James Moore: Tullett staff won't go far

Outlook: The sector heavyweight is Icap and it's not going anywhere

Talking of bonuses, Tullett Prebon has told its staff it will help them head for the exit thanks to the bonus super tax. Tullett's is, of course, a money broker and there has been a string of lurid court cases that have not shown this part of the City in an attractive light. For that reason alone, it's tempting to say "good riddance".

But there's more than a whiff of (bad) PR about its statement yesterday. Because it's not yet clear that the bonus tax even applies to the money broking sector anyway (there's an awful lot about the tax that isn't very clear). Even if it does, Tullett Prebon may well be taking a cut out of its nose to spite its face. The sector heavyweight is Icap and it's not going anywhere.

That might in part be because its founder, Michael Spencer, is a Conservative treasurer and such a move would be electoral poison to his party. But there are sound business reasons for staying put too. Money broking remains a client-centred business and if Tullett moves its staff out, Icap and other London-based brokers will be beating down the doors of those clients with their cheque books and expense accounts at the ready. For that reason, Tullett's staff may enjoy the minaret-free skyline of Geneva for a while, but it won't be long before they're back.

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