Evolution's top pair receive £3m each after profits leap

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The Independent Online

Richard Griffiths and Alex Snow, the chairman and the chief executive of the stockbroker Evolution, received a total pay package of about £3m each last year.

Richard Griffiths and Alex Snow, the chairman and the chief executive of the stockbroker Evolution, received a total pay package of about £3m each last year.

The bulk of their pay packages came from bonus payments and awards made to the two executives when the firm sold its stake in the patents company, IP2IPO, for £52.8m.

Evolution's profits surged last year despite a fine from the Financial Services Authority and other problems.

Both executives each received a base salary of £100,000, a cash bonus of £1.59m and benefits worth £11,000 last year. On top of that, Mr Griffiths made £1.329m out of the IP2IPO stake sale while Mr Snow received £1.246m. That took Mr Griffiths' total pay to £3.030m from £1.235m in 2003, while Mr Snow's pay rose to £2.947m from £1.482m. Mr Griffiths also received 1.125 million share options, according to the company's annual report, at an exercise price of £1. These are currently worth £511,875.

Evolution, which was fined £500,000 in November for market abuse and had to reshuffle its market-making desk, unveiled a jump in annual pre-tax profits to £48m from £18m in March and said it would return £120m to shareholders over the next three years. It had amassed a cash pile of £168m by the end of last year partly from asset sales, compared with only £25m four years ago when it was founded.

Mr Griffiths sounded a positive note on the firm's performance in the first three months of the year: "Our businesses are all continuing to progress well," he wrote in the annual report.

The company has sought to put last year's problems behind it. Several of its flotations - BetonSports, Plant HealthCare and Medical Solutions - issued profits warnings months after listing, leading some fund managers to say they were losing confidence in Evolution. That was compounded by the FSA fine, imposed for distorting the market in the small-cap company Room Service. The head of the market-making desk, Chris Potts, was fined and quit. Evolution reshuffled the desk, appointed a new head of risk and invested in new technology.

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