A shark attacked a surfer in Byron Bay

The Confederation of British Industry has revealed that Britain's financial industry has recorded the fastest growth since 1996 in the final three months of last year.

According to the CBI's latest report, the quarterly financial services business volume index hit +57 in December, from +49 in September last year.

"The upswing in growth among financial services firms continues on a solid footing, with overall optimism, business volumes and profits up," said Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI's director of economics.

"A strengthening of household finances, continued low interest rates and the recent changes to stamp duty (property transaction tax) suggest that conditions in the sector should pick up ahead."

The financial services industry accounts for around 10% of the UK economy.

In December, TheCityUK said employment in the financial and related professional services industry is at its highest level since the outset of the financial crisis in 2008.

The group said that the 2.1 million people now working in the industry across the nation are also around 80% more productive than other sectors in the UK.

According TheCityUK data, the average worker in financial and related professional services contributes £85,000 to the UK economy per year, which is nearly nearly double that of the £47,000 contributed by the average worker in other sectors.