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Financial Institutions Sentiment Survey 2021

The latest insight into the opportunities, risks and expectations that are informing decision-making at financial services firms across the UK. 

Read our report (PDF, 5MB)PDF, opens in a new window

Financial Institutions Sentiment Survey 2021: On the road to recovery

We’ve surveyed more than 100 senior decision makers at financial services firms including global banks, insurers, wealth and asset managers and more, to get their opinions on the state of the sector as the UK starts to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

The interactive report uncovers insights into the impact of COVID-19 on their expectations for growth, job creation and more, including their strategic investment plans and views on sustainability in the year of COP26.


The sector’s role in the economic recovery

The report finds a sector that has performed robustly through the pandemic, thanks in part to industry reforms since the 2008 financial crisis and its early adoption of digital technology, which enabled staff to efficiently switch to flexible working practices.

Two thirds of the firms surveyed now expect to grow their UK revenues during the year ahead – more than in 2019 before the pandemic hit. However, there are still potential headwinds, including regulatory reform and access to skills.


A sustained focus on technology investment

Technology remains the top investment priority for the UK financial services sector as firms seek to improve the customer experience, drive growth and boost productivity by investing in the cloud, APIs and Artificial Intelligence.

Almost half of respondents also flagged their desire to invest in FinTechs through acquisition and partnering, with the aim of developing new products and services.


Spotlight on sustainability

The sector has a critical role to play in funding the transition to a green economy. Reflecting that, our research found that climate change and sustainability are rising up boardroom agendas, cited as a top five strategic priority by 59% of respondents, up from 33% last year.

But firms are facing challenges as they work to reduce their environmental impact, primarily around evolving regulation and recruiting talent.

For a more detailed look at the research, download our full report (PDF, 5MB).

Key analysis

Our specialists examine the key insights from the report.


Jeavon Lolay

Jeavon Lolay, Head of Economics & Market Insight, reflects on the economic outlook for financial institutions comparing the findings to other forecasts and sectors.

Watch analysis 

Maria Nazarova-Doyle

Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Head of Pension Investments and Responsible Investments, at Scottish Widows, part of Lloyds Banking Group, discusses the sustainability findings, bringing context to what she is seeing within the sector.

Watch analysis 

Steve Everett

Steve Everett, Head of Payments and Receivables, talks about what technology investments financial institutions are investing in and why automation is so important.

Watch analysis 

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