Bad year for OptiverQuote magazine and the comments over here have been a lot faster in reporting the free fall of Optiver’s profits. After a long series of steep rising profits, the company made a lousy 6.3 million EUR. To put it in perspective, that’s peanuts compared with 2008 (228m), 2007 (179) and also 2006 (99) and 2005 (41) were a lot better.

The profits are down the drain, but there’s still some serious revenue generated. 263 million compared to 710 million a year earlier. The heavy overhead is ruining the party. The revenue is broadly the same as in 2006, but this time the costs are 90 million heavier.

Although financially a wasted year, they have been growing in human capital. The year ended with 650 full time employees, up from 527 in 2008. On a steady basis they seem to be expanding with a staff of 100 people every year. I always assumed Kaemingk had a few times more programmers and IT staff than traders, but it turns out 2009 was the very first year with IT personnel outnumbering the traders.

Salaries higher, bonuses evaporated

Let’s combine the increasing head count and decreasing profits to more interesting figures. The average salary was 63.230 per year – or a decent 5.250 per month. A lot more than 2008, with an average salary of 53.500 (or 4.450 per month). This is excluding the limited expenses on social security costs, pension costs and of course excluding the bonus. A total sum of 17,4 million has been paid out, which translates into a tiny 27.000 average. Compare this with the average bonus over 2008 : 179.000. The partners are included in the headcount. Unsure whether or not the board is included in the short term benefits. Looks like the average trader for Optiver didn’t pocket much last year.

Other small details. Investment in TOM has been less than a million, and Optiver is committed to investing in total 1.7 million. And well, the IT equipment is valued at 47 million. Sounds expensive. Maybe necessary when taking pride in trading on 40 exchanges. For those interested, here’s the full annual report. Comments, corrections and insights are more than welcome in the comments.