NUCLEUS Financial chief executive David Ferguson has said the firm has noted a “marked downturn” in job applications from citizens of European Union countries amid upward pressure on salaries as uncertainty about Brexit drags on.

The comments from the head of one of Scotland’s most successful financial technology firms highlight the challenges faced by firms in a key sector amid competition for staff with the right skills.

Read more: Mix of skills on offer in Scotland give country clout in fast-growing market

They may stoke concern about the impact of any resolution to the Brexit saga that makes it harder for Scottish firms to recruit experts from overseas.

Speaking after Edinburgh-based Nucleus posted strong first half results, Mr Ferguson noted the firm has been able to recruit the staff it needs.

However, he added: “We are definitely seeing upward pressure on salaries especially in technology areas.”

The resulting pressure on salaries is most obvious in specialisms such as software development.

Read more: Nucleus Financial raises £32m after listing on Aim market

Nucleus has been investing heavily in technology development as it looks to maintain the strong growth it has achieved in the market to provide online platforms that people can use to monitor their investment portfolios.

The company made progress on key measures in the six months to June 30 although market volatility created complications.

The total value of assets under administration on the company’s systems increased by 6.9 per cent to £15.3 billion from £14.3bn. By contrast, the FTSE All-share index fell 3.5% over the same period.

The number of advisers using the platform increased to 1,383 from 1,357 over the past year.

Revenues rose 4%, to £25.2m from £24.2m.

Underlying earnings fell by 5.8%, to £4.6m from £4.9m.

Signalling confidence, directors declared an interim dividend of 1.5p per share, up 7% from 1.4p last time.

Shares in Aim market-listed Nucleus closed down 2.5p at 155p.