”

A lack of sufficient skilled labour for the finance sector and stringent labour laws in places such as France had also deterred many, causing some to overturn their publicly made Brexit relocation plans, he said.

Chief Financial Officer Alan Bannatyne said that hiring for roles in London’s financial services sector grew 10 percent in the three months to June, marking one of the strongest growth areas across the British hiring market.

The strength of hiring in London and its other markets helped Robert Walters’ net fee income rise 25 percent in April-June, it said, sending its shares up 6 percent on Wednesday as it said it expected full-year profit to beat market expectations.

That contrasted with PageGroup which reported a fall in gross profit from the UK market on Tuesday, as quarterly hiring in financial services in Britain fell 15 percent.

While PageGroup said concern about political stability following last month’s election had compounded the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote a year ago, Bannatyne said Robert Walters saw a “strong” end to June.

The company made 28 percent of its overall net fee income from its domestic market, which grew 13 percent to 24.3 million pounds ($31 million) over the quarter.

Robert Walters said its net fee income totalled 86.3 million pounds for the quarter after its international business also grew. It now expects annual pretax profit for 2017 to beat analysts’ expectations of 30.1 million pounds.

Hays, Britain’s largest listed recruitment company, is due to report results on Thursday.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Merriman and Susan Fenton

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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