TP ICAP cautious despite boost from coronavirus market turmoil

Inter-dealer broking giant TP ICAP has seen sales surge by nearly a fifth in the first quarter thanks to stock market volatility amid the coronavirus crisis.

The City firm, which is the world’s largest inter-dealer broker, posted a 17% leap in revenues to £547 million for the first quarter as trading volumes surged in March.

But it said trading activity returned to more normal levels in April and kept its full-year guidance for a low single-digit rise in revenues unchanged.

It comes after stock markets worldwide crashed in March as the world began going into lockdown to try and control the spread of Covid-19.

The FTSE 100 Index tanked by 5,000 points in March, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street lost almost a quarter of its value in a dreadful first three months of 2020.

But as central banks worldwide took emergency action to shore up the financial system and economies, markets have since regained some of their poise.

Nicolas Breteau, chief executive of TP ICAP, said: “Our group has performed strongly in the first quarter, but it is too early to fully assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to our full year outlook.

“We will use everything we have learned in the past few weeks to strengthen our business further as the financial world slowly returns to more normal conditions and in the meantime we approach the remainder of 2020 with confidence.”

Its update showed revenues jumped 10% in its global broking division, while its energy and commodities arm enjoyed a 26% surge to £118 million.

Shore Capital analyst Vivek Raja praised ICAP’s handling of the crisis.

He said: “Disruption from Covid-19 presented significant technological, management and regulatory challenges.

“Nevertheless, the business has impressively accommodated the sharp increase in volumes during the first quarter with the majority of employees working from home and there has been no reduction or furloughing in the permanent workforce.”