CFOs’ investment choices: Cybersecurity overtakes regulatory change

The investment decisions of financial services companies uncovered for 2014 in latest Robert Half research. Cybersecurity, data analytics and mining are top priorities for 2014.

  • Over half (52%) of UK CFOs of financial services companies plan to increase spending in 2014 on cybersecurity and data analytics and mining
  • 39% of UK financial services businesses plan to hire permanent staff to help manage new cybersecurity and data analytics and mining facilities
  • Almost two thirds (64%) of large UK businesses plan to improve technology as a wider drive to develop customer experience

London, 16 April 2014 - The economic upturn has alleviated budget restrictions for many UK companies, allowing them to invest in growing and improving their business. New research1 by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half Financial Services, reveals that the majority (52%) of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in the financial services sector plan to increase spending on cybersecurity while  43% will spend more on data analytics and mining. Only 39% of financial services firms plan to increase spending on regulatory reform in 2014 – equal to the number of CFOs who aim to increase spending on IT investment to enable growth.

Regulatory change is still proving difficult to manage, prompting executives to address resourcing. When asked about additional hires to manage the increased regulatory budget spend, the majority of financial services CFOs (56%) plan to hire permanent employees to help, compared to 39% who plan to hire for cybersecurity initiatives.

Almost two thirds (64%) of large UK businesses plan to upgrade technology to improve customer experience whilst 44% of small businesses are looking to streamline business processes to further benefit their customers.

Financial services CFOs were asked “In which of the following areas does your business anticipate increased spending in 2014 over 2013 levels?” Their responses:


Increased spending

Additional permanent hiring




Data analytics and mining



Regulatory reform



IT investment to enable growth



Digital (website, online banking, user experience)



Product development



None of these



Neil Owen, Practice Director, Robert Half Financial Services said: “While cybersecurity is absorbing the lion’s share of budgets, regulatory reform is driving the hiring agenda, with companies accelerating recruitment efforts yet facing a shortage of professionals with the requisite skills and experience. Businesses that successfully implement an integrated governance, risk and compliance programme (GRC), thus aligning resources to business demands, should be able to drive efficiencies, reduce duplication of efforts and realise potential cost savings.”


 Notes to editors

1 The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 100 Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operations Officers at UK financial services firms. The research was conducted in December 2013.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and