Icap weathers the tough times with cost cutting

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The Independent Online

Michael Spencer, the chief executive of broking giant Icap, yesterday declared that "the last four years have been the worst time in financial markets and we are certainly not out of it yet".

Mr Spencer added: "There is no short-term light at the end of the tunnel, considering which we did pretty well in the last year."

Despite a 3 per cent fall in revenues to £1.68bn, profits for the year to March rose 1 per cent to £354m. The dividend for the year goes up 10 per cent to 22p, meaning Mr Spencer and his family will collect £23.7m. Mr Spencer said the improvement in earnings had come almost entirely from cost cutting. "We have saved £20m a year over the last 12 months and now plan to save at least £50m a year by the end of 2014."

Part of the savings came from smaller bonuses, with annual staff costs down from £1bn to £960m despite a rise in staff from 4,900 to 5,100.

Mr Spencer also predicts that the voice-driven area of interdealer broking must consolidate.

He said: "There are five big players out there at the moment when there is really only room for three or perhaps four."