Independent financial advisers bullish about the UK economy. REUTERS

Over three quarters of UK independent financial advisers (IFAs), a cautious breed by nature, see a positive outlook for the economy in 2014, according to research from the business intelligence company, Matrix Solutions.

The firm surveyed nearly 300 IFAs from across the UK and found that 78% of respondents said that they were optimistic things would improve in the next year.

"This research is further evidence that confidence is returning to the market," said Ian Beaumont, chief executive at Matrix Solutions.

Furthermore, 82% of IFAs said they needed to speak to fewer than 10 (7.2) prospects to win new business.

Just 4% of respondents to the Voice of the Adviser survey said they thought the economy would worsen, compared with 55% in 2011.

Nearly three quarters or 73% expect to see an increase in client numbers this year, compared to 51% in 2012, while those expecting to see a decrease has fallen from 27% to just 7%.

Simon Leadbetter, founder of Blue & Green Tomorrow that also took part in the survey praised the results but said they should be treated with caution.

He said: "It is encouraging to see that advisers are more confident about the economic recovery. However, this new found confidence should be treated with caution. The recovery is fragile and by no means certain.

"Advisers should therefore maintain a watching brief over the state of the industry and work to make their propositions relevant in the market place."

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), has upgraded its forecast for UK growth to 2.5% from a previous 2% estimate.

And consumer credit, in the form of credit cards, mortgages, car financing and personal loans, is expected to rise by 3.1% in 2014 to £164bn (€197.2bn, $269.1bn) after edging up to 0.8% in 2013, according to accountancy major Ernst & Young.