Back to Regulatory news service

Annual Report and Accounts 2018

Posted:
13/8/2018

Released 10.20
RNS No: 6041X
IG Group Holdings plc
13 August 2018

 

IG Group Holdings Plc (“IG”, "the Company"), a global leader in online trading, announces that its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 May 2018 (“Annual Report”) has been published on the Company’s website www.iggroup.com.

In compliance with Listing Rule 9.6.1, the Annual Report has been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at: 
www.Hemscott.com/nsm.do

Printed copies of the Annual Report will be posted on 20 August 2018 to those shareholders who have requested it.

Additional information

In compliance with DTR 6.3.5, the following information is extracted from the  Company’s Annual Report (page references are to pages in the Annual Report) and should be read in conjunction with the Company's Full Year 2018 results announcement issued on 24 July 2018 which can be found at www.iggroup.com. Together these constitute the information required by DTR.6.3.5 to be communicated to the media in unedited full text through a Regulatory Information Service. This information is not a substitute for reading the Company’s Annual Report in full.

The principal risks set out below are extracted from pages 34 to 38 of the Annual Report and are repeated here solely for the purpose of complying with DTR 6.3.5.

Principal risks

IG has adopted a common risk taxonomy that breaks the principal risks faced by the Group into five broad risk categories: the risks inherent in the regulatory environment, the risks inherent in the commercial environment, business model risks, operational risk and conduct risk. The major risks identified within each of these categories are summarised in the table above, and the paragraphs that follow provide an overview of how IG seeks to manage them.

Regulatory environment risk

IG operates in a highly regulated environment which is continually evolving.

The Group faces the risk of regulators introducing new regulations or requirements, in any of the jurisdictions in which the Group currently operates, which result in an adverse effect on the Group’s business or operations, through reduction in revenue, increases in costs or increases in capital and liquidity requirements.

The Group operates to the highest regulatory standards and leads the industry in the way in which it deals with its clients. The Group maintains a strong relationship with its key regulators and an active dialogue with them to keep abreast of impending regulatory developments.

IG recognises the potential for expansion risk. This is defined as the risk that policy or regulations in jurisdictions in which the Group does not currently operate, or relating to products or services that the Group does not currently offer, are too onerous to allow the Group to compete effectively in new markets.

Within regulatory environment risk, the Group also includes the risk of significant adverse changes in the manner in which the Group itself, or the Group’s business, is taxed. Examples of the tax risk faced by the business include the risk of the imposition of a financial transactions tax, which could severely impact the economics of trading, and the risk that the basis under which the Group is taxed, in any of the jurisdictions in which it operates, is adversely affected.

Commercial risk

The Group defines commercial risk as the risk that the Group’s performance is affected by a prolonged period of adverse market conditions, failure to adopt or implement an effective business strategy, by new or existing competitors offering more attractive products or services, or as a result of a third-party supplier on which the Group depends deciding to cease providing services to the business.

The Group seeks to mitigate its strategic management risk through the Board’s regular and thorough review and challenge of the Group’s strategy and the performance of current strategic initiatives. The Board holds an annual Strategy Day to consider and agree the strategic priorities for the business. The Board also considers specific strategic actions and initiatives during its normal schedule of Board meetings.

The Group operates in a highly competitive environment, which includes some unregulated and illegal operators. The Group seeks to mitigate competitor risk by maintaining a clear distinction in the market in terms of product, service and ethics, and by closely monitoring the activity and performance of its competitors, including detailed comparison of the terms of product offers.

IG regards itself as the leader in its market, and given its strong ethical values, the Group does not deploy questionable practices that can be commercially attractive to clients. The Group does, however, seek to ensure that its product offering remains attractive, taking into account the other benefits that the Group offers its clients, including brand, strength of technology and client service quality. This allows the business to provide a competitive offering overall and manage competitor risk without compromising the Group’s values.

The Group’s trading revenue reflects the transaction fees paid by clients less the transaction costs incurred in hedging market exposures. The extent of client trading activity and the number of active clients in any period are the key determinants of revenue in that period. The ability to attract new clients, and the willingness of clients to trade, depends on the level of opportunities clients perceive to be available to them in the markets. The Group’s revenue is therefore partly dependent upon market conditions.

