Siobhan Mail, Director at South Wales-based Seer Green Financial Planning, said: “With a range of very mixed messages coming out about the economy, it would probably still be wise to approach the new year with a degree of uncertainty.
“Recent GVA (Gross Value Added) figures for the UK show Wales with the lowest GVA per head at £15,401 (London figure stands at £37,232). UK house prices have risen on average by 5.5% in the last 12 months, but only 2% in Wales. However, this gives cause for optimism when linked with the recently announced fall in inflation to close to the Government target of 2%.
“To counter that optimism, however, that figure is almost three times the average annual earnings growth of 0.7%, casting doubt on whether consumers will be willing or able to maintain spending in the months ahead, without building up more debt.
“On a much more positive note, growing confidence among SMEs in Wales is translating into job creation and has moved into positive territory for the first time since the Wales index was launched in 2010. And like many other SMEs, we at Seer Green are also looking to take on new financial planners and mortgage specialists in the new year, as over recent months we have record levels of activity, which we expect to continue through 2014.
“So, we at Seer Green shall begin 2014 full of justifiable optimism for both the opportunities and challenges ahead, buoyed by success and growth in both the corporate sector, including auto-enrolment, and our private client work in pensions, investments mortgages and business protection, which has been boosted by a recent further investment in IT and systems.”