Monday 20 January 2020 3:17 pm

Billionaire Icap founder Michael Spencer backs £100m fintech fund

Michael Spencer, City grandee and founder of interdealer broker Icap, has become the cornerstone investor of a new UK fintech fund that is aiming to raise up to £100m. 

Spencer will contribute at least £25m to the new fund, Element Ventures, via his investment vehicle IPGL. 

The fintech fund will focus on emerging firms that are developing technologies tackle challenges faced by the banking and financial services industries. 

The investment is one of the largest made by former Conservative Party treasurer Spencer since he sold his trading technology firm Nex to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for £3.9bn in 2018.

Steve Gibson and Michael McFadgen, two of Element Ventures’ three partners, previously ran Nex’s venture capital division. Former HSBC vice chairman of global banking and markets Spencer Lake is the fund’s third partner.

Element Venture’s website says its principals “are proud to have backed some of the best founders and companies in the industry over the last decade and have had the privilege of investing with the world’s leading financial services and venture firms.”

“If you believe that technology is rewiring our industry the moment is now,” it adds. 

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Private wealth has become a significant source of funding for European venture capital, with research last month showing it had become the main source of funding for the sector as entrepreneurs snub more traditional investments in favour of funding a new generation of startups.

Spencer has built up a personal fortune of around £1bn since founding ICAP in 1986, and has built up a smaller portfolio of personal investments via IPGL since the sale of Nex in 2018.

Through IPGL, he has previously invested in Numis Securities, wealth manager AJ Bell, and English sparkling wine producer Chapel Down.

It was recently reported that Spencer was set to be given a peerage by the government in Boris Johnson’s dissolution honours list. 

A previous attempt to ennoble Spencer four years ago was blocked over Icap’s involvement in the Libor rigging scandal, which led to the broker being fined £60m in 2013 by British and US regulators. Spencer was never personally implicated in any wrongdoing.

Main image: Michael Spencer (credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)