The Group seeks to mitigate the impact of adverse market conditions risk through detailed review of daily revenue analysis, monthly financial information, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and regular reforecasts of its expected financial performance, reflecting the latest and expected market conditions. The Group uses these forecasts to determine actions necessary to manage performance, with consideration given to changes in market conditions.

The Group regularly updates its investors and market analysts on its revenue performance, including quarterly updates and pre-close statements, and engages with investors and market analysts to manage the risk that the impact of market conditions is not reflected in performance expectations.

The Group is also dependent on services from third parties. These range from the banking industry to key technology firms, and cover matters such as the provision of corporate and client money bank accounts, client payment services, hedging services, custodial services, and advertising and marketing channels. The Group performs regular reviews and seeks to ensure that it has suitable engagement terms with each provider, so as to identify any issues which may arise and gain an understanding of any new upcoming requirements.

Business model risk

IG defines business model risk as the risks faced by the Group arising from the nature of its business and its business model, including market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk and capital adequacy risk.

Market risk

IG takes market risk for the purpose of facilitating instant execution of client trades. The business manages this market risk by internalising client flow (allowing clients’ trades to offset each other) and hedging when the residual exposures reach defined limits. The Group’s real-time market position-monitoring system allows it to constantly manage its market exposures against its market risk limits. If exposures exceed pre-determined limits, hedging is undertaken to bring the exposure back within the limits.

IG has a market risk policy which sets out how the business manages its market risk exposures. The market risk policy incorporates a methodology for setting market risk limits, consistent with the Group’s risk appetite, for each financial market in which the Group’s clients can trade, as well as certain groups of markets or assets which the business considers to be correlated. These limits are determined with reference to the expected liquidity and volatility of the underlying financial product or asset class, and represent the maximum (long or short) net exposure the Group will hold without hedging.

The Group sets its market risk limits with the objective of achieving the optimal trade-off between allowing clients’ trades to be internalised, the cost of hedging and the variability of daily revenue. The Group seeks to manage its market risk so that its trading revenue predominantly reflects client transaction fees net of hedging costs, and is not driven by market risk gains or losses.

The residual market risk the Group faces can crystallise if a market ‘gaps’, which occurs when a price changes suddenly in a single large movement, often at the opening of a trading day, rather than in small incremental steps. This can result in the Group being unable to adjust its hedging in a timely manner, which can result in a potential loss.

The Group monitors its market risk exposures through regular scenario-based stress tests to analyse the impact of potential stress and market gap events, and takes appropriate action to reduce its risk exposures and those of its clients.

Credit risk

IG faces the risk that either a client or a financial counterparty fails to meet their obligations to IG, resulting in a financial loss.

As a result of offering leveraged trading products, IG accepts that client credit losses can arise as a cost of its business model. Client credit risk principally arises when a client’s total funds deposited with the Group are insufficient to cover any trading losses incurred. In addition, a small number of clients are granted credit limits to cover running losses on open trades and margin requirements.

Client credit risk is managed through the application of the Group’s Client Credit Risk Policy.

The business sets client margin requirements that reflect the market price risk for each instrument, and uses tiered margining so that larger positions are subject to proportionately higher margin requirements. The business offers training and education to clients covering all aspects of trading and risk management, which encourages them to collateralise their accounts at an appropriate level in excess of the minimum requirement. In addition to cash, the Group also accepts collateral in the form of shares from professional clients held in their IG share dealing account.

The business further mitigates client credit risk through the real-time monitoring of client positions via the close-out monitor (COM), and by giving clients the ability to set a level at which an individual deal will be closed (the ‘stop’ level or ‘guaranteed stop’ level).

The COM automatically identifies accounts that have breached their liquidation thresholds and triggers an automated liquidation process of positions on those accounts. Where client losses are such that their total equity falls below the specified liquidation level, positions will be liquidated to bring the account back on-side, resulting in reduced credit risk exposure for the Group.

