UPDATE 2-Tullett Prebon cuts 210 jobs as revenue falls 15 pct

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:40am EDT

* Interdealer broker cutting 210 jobs

* H1 revenue falls 15 percent to 360.3 mln stg

* Underlying profit before tax falls 30 percent to 43.2 mln stg (Adds share price, analyst comment, details, background)

By Clare Hutchison

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - Interdealer broker Tullett Prebon is cutting around 210 jobs after revenues fell 15 percent in the first half, as the company tries to cut costs to cope with big changes in its industry where regulators are cracking down on risk.

Tullett, whose brokers match buyers and sellers of currencies, bonds and swaps, is cutting around 160 front office and 50 back office roles from its 2,328-strong workforce. Its annual fixed costs will be reduced by 40 million pounds ($68 million), rather than the 20 million pounds it anticipated earlier.

It is also paying its brokers less. Compensation as a percentage of broking revenue was 56.7 percent in the first half, 1.5 percentage points lower than a year ago, the company said on Tuesday.

Like rival ICAP, which said earlier this month it was shrinking its voice broking division, Tullett has stepped up its cost-cutting because of the tough environment.

Revenues have declined as investment banks pull back from risky trading activities to comply with new rules brought in after the financial crisis, while ultra-low interest rates have further reduced banks' scope to trade.

A regulatory push to force more derivatives trading onto electronic platforms in a bid to make the market more open and safer has also hit trading volumes.

"The overall level of activity in the financial markets has been subdued for the last two years reflecting persistently low volatility, the more onerous regulatory environment for our customers which has reduced their risk appetite and their willingness and ability to trade," Tullett said.

"We expect that the benefit of the actions being taken to further reduce headcount and other fixed costs will be reflected in the results for the second half of this year," it said, noting that the annualised operating profit benefit was estimated to be 35 million pounds.

SHARES RISE

Tullett shares, which have fallen 35 percent so far this year, were up 5.5 percent to 252.1 pence at 0956 GMT, against a 0.6 percent higher FTSE index of small- and mid-cap companies .

"Tullett Prebon is clearly operating in an extremely difficult environment but is at least focusing on what it can actually control," Espirito Santo analyst Phil Dobbin said in a note to clients.

Tullett earlier reported first half revenue was 360.3 million pounds ($611.5 million), 15 percent lower than a year earlier. Underlying profit before tax was down more than 30 percent to 43.2 million pounds.

The interim dividend was unchanged at 5.6 pence per share.

Tullett has also been seeking to develop certain parts of its business to diversify revenue streams. It said in May it had agreed to buy independent oil broker PVM, one of four major players in broking over the counter oil products in London. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

It has built up its electronic broking, information sales and risk management units. Revenue from those operations accounted for 30 percent of total revenue in the first half, Tullett said.

Tullett's Chief Executive Terry Smith is stepping down at the end of August. He will be succeeded by former Nomura and Lehman Brothers executive John Phizackerley.

($1 = 0.5885 British Pounds) (Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Erica Billingham and Jane Merriman)