imc financial marketsIMC Financial Markets released their annual profits and trading income last Wednesday. The trading income rose 12% to €587 million. The net profit rose with the same percentage to €185 million. That’s €20 million more than 2014.

Rob Defares didn’t split up where most of the money was generated. But it’s no secret the US trading business has contributed most to the profit.

Some of the moves in the US have received serious attention in the press. There’s this payment-for-orderflow (PFOF) deal with broker Convergex. And of course in 2014, the move to the big board.

Average bonus €182k

IMC Financial Markets employed on average 520 people last year. The bonus pool for the employees was €95 million. On average that’s €182k per employee. This variable compensation is only 45% of the total salary costs. This means on average IMC staff earned €400k each.

However, average pay doesn’t say much when the distribution is pyramid style. The shareholders Rob Defares and Wiet Pot will receive a €130 million dividend. The Quote 500 rich list will mark them higher again.

Expected more

While a trading income of €587 million a year is amazing – more than €2 million a day – I expected a bit more. See the graph of annual profits on top of this post. 2015 was a great trading year with some heavy swings in the summer. Perhaps it’s just a sign of an overcrowded competitive market. Profits under pressure even with perfect trading conditions.

IMC traders moved to Tower Research

After the bonus day in 2014, a dozen IMC traders left the firm “with a cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads“. They surfaced last year at Spire Europe, which is a part of Tower Research. They are reportedly doing very well.

At Tower Research there’s also a second team of ex-IMC traders in the USA. They hired a trader who received one of the highest bonuses in IMC Chicago (number four on the list).

Market in Optiver’s profit 280-290

Optiver is usually a bigger fish than IMC when it comes to profits. Their figures aren’t released yet. We need some patience to compare the four most visible trading outfits. My market in Optiver’s profit in the meantime is 280 bid, at 290.

No more exchange holidays

More trading days in a year is positive for traders. We’re lucky. Between last Easter and the next one in 2017, there’s only one exchange holiday (December 26th). All other regular exchange holidays are on a Sunday. No half day trading days end of December. At least it’s easy to remember.