In some jurisdictions, IG provides negative balance protection for retail clients, which is a guarantee that clients cannot lose more than the total amount of equity held on their account. This, together with COM and client-initiated ‘stops’, results in the transfer of an element of the market risk from the client to the Group. This market risk arises following the closure of a client position, as the Group may hold a corresponding hedging position that will, assuming sufficient market liquidity, be unwound.

IG has significant financial exposure to a number of financial institutions, owing to the placement of financial assets at banks and the hedging of market risk in the wholesale markets, which requires the Group to place margin with its hedging brokers.

Financial institution credit risk is managed through the application of the Group’s counterparty credit management policy.

Financial institutional counterparties are subject to a credit review when a new relationship is entered into, and this is updated semi-annually (or more frequently as required, for example upon changes to the financial institution’s corporate structure). Proposed maximum exposure limits for these financial institutions, reflecting their credit rating and systemic position, are reviewed and approved by the Executive Risk Committee.

The Group actively manages the credit exposure to each of its broking counterparties, settling or recalling balances at each broker on a daily basis in line with the collateral requirements. As part of its management of concentration risk, the Group is also committed to maintaining multiple brokers for each asset class.

The Group is responsible, under various regulatory regimes, for the stewardship of client money and assets. These responsibilities include the appointment and periodic review of institutions with which client money is deposited. The Group’s general policy is that all financial institutional counterparties holding client money accounts must have minimum short and long-term ratings of A-2 and A- respectively, although in some operating jurisdictions where accounts are maintained to provide local banking facilities for clients, it can be problematic to find a banking counterparty satisfying these minimum ratings requirements. In such cases, the Group may use a locally systemically important institution. These criteria also apply for the Group’s own bank accounts held with financial institutions.

In addition, the majority of deposits are made on an overnight or breakable term basis, which enables the Group to react immediately to any deterioration in credit quality, and deposits of an unbreakable nature or requiring notice are only held with a subset of counterparties which have been approved by the Executive Risk Committee.

Liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is the risk that the Group is unable to meet its financial obligations as they fall due. It is managed through the application of the Group’s liquidity risk management policy.

The Group’s approach to managing liquidity is to ensure that it has sufficient liquidity to meet its broker margin requirements and other financial liabilities when due, under both normal circumstances and stressed conditions. These liquidity requirements must be met from the Group’s own liquidity resources, as client money cannot be used for its operations.

The Group holds liquid assets to enable the funding of broker margin requirements, ensuring that appropriate prudent margins and buffers are held in segregated client money accounts, in order to fully protect clients’ funds and assets, support the growth of the business and its need for capital, and maintain a liquid assets buffer.

The Group manages its liquidity centrally, and key liquidity decisions are discussed by the Executive Committee and Executive Risk Committee.

The Group carries out an Individual Liquidity Adequacy Assessment (ILAA) each year, and while this applies specifically to the Group’s FCA-regulated entities (as liquidity is centrally managed through these entities), this process provides the context for determining the mitigating actions that would be taken in the event of stressed liquidity conditions for the whole Group.

The Group uses a number of measures for managing day-to-day liquidity risk, including the level of total liquid assets of broker margin requirement and of same-day available cash.

The Group is required to fund margin payments to brokers on demand. Broker margin requirements are driven by the gross hedging positions held by the Group, at rates set by the brokers. The value of these positions and the margin requirements are in turn driven by the number of active clients, the level of client activity, the make-up of the total client exposure, exchange rates, interest rates and the value of instruments.

In addition to its liquid assets, the Group mitigates its liquidity risk through maintained access to committed unsecured bank facilities. The Group regularly stress-tests its liquidity forecasts to validate the appropriate level of facilities it holds, and draws down on the facility at least once during each year to test the process for accessing that liquidity.

The Group produces detailed short-term liquidity forecasts and stress tests, so that appropriate management actions or liquidity facility draw-down can occur prior to a period of expected liquidity demands.

Capital adequacy risk

IG operates authorised and regulated businesses worldwide, supervised by the FCA in the UK and regulators across other jurisdictions. As a result of this supervision, the Group is required to hold sufficient regulatory capital at both Group and individual entity level to cover its risk exposures, valued according to applicable rules, and any additional regulatory financial obligations imposed.

