Broker ICAP reports flat revenues


Broker ICAP has reported no change in half-year revenues following the impact of uncertainty in financial markets.

The firm reported revenues of £867m for the six months to the end of September, unchanged on the same period last year.

ICAP, which matches buyers and sellers of currency or securities such as bonds, said its business had been affected by "extraordinary times."

"The climate of uncertainty is inevitably creating risk aversion," said chief executive Michael Spencer.

He went on to blame "global imbalances" and the effects of the eurozone crisis.

Analysts reduced their forecasts for ICAP on the news and its share price fell by about 5%.

"The shares have underperformed the market on fears of weaker profits from reduced market volumes and the regulatory risks including the proposed Tobin Tax [on financial firms]," said Oriel Securities.

'Profound' changes

ICAP is the largest interdealer broker in Europe and its key business focuses on transactions for financial institutions such as banks.

A new European Union directive announced in October 2011 will force the firm to face new competition from clearing houses such as the London Stock Exchange, which reported a jump in half-year profits on Wednesday.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive aims to make trading easier across the borders of European countries.

ICAP said the legislation would "profoundly change the overall structure of the financial industry."

These changes would oblige "brokers to adapt their offering to cater to new regulatory and customer needs".

The new rules will be implemented by 2015.

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