By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - London’s financial services sector created 25 percent more jobs in February than a year ago, new data showed on Monday, showing the industry may be recovering from the restructuring and redundancies prompted by the financial crisis.
After a strong January, the City hiring market showed no signs of slowing down last month, with 3,220 new jobs created, compared with 2,575 added in February 2013, according to financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden.
Job creation in the past three months was 34 percent ahead of the same period the previous year, the figures show.
The data suggests London’s banks and financial services companies are returning to growth after slashing thousands of jobs in the face of a lengthy recession and a series of industry scandals that followed the financial crisis.
“The confident mood is underlined by the fact that the banks have shrugged off recent emerging market wobbles and remain upbeat about the long-term prospects for developed economies,” said Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden.
“The FTSE 100’s recent 14 year high shows that investors’ appetite for risk has well and truly recovered.”
Investment in banks’ front office technology, particularly for algorithmic trading programmes in foreign exchange, has created demand for skilled personnel that can hone trading systems to speed execution times, Astbury Marsden said.
“This is potentially a huge growth area for banks, and one in which hiring could be substantial for some time,” said Cameron.
A strong IPO pipeline has also triggered new hires at brokerage houses, smaller banks and other advisers.
Investment banks have been looking to add jobs in growth areas like the Renminbi and Sukuk - instruments similar to bonds that comply with Islamic law - markets, the recruiter said.
The UK wants to become Europe’s major offshore hub for trading China’s currency, hoping it will deliver a big boost to the financial sector and the wider economy.
It is also aiming to be the main Western centre of Islamic finance and is planning to become the first Western country to issue a sukuk later this year.
Financial services firms employ 675,600 people in London and contributed 174 billion pounds ($291.60 billion) to the UK economy in 2012, according to industry lobby group TheCityUK.