13 Dec 2018

Financial sector worth more than agriculture, report shows

11:18 am on 13 December 2018

The financial sector is growing in economic importance and is now worth more than agriculture, a report shows.

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Photo: 123RF

The report, carried out by the Institute of Economic Research for the Financial Services Council (FSC), shows the financial services sector is the second fastest growing, the third largest contributor to economic growth, and the fourth most productive over the past 40 years.

It found the finance sector was worth $13.5 billion to the economy last year, which is more than agriculture, transport and utilities.

The Financial Services Council said the study showed the sector was at the centre of the economy and people's wealth.

"The industry has (a) unique role in supporting the production of other industries through helping them invest for growth or protecting them through insurance," FSC chief executive Richard Klipin said.

The sector employed just over 57,000 people in 2016, more than half of them women, and a high proportion also in the 25-49 age range.

Mr Klipin acknowledged the sector had had a tough year with inquiries into the practices of bankers and insurers, and scrutiny of practices and commissions of agents.

"We've welcomed that," he said. "In many ways it's held a mirror up to demonstrate what it has to do to improve its standing and conduct within the sector."

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