Icap revenue up as trading activity rises

THE WORLD’S largest inter-dealer broker Icap expects first-half sales to come in nine per cent stronger than last year as trading activity picked up again following the financial crisis.

Icap yesterday said the active high frequency markets had boosted its post trade business and electronic broking division, which in September pioneered first electronic market for trading interest rate swaps.

Icap chief executive Michael Spencer said politicians and regulators “should be thrilled” by the firm’s work in setting up the new platform, which would make the market more “resilient, robust and transparent” – a key concern in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Spencer said the firm’s current level of performance should put it on course to hit analyst expectations over the full year to March, with current pre-tax profit forecasts falling within the range of £333m to £357m.

Icap posted a pre-tax profit of £333m in the previous financial year, though this year’s results will be impacted by higher borrowing costs after the group refinanced its debt at the turn of the year.

Last week, Icap filed a lawsuit against 38 of its Singapore brokers and its Swiss rival Compagnie Financiere Tradition, in an attempt to stop the staff leaving the business. Spencer yesterday admitted that the situation remains uncertain, but added that its potential impact is “not currently regarded as likely to be material” to the group’s results.