Icap to close its full-service cash equities division

ICAP, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker, yesterday said it would axe 114 jobs and shoulder a £51m accounting charge from the wind-down of a large part of its struggling cash equities business, scuppering hopes of a sale of the division.

Icap is to cut the sales and research portion of its full service agency cash equities business in Europe and Asia, though it will retain its long-standing execution-only cash equities operations in London.

Confirmation of the closure came despite reports last week which suggested Icap was close to finding a buyer for the division, which contributed to a shock profit warning from Icap last month.

Chief executive Michael Spencer said the decision to branch out into full-service broking had “failed to match up to expectations”.

Panmure Gordon analyst Vivek Rana said the move to wind down the division was “proactive”, but added that the news “may result in the market questioning the future of Icap’s historically successful acquisition strategy”.

Spencer, who is also treasurer of the Conservative party, is set to step down from his political role later this year to concentrate on his role at Icap.