The past 12 months have seen notable rise in the prioritization of the communications function by senior management of financial services companies and an increase in the influence of the communications function with internal stakeholders, according to a survey of 211 senior financial services professionals conducted by VMA Group, the specialist corporate communications, PR and investor relations executive recruiter.

Feedback from investment and wholesale banking communicators in particular highlighted a stark rise in the prioritization of communications since the 2008 crash. More than half (52 percent) of respondents reported to the C-suite, and 75 percent of these individuals felt confident that communications was prioritized by their senior management.

Retaining public reputation and client satisfaction were rated as the main concern for financial services communications professionals. A large number of respondents also added that developing and maintaining strong communications strategies within an ever-changing regulatory environment was a major challenge for their teams.

Half (50 percent) of respondents reported that their clients had increased their media activity in the last two years, perhaps as a reaction to negative press affecting the financial services sector. There was, however, little rise in the demand for social media engagement seen by retained communications agencies.