Bank of England Risk Survey: Investor Confidence Returning to UK Financial System

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By Martin Baccardax | November 19, 2012 9:27 PM EST

A man and woman use their mobile phones as commuters walk past the columns of the Bank of England in the City of London

Confidence in the health of Britain's financial system grew in the second half of this year as fewer professionals expect a major banking event will hit the markets in the short or medium term, according to the Bank of England's most recent survey.

Only 20 percent of those polled - a decrease of 16 percentage points from the first half of the year - considered the probability of a high-impact event in the market to be "very high" or "high" in the short-term, according to the survey while more than a third (34 percent) considered it to be "low".

However, a plurality of respondents to the Bank's 'Systemic Risk Survey' still feel there's a chance that a so-called "high impact" event could disrupt markets and derail a global economic recovery in the medium term. Around 41 percent of those polled by the Central Bank said the chance of such an event was "high" or "very high", the survey found, with only 9 percent placing the probability as "low".

Faith in Britain's financial system improved from the first half of the year, the poll indicated, with fully 86 percent of respondents telling the Bank they were either "completely confident" or "fairly confident" in the system as a whole over the next three years.

Key risks to the system, the respondents said, were sovereign defaults or deeper rescues, economic weakness, risks around regulation and taxes and risks around corporate and government funding abilities.

"Agreement was therefore broad among survey respondents that a crystallisation of sovereign risk would have the greatest impact on the UK financial system," the Bank said. "This has become more pronounced, with an additional 15 percentage points (to 94 percent) citing sovereign risk as a key risk since 2012 H1 and an increase of 8 percentage points (to 68%) in respondents naming it as their number one risk."

The Survey is conducted on a biannual basis to quantify and track market participants' views as to risk and confidence in the UK's financial system, the Bank said in its report. The poll was conducted between 24 September and 25 October. Seventy nine firms, ranging from hedge funds to bank to asset managers and insurers were asked to participate, the Bank said, with all of them responding.

"The survey is typically completed by executives responsible for financial institutions' risk management," the report said.

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