London based online FX, CFDs and spreadbetting broker CMC Markets Plc (LON:CMCX) has issued a Trading Update ahead of the close of the company’s Fiscal 2019 second quarter at the end of September, indicating that it is forecasting a greater-than-expected drop in Revenues for the full year (which ends for CMC on March 31, 2019).
CMC stated that the second quarter (i.e. July-September 2018) has been impacted by a sustained period of low market volatility and range bound markets towards the end of the traditional UK summer period, in addition to an expected decrease in overall client trading activity following regulatory changes which lowered the leverage which Forex and CFD brokers like CMC can offer clients.
CMC rival IG Group is also apparently seeing lower client trading levels following the new ESMA rules, which came into effect this summer.
The disappointing news comes soon after CMC Markets received investor opposition to its executive pay policies.
In another interesting note, CMC stated that it will be adding the MT4 platform in Q3-2019 (i.e. at some point between October and December 2018) to “meet client demand”.
The full statement issued this morning by CMC reads as follows:
25 September 2018
CMC Markets Plc
H1 2019 Pre-Close Trading Update
CMC Markets Plc (LSE:CMCX, “CMC” or “the Group”), a leading global provider of online trading, today issues a trading update covering the period from 1 July 2018 to 25 September 2018 (“the Period”).
After a solid first quarter, the second quarter has been impacted by a sustained period of low market volatility and range bound markets towards the end of the traditional UK summer period, in addition to an expected decrease in overall client trading activity following regulatory change. As a result, net operating income for 2019 is expected to be below previous guidance, with the overall impact on profitability partially mitigated by tight cost control. Following the summer period, the Group has seen some improvement in client activity levels.
The implementation of the ESMA measures has reduced UK and European retail client activity as expected. However, after just two months it remains too early to draw any real conclusions as to how clients will adapt to the new rules. Taken alongside the aforementioned reduction in market volatility and range bound markets during a period of the second quarter, CFD and spread bet revenue for the full year is now expected to see a c. 20% reduction year-on-year, below previous guidance for a 10% to 15% reduction year-on-year.
The Group continues to deliver on its strategy, having successfully completed the implementation of the white label stockbroking partnership with ANZ Bank in Australia as expected in the last week of the Period, which is expected to drive growth and further diversify revenues. In July, 103 intermediaries were migrated to CMC’s Stockbroking platform and, in September, ANZ Bank’s retail stockbroking clients were successfully migrated. In addition, to meet client demand, MT4, the foreign exchange platform, will be launched in Q3 2019.
The Group also maintains a strong focus on operating costs. Investments in strategic initiatives to drive future growth are ongoing, however discretionary spend around staff and marketing costs is now expected to be lower than previous guidance. As a result, 2019 operating costs are now expected to be just slightly higher year-on-year, partially mitigating the overall impact of Q2 2019 revenue performance on Group profitability for the full year.
Throughout the Period, the Group remained focussed on increasing the proportion of UK and European revenue generated by professional clients (where the criteria are met). On a rolling 12-month view over 40% of UK and European revenue is now generated by professional clients, in line with previous guidance. Including institutional business this increases to 50%.
H1 2019 Results
The results for the six months ending 30 September 2018 will be announced on 22 November 2018.