Accounting firm KPMG has released the latest set of findings from its Isle of Man Business Barometer, which indicate that business in the jurisdiction continued to see improved performance during the third quarter of 2004.
“The encouraging trends from the first half of the year are continuing, with over 85% of business reporting steady or improved sales in the third quarter,” noted the firm in its third Business Confidence Index report.
Whilst 60% of the participating firms reported that staff levels have been static in the three months to the end of September, of those planning changes in staffing numbers in the coming months, the majority will be increasing their workforce, and only 5% are planning a decrease.
However, as highlighted in previous reports, a high percentage (74%) of respondents cited the Isle of Man’s regulatory regime as a major issue of concern, whilst 50% of businesses considered regulation on the island as “too strong” or “excessive.”
There has also been a slight downturn in the perception of the island’s competitiveness compared to similar jurisdictions. In the third quarter, only 14% of those surveyed felt the Isle of Man was ‘more competitive’ or ‘very competitive’, compared to 20% who expressed the same views in the second quarter.
The report shows that these perceptions are linked to a feeling that the Isle of Man is not marketing itself effectively, with 80% saying the authorities ‘do too little’ in this regard.
Nevertheless, this has not affected the respondents’ outlook for their own businesses, with 60% ‘optimistic’ or ‘very optimistic’ about their prospects over the next twelve months.
Half of the respondents were optimistic about the island as a whole in the year ahead.
Source: OCRA Offshore