* Q3 profit and revenues up
* Ukraine crisis presenting trading opportunities
* Revenue per client rising as focuses on bigger accounts
By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, March 18 Shares in Britain's IG Group
rose on Tuesday after the financial spread betting firm
reported a 9 percent rise in third-quarter profit and said its
full-year revenue would be ahead of the previous year.
IG's shares were up 1.5 percent at 639.5 pence at 1000 GMT,
among the top gainers on the FTSE 250 index, which was
down 0.5 percent.
The company, which provides online trading in shares,
indexes, foreign exchange, commodities and binary options, said
revenue in the three months to Feb. 28 rose to 96.7 million
pounds ($161 million) from 88.6 million in the same period a
The uplift came as financial market conditions improved,
with investors responding to greater clarity regarding the
tapering of the U.S. Federal Reserve's money printing programme
and weaker-than-anticipated Chinese economic data, IG said.
It added it was on track to deliver full-year revenue ahead
of the prior year, assuming conditions remain supportive in the
fourth quarter. It reported annual revenue of 361.9 million
pounds in 2013.
Chief Executive Tim Howkins told Reuters IG has had a
positive start to the fourth quarter, with the potential
break-up of Ukraine providing opportunities to trade.
"Certainly there have been some big market moves in the last
10 days or so, which suggests the markets are keeping an eye on
what's happening in Russia and in Crimea.
"How long that continues remains to be seen, but certainly
the quarter has started off reasonably well," he said, noting
that last year's fourth quarter was exceptionally strong and
would make a tough comparison.
Full-year operating costs were also expected to be lower as
hiring was taking longer than anticipated.
Howkins said the company, which is looking to bolster its
technology divisions, has found it difficult to find staff with
the right skills, particularly developers for Google's
Android mobile software.
"You end up paying more than you want to pay to get the
right skills," he said.
There was evidence that IG's strategy to focus on more
active clients who produce a greater share of revenue was taking
effect, with revenue per client higher across all its markets.
In the UK, revenue per client rose 24 percent, while the
number of active clients sank 11 percent. IG said low value
clients were responsible for the drop off.
Sales were ahead in most markets, with Europe showing the
strongest growth of 19 percent.
IG said its business in Singapore and Japan was weaker due
to quiet foreign exchange markets.
Howkins said the company's plans to launch a stock broking
service in the second half of the year remained on course. A
small pilot group of clients will test the service in the summer
before offering it to more clients in the autumn, he added.
He gave no update on further geographic expansion, a central
plank in the group's strategy, but said it was closer to getting
its Swiss office up and running.