The Group is supervised on a consolidated basis by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition to its two UK FCA-regulated entities, the Group’s operations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the United States of America, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates (Dubai International Financial Centre) are directly authorised by the respective local regulators. Individual capital requirements in each regulated entity are taken into account, among other factors, when managing the global distribution and level of the Group’s capital resources, as part of the Group Capital Management Framework.

IG manages capital adequacy risk through its regulatory capital policy, and seeks to ensure that at all times it holds sufficient capital to operate its business successfully and to meet regulatory requirements. The Group manages its capital resources with the objectives of facilitating business growth, maintaining its dividend policy and complying with the regulatory capital resources requirement set by its regulators around the world.

The Group undertakes an annual Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) through which it assesses its capital requirements, including the application of a series of stress-testing scenarios, to its base financial projections. The ICAAP document is reviewed and challenged by the Executive Risk Committee and the Board Risk Committee, which recommends the result to the Board for review and approval.

The Group operates a monitoring framework over its capital resources and minimum capital requirements daily, calculating the credit and market risk requirements arising on the exposures at the end of each business day. The Group additionally monitors internal warning indicators as a component of its Board Risk Dashboard, and any breaches are escalated to the Board as they occur, with a recommendation for appropriate remedial action.

Entity-level capital requirements monitoring and management is carried out locally according to each jurisdiction’s requirements.

Operational risk

Operational risk is defined as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people activities, technology adoption and innovation, systems or external events. The Group also recognises the risk that it is unable to attract and retain the staff it requires to operate its business successfully as operational risk.

Operational risk is managed through the application of the Group’s operational risk management framework. The Group continuously develops this framework to ensure visibility of risks and controls. It focuses on clear accountability for controls and escalation and reporting mechanisms, through which risk events are identified and managed and appropriate action is taken to improve controls.

IG recognises that operational risk arises in the execution of all activities undertaken by the Group, and identifies and manages operational risk in four categories: technology, people, process and risk arising from external events.

Technology risk is the risk of loss caused by breakdown or other disruption to technology performance and service availability, or by information security incidents. It also includes new technology and technology that fails to meet business requirements.

The Group manages its technology risk through its Technology Risk Framework, which is overseen by the Technology Risk Committee. Key performance indicators, incidents and outages are raised to this forum, comprising of IT and risk experts. To manage cyber risk and external threats to our systems and data, the Group has a specific Information Security Forum, through which senior management is made aware of ongoing and potential threats, with policies and processes continuously being refreshed to ensure their validity within the evolving landscape.

People risk is considered as the risk of a loss intentionally or unintentionally caused by an employee, such as employee error or misdeeds, or involving employees, such as in the area of employment disputes. It includes risks relating to employment law, health and safety, and HR practices. In addition, people risk includes the risk that the Group is unable to attract and retain the staff it requires to operate its business successfully.

Process risk relates to the design, execution and maintenance of key processes, including process governance, clarity of roles, process design and execution. It also covers record-keeping, regulatory compliance failures and reporting failures.

External risk is the risk of loss due to third-party relationships and outsourcing, damage to physical and non-physical property or assets from natural or non-natural external causes and external fraud.

The Group continues to develop its Operational Risk Framework to ensure visibility of risks and controls. It focuses on clear accountability for controls and escalation and reporting mechanisms, through which risk events are identified and managed and appropriate action is taken to improve controls.

The Group is rolling out its Risk and Control Self-Assessment (RCSA) methodology, focused on areas of the business identified as a priority, and has an operational risk event self-reporting process which provides increased visibility over events and control actions to be taken. These are monitored through a consolidated Control Action List.

Conduct risk

IG recognises and manages the risk that the Group’s conduct may pose to the achievement of fair outcomes for consumers, and to the sound, stable, resilient and transparent operation of the financial markets. The Group has a conduct risk framework, and has implemented a conduct risk strategy that aims to analyse the conduct risks that may arise, and sets out how those risks are managed and mitigated. It also sets out specific controls used to manage conduct risk. The Group seeks to promote a positive, company-wide culture of good conduct as a competitive advantage and a means to differentiate itself clearly from those companies conducting themselves poorly. It also seeks to ensure that all employees are aware of the importance of managing conduct risk through programme conduct risk training and awareness.

