Michael Spencer, city tycoon and founder of market operator ICAP, now NEX Group, has decided to make a substantial contribution to a new UK fintech fund. Spencer plans to invest at least £25 million in the UK fund Element Ventures, through his private holding company IPGL.
This is one of the largest investments made by Spencer since 2018 when he sold his fintech firm NEX to Chicago Mercantile Exchange for £3.9 billion.
Two of the three partners in Element Ventures, Steve Gibson and Michael McFadgen, come from NEX’s venture capital division. Spencer Lake who is the third partner in the fintech fund, is HSBC’s former vice chairman of global banking and markets.
Element Ventures hopes to rase £100 million to support emerging technology companies ready to take on the biggest problems faced by the banking and financial services industry.
Its website proudly states:
Backing the bold.
The company website announces in their first post:
Our team have had the honour of backing some of the best businesses in the space, worked with a spectrum of talented founders leading fundamental shifts in our industry and have invested alongside the world’s leading financial services and venture firms.
Private wealth has become one of the main sources of funding for European venture capital. Entrepreneurs commonly prefer more conventional investments to new generations of startups with more daring ideas.
Since founding ICAP in 1986, former Conservative Party treasurer Spencer has fortified a personal fortune of around £1 billion. Currently, he handles his personal investments through IPGL after the sale NEX in 2018. He has previously invested in Numis Securities, online investment platform AJ Bell, and English sparkling wine producer Chapel Down.
Spencer’s ennoblement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was reported earlier in January. A previous attempt to give him peerage was made four years ago by David Cameron but it was blocked by the involvement of ICAP in the Libor rigging scandal. Spencer was fined £60 million in 2013 by British and US regulators. The interdealer broker was never personally implicated in any wrongdoing.