Will global financial services companies see a return to growth this year? By the second quarter of 2010? Or even later?
Industry executives are about evenly split on the question, with around a third expecting some expansion this year, 34 percent seeing a return to growth in the first six months of 2010, and 32 percent expecting it even later than that. The 125 C-level executives were polled by Ernst & Young last month.
One thing they did agree on was a need to increase the amount of time they spend on securing the future of their business—more than two thirds signaled an intention to do just that. Which may make the role of education, training, and incentive conference planners more important than ever, even as some companies continue their efforts to dodge the perception that corporate meetings are wasteful.
Most survey respondents didn’t see the downturn coming: 72 percent of them said they were surprised at the severity and 70 percent were surprised by the speed of the financial crisis. Half of the respondents reported no improvement in their business over the past 12 months, while almost six in ten financial institutions have seen their profitability decline in the same period.
For this study, the Ernst & Young’s Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 569 C-suite and board-level executives. Respondents were drawn from across the world and across industry sectors. Over half the executives polled worked for companies with annual global revenues in excess of US$1 billion.