Close contrast shows up City's woes

In a sign of how tough life has been for City dealing rooms in the last year, Winterflood Securities reported "challenging" trading conditions and admitted it has suffered from "low investor activity".

Results from parent Close Brothers, one of the City's last true independent banks, laid out the contrast of fortunes in the Square Mile.

The banking division delivered strong growth, with the loan book up 6 per cent for the year to £4.4bn, but the securities business was hit by a sharp fall in the number of investors willing to bet on the stock market – particularly in the AIM and small-cap index.

The bank's shares edged down by 3.5p to 968.5p.

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