As profitability is more difficult to find than prior to the financial crisis, 2014 will be a year of foundational investment for the financial markets, with the primary focus on investment in IT infrastructure.

This is according to a new research from Ovum, a leading global analyst firm.

According to this report, this investment is required for finding new opportunities to drive profit, by moving into new markets, trading venues, geographies and asset classes, while managing this additional complexity.

Over two thirds of respondents queried on infrastructure spending forecasted an increase of between one and six percent in their outlay.

Meanwhile, the ongoing volatility in global markets is making profitability a challenge and, as a result, customer loyalty is declining.

"Financial markets will face two main challenges in 2014, with the difficulties of achieving profits in a post-financial crisis environment and complying with the ever-increasing raft of rules and regulations," said Rik Turner, senior analyst, financial services technology, Ovum. "This will drive an increase in IT infrastructure spending, as well as a focus on servicing systems to improve customer loyalty levels.

"Regulatory compliance will continue to be a particularly large area of spending," comments Turner. "The ever-increasing range of rules and regulations is requiring large investments and is currently consuming as much as 40% of overall IT budgets across the financial markets."

This is supported by Ovum's ICT Enterprise Insights - the largest survey of senior IT executives ever conducted - which reveals that navigating the tsunami of regulation around the globe, particularly in North America and Europe, the two largest trading regions, requires significant investment in IT systems.