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Trust and estate sector confidence down slightly in Q4 2013

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Confidence among trust and estates sector practitioners fell slightly in Q4 2013, according to a survey carried out by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Despite a small drop of one and a half index points to +32.6, business confidence is still over six points stronger than it was in the 2012 Q4 survey.
 
STEP chief executive David Harvey says the slight decrease, on the back of a drop of one index point in the 2013 Q3 survey, shows the gains made in the first half of last year were slowing.
 
“In quarter three of 2012 we had business confidence sitting at +22 index points”, he says. “Since then we’ve surged upwards to +35 points in mid-2013 and we’ve dropped slightly to +32.6 index points. I think this reasonably minor drop indicates confidence is levelling out following such rapid improvements in 2013 and is not necessarily the start of a large backwards step.”
 
Overall, survey participants reported that they expected all areas of their business or practices to improve compared to the 2012 Q4 survey.
 
“The fact that we’re seeing more participants reporting that they expect their business to improve and fewer stating they expect to see business decrease, helps keep the small drop in the last quarter of 2013 in perspective,” Harvey says. “As we move deeper into new international regulatory environments it remains important to monitor business confidence so STEP can best support our members and the industry through enhancing training and professional development and engaging with policy makers.”
 
The Confidence Indices are constructed by taking the balance of survey respondents reporting that they expect business to ‘improve’ or ‘significantly improve’ relative to those expecting business to ‘decline’ or ‘decline significantly’.

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