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The 2017 Tech 40: Michael Spencer

  • By Peter Vasiliev

8. Michael Spencer
Chief Executive Officer
NEX Group
Last year: 13

There is a lot of talk, particularly in mature industries like financial services, about the need to reinvent. Michael Spencer has done it. At the end of last year, he completed the £1.3 billion ($1.67 billion) sale of the voice brokerage business of ICAP, the London-based interdealer firm he founded in 1986, to Tullett Prebon. The part of ICAP that he kept, NEX Group, is "not an interdealer broker," he stresses, but "a fintech company with world-class assets." NEX Group consists of NEX Markets, the electronic trading unit formerly called EBS BrokerTec; and NEX Optimisation, which includes Traiana, TriOptima, and other post-trade risk and information services offerings. With 1,800 employees worldwide, NEX is hardly the typical fintech start-up, and it has been quick to produce results: Revenue from continuing operations increased 18 percent for the year ended March 31, to £543 million ($695 million), with the operating profit margin slipping 3 percentage points, to 27 percent. NEX's share price has climbed from, £4.97 on January 3 to £6.46 on July 13. "The results were well received, and in fact the whole transformation to NEX has been well received, and now it is important to look forward," says Spencer, 62, who describes the process of letting ICAP go as "emotionally and commercially difficult." A sign of how different NEX culture is: "We have hackathons," Spencer says. "I didn't know that was a word five years ago." Whereas the old ICAP was known for its sponsorship of the record-holding racing yacht Leopard, NEX has signed on as global sponsor of the XBlades — now NEXXBlades — drone-racing team. Spencer says drone technology is "exciting and cutting-edge" and will tie in nicely with the "slightly futuristic" connotation of the NEX brand name. NEX does tap into a cutting-edge start-up pipeline via the strategic investment portfolio of NEX Optimisation's Euclid Opportunities. Two Euclid holdings, regulatory reporting company Abide Financial and ENSO Financial Analytics, were acquired by NEX (then ICAP) last year. The current portfolio includes blockchain developers Axoni and Digital Asset Holdings, financial software desktop innovator OpenFin, and financial research management platform RSRCHXchange.


The 2017 Tech 40
1. Adena Friedman
NASDAQ
2. Catherine Bessant
Bank of
America Corp.
3. Robert Goldstein
BlackRock
4. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
5. Lance Uggla
IHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad Kliatchko
Bloomberg
7. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
8. Michael Spencer
NEX Group
9. Don Callahan
Citigroup
10. Elisha Wiesel
Goldman Sachs Group
11. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
12. Terrence Duffy
CME Group
13. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
14. Sean Belka
Fidelity Investments
15. Chris Concannon
CBOE Holdings
16. Guy Chiarello
First Data Corp.
17. Steven Lieblich
Citadel
18. David Rutter
R3CEV
19. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
20. Alfred Spector
Two Sigma Investments
21. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw Group
22. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
23. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
24. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
25. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies
28. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
29. Peter Cherecwich
Northern Trust Corp.
30. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
32. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
Numerix
35. Sebastián Ceria
Axioma
36. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives and Kx Systems
37. Tyler Kim
MaplesFS
38. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
39. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
40. Jim Minnick
eVestment

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