Even this veteran must have been surprised, however, by the gloom which gripped the City late last year, perhaps explaining why Tullett cut around 80 brokers in the second half – equivalent to five per cent – and warned of “further actions” to come in 2012.
What it appears to tell us is that Smith wants to avoid being tarred with the same brush as global leader Icap, which seven weeks ago posted a dip in earnings for the six months to September.
Market conditions have hardly improved since Tullett took the axe to its brokers but yesterday sources said “people had expected things to be worse [at Tullett] than they are”.
Analysts were divided on the update and the broker’s shares hardly moved, reflecting the fact that Tullett remains at the mercy of “unsettled” markets in the Eurozone and beyond.
Smith is rarely lost for words but, for once, this straight-talker will have to simply sit tight and wait to see how the interminable Eurosaga plays out in the City.