By Amarjet Snehi, ASCI, Managing Director Equitrade Capital

Welcome to the Birmingham Post Rich List 2014, which Equitrade Capital Stock¬brokers are proud to be sponsoring for the second year.

It’s that time of year again to look at what’s in store for the year ahead. Locally, whilst historically Birmingham had a distinctive economic profile, being hailed as the first manufacturing town in the world, today Birmingham is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub.

As the second largest metropolitan economy in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $114.3 billion (2012 est., Purchasing Power Parity), and with its six universities making it the largest centre of higher education and academic research in the country outside London it is pleasing to see that with a number of local projects under the spotlight, Birmingham will continue to receive unprecedented levels of investment in its infrastructure.

Birmingham New Street station’s £600 million transformation and the city’s growing transport networks including how HS2 will join Birmingham with the UK’s other regional economic centres and the runway extension at Birmingham Airport bringing long-haul destinations closer to the city means Birmingham will be perfectly placed for business.

The City Centre Enterprise Zone, will provide a natural extension to Birmingham’s existing core and connect the centre to the regenerated Eastside and proposed HS2 station.

The second half of 2014 will see the Birmingham Development Plan provide the strategy to drive forward this transformation with the Big City Plan accelerating the delivery of economic growth. By 2031 Birmingham will be renowned as an enterprising, innovative and green city that has undergone transformational change increasing the economic power of Birmingham.

With pride, Equitrade Capital continues to support Birmingham’s business growth, offering investors access to Global Markets through its Birmingham Head Office.

Equitrade Capital, established in Birmingham, is a leading provider of financial services and advice on a wide range of investment products including CFDs, forex, shares, commodities, and futures, offering boutique stockbroking and financial investment services.

Equitrade Capital has continued to see consistent internal growth and with recent team expansion is ever more well placed to help investors capitalise on growth and to position its clients effectively within the market.

On a wider economic scale, it is encouraging to see that 2013 brought with it a number of successful privatisations through IPO’S (the first public issuance of a company’s shares) such as Royal Mail, Twitter and Merlin International with further IPO’s on the cards for 2014 for Superdrug, Poundland and Just-Eat who are looking to come to market showing that there is a growing confidence and determination by business’s for economic growth despite previous pessimism about the economy.

What a difference a year makes!

The outlook is increasingly positive compared to this time 12 months ago, when there remained overwhelming uncertainty with threats of a triple dip recession.

Now, whilst we cannot expect an overnight miracle, we do expect to see 2014 bring with it the right sort of growth with bullish prospects forecasted for the UK in 2014.

We believe with interest rates to remain at low levels and an increased appetite for consolidation the current bullish run should continue through this year.

Even though market sentiment appears to have improved economic recovery is never fully secure and having experienced false dawns in previous years whilst we maintain that the upturn appears to be on stronger ground for a turnaround, investors must be aware that complacency could lead to setbacks.

There is still a huge reliance on consumer spending and with real time wages not set to rise until 2015 this could restrict the ability for an unchallenged recovery. In today’s fast paced markets, knowledge and timing is paramount and at Equitrade Capital we are able to utilise our resources on behalf of investor’s so that they can take advantage of opportunities within the market.

May the year ahead meet and exceed positive forecasts for growth in Birmingham and beyond.

It remains for me to say well done to those business’s who have secured a place in this year’s Birmingham Post Rich List and good luck to all for the year ahead - may 2014 meet and exceed positive forecasts for economic growth in Birmingham and beyond.

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