Tullett blames staff exodus for profit fall

INTER-DEALER broker Tullett Prebon blamed a “raid” on its US employees by rival BGC Partners for an 11 per cent drop in its full-year pre-tax profit yesterday.

Tullett Prebon, the world’s second-largest broking intermediary, said pre-tax profit fell to £139.7m from £157.0m in 2009 while earnings per share fell to 46.4p from 49.2p the previous year. Analysts had expected a profit of £142m.

Chairman Keith Hamill said revenues shrank four per cent to £908.5m from £947.7m in 2009, “mainly due to the net effect of the broker defections in North America following the raid by BGC in the second half of 2009”.

Its shares fell 6.3 per cent in trading yesterday before closing down 1.4 per cent at 420p.

Tullett said a court case in London against BGC and ten former Tullett brokers had found in Tullett’s favour in March last year and damages would be decided at a trial this month.

“The judge held that there was an unlawful conspiracy between BGC and its two senior directors to poach the company’s employees,” Tullett said. “The company is seeking substantial damages from BGC.”

It said further cases against former employees and BGC were continuing in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tullett said financial markets remained “unsettled” and it “seems reasonable to expect there will be periods of volatility” throughout 2011.