L Securities, the resurgent City broker, made the first loss in its decade-long history last year after corporate finance fees fell to a four-year low, annual accounts show.
Oriel, which has since returned to an even keel after securing a tie-up with Canadian outfit CIBC last month, saw turnover fall 22 per cent in the year ending December 2012, down to £24.7m.
This led to an operating loss of £3.9m after £1.25m of exceptional costs as part of its redundancy programme.
“2012 was a challenging year for the group,” the company said. “Having invested in the business and grown headcount, market conditions deteriorated and our expected revenues did not materialise.”
Chief executive Simon Bragg returned to lead the firm in February 2013 after former boss David Knox stood down after just five months in the job.
Last week the firm announced a new healthcare and cleanteach team hired from broker Nomura Code.