Broker owned by ex-Lehman pair thrives

THE LONDON commodities broker run by two former Lehman Brothers executives has cashed in on months of global turmoil to increase sales and profit, the firm’s results show.

Marex Spectron, which is controlled by JRG, a private equity house run by Jeremy Isaacs, the former head of Lehman in Europe and Asia, and Roger Nagioff, a former head of global fixed income at Lehman, said it had increased sales by nearly half, on the back of an “astonishing” performance from agriculture products.

Accounts filed this week for Marex Financial, which handles commodity derivatives, financial futures and foreign exchange, show revenue rose 52 per cent to £141.2m.

Operating profit went up 71 per cent to £13.6m for the year to 31 March and the pre-tax figure dipped 13 per cent to £13.31m.

The boom in commodities prices, particularly in grain, coffee and cocoa, as well as rising oil prices and demand for metals, helped drive the growth, according to the directors’ report.

“Despite the positive sentiment, markets experienced sporadic volatility due to the uncertainty on the timing and strength of the economic growth, ongoing debt crisis in peripheral Europe as well as geo-political events situations. Such volatility helps drive the volumes, which is beneficial for the company,” it said.

The foreign exchange desk was hit by the loss of “a couple of major clients” but the futures and options operation saw business increase.

In July Marex Spectron bought a broking unit of Eden Financial, its second acquisition in recent months. Marex bought Spectron in late May from Imarex ASA for around £95m to expand its energy and commodities business.

Isaacs was once touted as a possible replacement for Lehman chief executive Dick Fuld but left the investment bank in September 2008 and later denied he had been interested in the position.

JRJ‚Äąbought a majority stake in Marex two years ago for an unknown sum, although Isaacs described it as “several hundred million” pounds. No-one from Marex could be reached for comment yesterday.