There are a few familiar City faces in the list of Conservative party donors who have “privately” dined with the Prime Minister at No 10…
(H/T the New Statesman) Read more
Breaking pre-market news on Tuesday,
- HSBC placing 6m Icap shares for chief executive Michael Spencer — statement. Read more
Another unpleasant surprise for the shareholders of ICAP, the inter-dealer broker run by outgoing Conservative party chairman Michael Spencer.
From RNS on Monday: Read more
Michael Spencer, founder of inter-dealer broker Icap and Conservative party co-treasurer, has sold his stake in Numis, which was part of a package of shares pledged against loans to his private company, and stepped down as chairman of the City broker. His 12% holding in Numis was included along with the bulk of his Icap stake in the securities used as collateral for a loan from HSBC to the Intercapital Private Group, an investment vehicle in which Spencer, his estranged wife and his children’s trusts own a 55.1% stake. Read more
First it was donor David Ross and three weeks later its treasurer Michael Spencer.
Does anyone else want to fess up? Read more
Michael Spencer, founder of inter-dealer broker Icap, is ploughing tens of millions of dollars into a new hedge fund to profit from frontier markets in Africa and the Middle East amid a rush of money into the region. IPGL, Spencer’s family investment vehicle, is teaming up with a US financial consultant to put $125m of seed capital into Insparo Asset Management’s first fund, which will launch this month.
The seed investors – which include Exotix, the emerging market broker controlled by IPGL – will receive a stake in Insparo. Read more
Is Icap manoeuvring to take on the biggest equities houses at their own game?
FT Alphaville understands that Glenn Poulter, the head of Citi’s European cash equities business, is moving to the interdealer broker to spearhead its expansion into equities. Read more
Icap, the world’s largest interdealer broker, on Thursday said that most of its possible acquisition targets were overpriced and all but ruled out returning cash to shareholders despite having £300m at its disposal. Michael Spencer, chief executive, said that prices of targets were so high that most deals would be unlikely to benefit shareholders. But he said he wanted to hold his cash and borrowing capacity in reserve to allow him to pounce if a bargain emerged. Mr Spencer’s comments came as the company reported that pre-tax profit in the year to March 31 rose 11 per cent from to £214m. The shares fell 2p to 528p because there was little in the results to prompt earnings forecast upgrades. Read more
Europe’s stock exchanges have taken “outrageous” advantage of their monopoly pricing power in recent years and are certain to see it challenged as competition in share trading emerges, said Michael Spencer, chief executive and founder of Icap, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker. In an FT interview, Mr Spencer said the LSE was Europe’s worst offender and predicted that share trading, the LSE’s principal business, would become a commodity service for which users were only prepared to pay very low prices. He also sought to dispel rumours that Icap had been approached by Deutsche Börse last week and said he was not interested in selling his 21 per cent Icap stake. Read more
Michael Spencer’s Icap bonds and derivatives dealer has bought JE Hyde, the ship broker, for an undisclosed sum in a move that cements its position in the rapidly growing freight derivatives business, reports the Times. JE Hyde has staff of 54 and assets of £1m, making it a mid-market player in the business of broking the sale and hire of ships. It specialises in carriers for coal and steel, known as dry cargo shipping, but it also has offshoots involved in shipping market research, yacht broking and shipping website design. Buying the company will increase Icap’s opportunities to broker derivatives for ship cargos. Icap also sees ownership of JE Hyde as a chance to expand its exposure to China, whose economic resurgence has made it a huge user of ship hire for the export of goods overseas. Read more
For all the talk – and the substance – about London’s rise as a global financial centre, the investment banks and brokers that dominate London are foreign, notes the FT’s John Gapper in his column, lamenting the failed 1980s and 1990s efforts by British banks such as SG Warburg to expand internationally.
That is why, he says, the “unseemly scuffle” that has broken out in the US Treasuries market between Tullett Prebon and eSpeed, an electronic trading platform controlled by the US broker, Cantor Fitzgerald, provides a small moment of patriotic British pride. It is the latest bout in a global contest that British financial services firms, for once, are winning. Read more
A ceasefire between two of the City’s biggest hitters has ended after Terry Smith’s Tullett Prebon attempted to poach an inter-dealer broker from rival Michael Spencer’s ICAP, reports the Daily Telegraph. The resumption of hostilities – after less than two years of peace – reopens one of the most bitter battles in the Square Mile. Evidence that Tullett Prebon attempted to “tap up” one of ICAP’s brokers was revealed in a legal filing made at the High Court. The latest dispute over poaching involves Daniele Cappelletto, a broker on ICAP’s European repo desk. Tullett Prebon is suing Mr Cappelletto for alleged breach of contract, claiming losses that could run into millions of pounds based on lost revenues and damages. One senior employment lawyer said that this was a particularly aggressive tactic, as past disputes of this kind had involved the firms rather than the individuals. Read more
Icap recorded volumes on its electronic platform of more than $1,000bn a day twice last week – 60 per cent higher than normal – as dealers in more than 40 countries made the most of global market volatility. Tradings volumes on the LSE also soared, with volumes up more than 17 per cent from preceding weeks. Volumes last Tuesday, when stock market ructions began, leapt more than 91 per cent from Monday and stayed more than 50 per cent higher than normal until Friday. Michael Spencer, chief executive, said its trading volumes topped 220,000 transactions on Wednesday and Thursday, its highest ever,, roughly twice average daily volumes a year ago. Read more