Share­hold­ers seek City heavy­weight for TP Icap

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By Lucy Bur­ton

IN­VESTORS are seek­ing a City big hit­ter to re­place the out­go­ing chair­man of strug­gling bro­ker TP Icap, ac­cus­ing the board of be­ing “asleep at the wheel”.

One top-five share­holder said that for­mer Lon­don Stock Ex­change chief Xavier Ro­let, who helped the ex­change’s mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion grow from £800m to £13bn, would be an “in­spi­ra­tional ap­point­ment” for the un­der-pres­sure bro­ker.

“As share­hold­ers we have been pretty unim­pressed by the out­go­ing chair­man. The board has been asleep at the wheel whilst the Tul­lett Pre­bon and Icap busi­nesses should have been in­te­grated [af­ter merg­ing in 2016],” the share­holder said.

“A chair­man with past ex­pe­ri­ence of fi­nan­cial ser­vices and M&A in­te­gra­tion is es­sen­tial.”

An­other group of in­vestors are un­der­stood to be try­ing to drum up sup­port for Tul­lett Pre­bon’s for­mer boss Terry Smith, one of Bri­tain’s best­known fund man­agers, who ran TP Icap’s legacy busi­ness un­til 2014 and is the founder of Fund­smith. In­sid­ers say he is not be­ing con­sid­ered for the role.

“They’re too scared he’ll tell them he’s not in­ter­ested. We are sure he would con­sider it,” said a well-placed City source. “What TP Icap need to do to get staff, in­vestors and clients back on board is to re-es­tab­lish their iden­tity. There are two peo­ple that could do that, [Icap founder] Michael Spencer or Terry Smith, and it won’t be Michael.”

An­other top five share­holder de­scribed the calls to bring Mr Smith back as an “old boys’ club in ac­tion” and said he was not their num­ber one choice. Head­hunter Rus­sell Reynolds is search­ing for a re­place­ment.

TP Icap is still bat­tling to pick it­self back up af­ter its chief ex­ec­u­tive John Phiza­ck­er­ley, the in­vest­ment banker who re­placed Mr Smith and merged Tul­lett Pre­bon with Icap’s voice broking busi­ness, was abruptly sacked fol­low­ing a profit warn­ing in July. Shares are down 49pc for the year to date.

Mr Ro­let and Mr Smith did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. A spokesman for TP Icap de­clined to com­ment.

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