IG Group sees profits jump on volatility

SPREAD betting firm IG Group yesterday said profits jumped by almost a third in the first half, thanks to the demise of MF Global and volatile markets.

The FTSE 250 firm, which posted pre-tax profits of £103.2m for the six months to 30 November, also said it had benefitted from growth overseas and investment in its mobile phone platform.

IG said it grew client numbers by 15 per cent in the six month period while revenue per customer increased by 11 per cent.

It attracted customers who were hit by the collapse of rival MF Global in October, and is now using its strong financial position to attract more clients.

Spread betting involves gambling on market moves so greater market volatility provides the opportunity for greater winnings, attracting additional punters. The firm has also benefitted from expansion overseas, where it focuses on contracts for difference and foreign exchange.

Chief executive Tim Howkins told City A.M. that his company’s success rested on “our ability to invest in technology” and that its position as market leader meant the firm “can afford to spend”.

He revealed that the group has forty employees working solely on development of mobile platforms: “Mobile accounts for 16 per cent of revenue, going up 0.5 per cent a month. We’d like continued volatility but we can grow the market even without it.

“New clients are typically in their mid-to-late 30s, have a little bit more risk capital and want to be more active investors.”