The Group manages and monitors the risk of clients failing to understand the functionality of our products and suffering poor outcomes. The Group recognises that some of its products are not appropriate for certain consumers, and operates a process to identify potential new clients for whom the product may not be suitable. The Group supports clients with education and training, and offers account types that limit a customer’s risk. Client outcomes are monitored and reported to the Board.

The Group recognises the risk of causing poor market outcomes if proper controls are not in place, for example, to detect instances of market abuse which must then be reported on. Clients may also attempt to use IG to commit fraud or launder money, and the Group has designed its systems, controls and monitoring programmes to mitigate and detect such issues.

The Group recognises the risk that the actions of its staff can result in poor outcomes for clients, or for the financial markets. The Group seeks to ensure that its staff are appropriately trained, managed and incentivised to ensure that their behaviour and activities do not inadvertently result in poor outcomes for clients or the markets. The Group also reviews remuneration policies and incentive schemes to ensure that they are appropriate and conducive to good conduct by staff.

 

STATEMENT OF DIRECTORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

The following statement is extracted from The Statement of Directors’ responsibilities on page 93 of the Annual Report and is repeated here solely for the purpose of complying with DTR 6.3.5. The statement relates to the full Annual Report and not the extracted information presented in this announcement of the Full Year Results announcement.

The Directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the Financial Statements in accordance with applicable law and regulation.

Company law requires the Directors to prepare Financial Statements for each financial year. Under that law, the Directors have prepared the Group and Company Financial Statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union.

Under company law, the Directors must not approve the Financial Statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Group and the Company, and of the profit or loss of the Group and Company for that period. In preparing these Financial Statements, the Directors are required to:

  • Select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently
  • State whether applicable IFRSs as adopted by the European Union have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the Financial Statements
  • Make judgements and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent
  • Prepare the Financial Statements on a going-concern basis, unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Group and the Company will continue in business

The Directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the Group and Company’s transactions, and to disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Group and Company and enable them to ensure that the Financial Statements and the Directors’ Remuneration Report comply with the Companies Act 2006 and, as regards the Group Financial Statements, Article 4 of the IAS Regulation.

The Directors are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Group and Company, and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the Company’s website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

The Directors consider that the Annual Report and Accounts, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group and Company’s performance, business model and strategy.

The Directors, whose names and functions are listed in the Corporate Governance Report, confirm that, to the best of their knowledge:

  • The Group and Company Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the European Union, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit of the Group and profit of the Company
  • The Directors’ Report includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Group and Company, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that it faces

In the case of each Director in office at the date the Directors’ Report is approved:

  • So far as the Director is aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the Group and Company’s Auditors are unaware
  • They have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as a Director in order to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the Group and Company’s Auditors are aware of that information
     

On behalf of the Board:

Peter Hetherington
Chief Executive Officer
24 July 2018

For further information, please contact:

IG Group
Liz Scorer                                             020 7573 0727
investors@iggroup.com

FTI Consulting
Neil Doyle / Ed Berry                      020 3727 1141 / 020 3727 1046

 

About IG

IG empowers informed, decisive, adventurous people to access opportunities in over 15,000 financial markets. With a strong focus on innovation and technology, the company puts client needs at the heart of everything it does.

IG’s vision is to be a global leader in retail trading and investments. Established in 1974 as the world’s first financial derivatives firm, it continued leading the way by launching the world’s first online and iPhone trading services.

IG is now an award-winning, multi-platform trading company, the world’s No.1 provider of CFDs* and a global leader in forex. It provides leveraged services with the option of limited-risk guarantees, and offers an execution-only share dealing service in the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands. IG has a range of affordable, fully managed investment portfolios, to provide a comprehensive offering to investors and active traders.

It is a member of the FTSE 250, with offices across Europe, including a Swiss bank, Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the US, where it offers on-exchange limited risk derivatives via the Nadex brand.

 

*Based on revenue excluding FX (from published financial statements, February 2018)