* ICAP says bulk of its FX business electronic
* Reports 1 pct fall in revenues for half-year
* Shares rise 5.7 pct
* Confirms faces three civil suits relating to Libor
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON, Nov 13 ICAP, the world's largest
interdealer broker, said on Wednesday it had no reason to
believe any of its brokers are linked to an alleged manipulation
of foreign exchange markets under investigation by financial
Regulators in the United States, Asia and Europe are looking
into possible manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks, used
to price trillions of dollars worth of investments and deals and
relied upon by companies, investors and central banks.
The company, which makes money by matching buyers and
sellers of bonds, swaps and currencies, said the bulk of its
business in foreign exchange is conducted on electronic
platforms rather than through brokers on the telephone.
On a conference call following publication of its half-year
financial results, the company was asked whether it believed any
staff could be connected to the alleged currency rate fixing.
Group General Counsel Duncan Wales said: "We have no current
reason to believe that."
The foreign exchange allegations have echoes of the Libor
rate rigging scandal, where six institutions have been punished,
including five banks and ICAP. In the Libor case, prosecutors
and regulators have said some of ICAP's brokers acted as
conduits for information at the centre of the scheme.
ICAP was fined $87 million by British and U.S. authorities
in September over the role of its brokers in Libor-rigging.
Criminal charges were also filed against three of its former
ICAP's foreign exchange and money markets business includes
dealing in spot and forwards, cash products and a joint venture
in FX options, as well as its electronic trading platform EBS.
The firm made about a fifth of its revenues from foreign
exchange and money markets in the six months to September 30,
with the largest portion coming from trading on EBS.
Across its businesses, ICAP reported a 1 percent fall in
half-year revenue on Wednesday, slightly behind analyst
expectations, as lower volumes in euro markets offset increased
volatility in U.S. interest rates.
The broker said revenue for the six months to end September
was 736 million pounds, compared to 746 million pounds a year
earlier. Analysts had expected first half revenue of 742.5
million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Despite the revenue fall investors greeted the results
positively, sending shares in ICAP up 5.7 percent by 0915 GMT,
ahead of a 0.5 percent fall in the FTSE 250.
Last week, rival Tullett Prebon said its revenues
had fallen 9 percent in the third-quarter.
ICAP's pretax profits came in at 139 million pounds, up 1
percent from 2012. Chief executive Michael Spencer said the
numbers were boosted by cost-cutting.
Statutory pre-tax profits fell 41 percent to 40 million
pounds for the period, dragged down by settlement payments and
legal fees connected to Libor-related investigations.
The firm continues to cooperate with the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission's inquiries into the setting of the
ISDAfix benchmark, ICAP also said.
ICAP also said it has been added as a named defendant to
three civil litigations against Libor and Tibor setting banks in
the United States. ICAP's name was added earlier this year, and
the company intends to defend the claims vigorously, it said.