BGC staffs up as challenge from TP Icap looms

New York-based BGC has made a series of senior hires in recent months

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BGC is hiring more brokers. Featured: Rapper 50 Cent (right) at BGC's 2014 charity day

BGC Partners has made at least three senior hires and is ramping up its efforts to recruit brokers as it prepares to compete with TP Icap, the new interdealer brokerage formed through the merger of Tullett Prebon and Icap.

Philip Brewer joined BGC in September from Daiwa Capital Markets, where he was head of fixed-income e-commerce. He is now the head of hybrid markets in Europe at BGC, according to his LinkedIn profile.

BGC also hired Stephen Birkwood from Protean Capital and Philip Perrott from Icap late last year, according to the UK Financial Services Register. It is unclear what roles Birkwood and Perrott have taken at BGC, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Perrott was previously chief executive of Icap's ReMatch, a risk management platform that rebalances illiquid basis and market risks in credit default swaps portfolios.

Birkwood was a partner at Protean Capital, a London-based firm specialising in quantitative investment and derivatives structuring. Previously, he was head of equity and investor solutions at Citi, covering clients based in the UK and Netherlands.

Market sources say the hires are part of a wider push by BGC to beef up staffing. "It's no great surprise that they're going after people," says a trader at a boutique brokerage in New York. "There has to be some heat from TP Icap, and BGC has always placed a premium on headcount. But this is the most aggressive push for hiring that I've seen in some time."

The hires follow a period of sharp consolidation in the interdealer broker sector. Icap and Tullett Prebon – BGC's chief rivals in voice and electronic broking – completed an all-share merger worth $1.6 billion on December 30.

The combined TP Icap will initially have just over 3,400 brokers, while BGC's front-office headcount stands at around 3,800, according to its most recent quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

BGC itself merged with GFI Group in January 2016 and subsequently completed the acquisition of equity derivatives brokerage Sunrise Partners on December 20. That means the interdealer broker market is now split between three main firms: BGC, TP Icap and Tradition.

The Icap units that were not part of the merger with Tullet have been reorganised into a new company called Nex Group, which is focusing primarily on post-trade services and financial technology products.

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