Spread-betting firm CMC Markets blamed “quieter markets” for a 9 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £48.5 million in its first full year as a public company.
This was despite a 5 per cent rise in active clients and client money at record levels in the year to end-March, having made a pre-tax profit of £53.4m in the previous year.
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CMC, founded by former Conservative party treasurer Peter Cruddas, admitted it had been a “challenging and disappointing” year. A spokesman said that clients were dealing less frequently, but on the positive side were betting more when they were active.
Cruddas said: “It is disappointing that reduced client activity impacted revenue performance for much of the year, but I am pleased that the strength of our platform, team and service proposition has continued to attract new, high quality clients and our existing clients are putting more money to work with us.
“We have continued to make excellent headway with our five strategic initiatives in 2017 and signed the biggest institutional transaction in our history, our partnership with ANZ Bank.”
Simon Waugh, group chairman, said last year had been marked by “sustained periods of lower market volatility, providing fewer trading opportunities for our clients”.
The CMC total dividend is pegged at 8.9p, courtesy of a 5.95p final payment. During the year the active client base rose 5 per cent to 60,082.
The balance sheet also remained strong, with a regulatory total capital ratio of 30 per cent and own funds of £183.4m.
CMC said its new financial year had begun better than in April and May of 2016, although it retained a “cautious outlook”.