Worldwide, the financial services industry is facing a severe shortage of critical skills, according to a report issued today by Professional Services Firm PwC.
Nearly half of the industry leaders taking part in the PwC 15th Annual Global Survey believe that the limited availability of key skills is a serious threat to their growth prospects. Tom Winterboer, financial services leader, PwC Southern Africa and Africa says: “CEOs in the financial services sector are facing the most challenging business conditions of their careers as profitable markets come under pressure and businesses grapple with huge and potentially disruptive changes in regulation, technology and customer demand.”
While 1 258 CEOs from 60 countries took part in the survey, the report provides a summary of findings on issues specifically affecting the financial services sector. It is based on interviews with 368 CEOS in the financial services industry in 52 countries. The findings form part of PwC’s newly launched Financial Services (FS) Journal for Southern Africa, which addresses strategic, operational and technical issues that can potentially affect the sector’s future performance.
According to the PwC global CEO survey, CEOs in the banking and capital markets remain upbeat about their growth prospects despite the economic uncertainty of last year, with more than 80% being confident about improving revenues in the next 12 months and over the next three years. More than half of CEOs believe that the economy will get worse over the next 12 months, compared to 20% who believe it will improve. South America, Asia and Africa were identified as regions where key operations are expected to grow in the next 12 months.
Bribery and corruption
For the first time in the PwC study, CEOs were asked how concerned they are about bribery and corruption. A significant percentage of South African CEOs (66%) expressed concern, compared to 34% of global CEOs. “Economic crime remains a challenge for business leaders”, says Winterboer. While banks in the rest of the world cite the shortage of liquidity and the availability of capital as their prime concerns, South Africa’s banking industry views the risks of fraud and criminality as their main concerns, according to PwC’s recent 2012 annual Banking Banana Skins survey.