Breaking news: LCG lets up to 20 more staff go

As the hire and fire approach to business continues at LCG, approximately 20 staff have left the firm this week, mainly from sales desks, amounting to approximately 1 third of the company’s entire payroll

London, Canary Wharf from Thames

Following our report recently that LCG (formerly London Capital Group) has continued its revolving door approach to senior executive recruitment, with Legal Counsel Kate Valdar having left the firm, along with Head of Trading Victoria Webb, ICAP veteran of 28 years Peter Wells, who has now left LCG after just a year and a half with the firm, and Nicola Penn, Executive Assistant to the Directors, FinanceFeeds has now learned from a number of sources that approximately 20 further employees at the firm have been handed their P45 last week.

The latest exodus is not confined to senior management, and encompasses a number of sales staff, and amounts to approximately one third of the company’s entire payroll.

According to our sources, some of whom claim up to 20 staff have left the company, whereas others close to the matter cannot quantify the exact number but who have all provided similar information that several staff have left in one go last week, this is the latest and largest exodus thus far.

Bianca Fischer, Head of German Sales & Trading is one example. Ms Fischer joined LCG in the summer of 2015 from IronFX Global’s London office. When asking for comment from Ms. Fischer, calls and messages were unanswered.

FinanceFeeds contacted several key staff at LCG via email and telephone, all of whom declined to comment.

Ironically, this exodus occurred simultaneous to an investigation by FinanceFeeds this week that revealed the alleged hiring of the former senior management team of ACFX, a company which has been the subject of a license suspension by CySec, and which is at the center of a litany of customer related issues regarding withdrawal of funds.

This latest, and rather large staff exodus, occurred just one day after FinanceFeeds reported that LCG received a query from a regulatory authority with regard to the level of regulatory fees that are being paid by LCG, and that LCG is currently evaluating this query and has to reply to the regulator on July 11, 2016, indicating that not enough has been paid.

As far as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is concerned, the amount chargeable to firms under its jurisdiction depends on the type of regulated activities the firm carries out, which are known as ‘fee blocks’,the extent of the firm’s activities (amount of business undertaken), and how much it costs the FCA to regulate these types of activities.

The FCA invoices companies between July and September each year, issuing a single invoice covering the required FCA fee plus fees and levies for any other regulatory organisations, as appropriate.

Where total fees exceed £50,000 in the previous year, the FCA invoices for 50% of that fee in April, this being called the ‘on account’ fee.

Whilst this particular report does not stipulate which regulatory authority has made this query, it is worthy of note that LCG is regulated solely by the FCA and has its entire operations in London.

Revolving door continues to revolve….

Previously, since the firm’s acquisition by GLIO in late 2014, LCG had hired several senior industry figures from very high quality companies, all of whom have left within a very short time.

Francois Nembrini, formerly Managing Director of FXCMPro, FXCM’s institutional division for 12 years left LCG after just one year, and is now leading QuanticAM, AFX Group’s institutional division. Arman Tahmassebi, who spent 15 years as COO of IG Group left LCG after just one year, and is now COO of ETX Capital in London.

Chinese FX industry expert Naomi Ewart-Simcock also left the company recently. Ms. Ewart-Simcock was a rising star at Alpari before joining LCG a year ago, and is one of the industry’s most experienced executives with regard to developing relationships with partners and large scale portfolio managers in mainland China.

In March this year, Ollie Rosewell also left LCG. Mr. Rosewell was Head of Brand Marketing at LCG between January 2015 and March 2016, before he left the company to become Head of Marketing at AFX Group.

Mr. Rosewell joined LCG almost immediately post-acquisition from IG Group where he spent 8 years as Senior Marketing Manager, after a 3 year stint at M&G in London.

Last month, LCG canned its newly established LCG Digital division after just 6 months.

Based in Tel Aviv, and run by Amedeo Muscato who has a substantial background within some of Israel’s widely recognized digital media and affiliate market firms including senior executive positions at OptionTime and AffOption, The Nation Traffic, Playtech and TraffiNet, the division was established to run digital marketing initiatives.

This was all canned and when contacted by FinanceFeeds, Mr. Moscato did not proffer a comment. He has now moved on to pursue his own business, Soho Media, which provides boutique traffic to firm across web, video and mobile advertising.

Setting up an entirely new entity, in a different country to the main operations of a loss-making company whilst its balance sheet has been in the red since 2011 and then canning it just six months later could be construed as a very unusual step to take.

In the beginning of 2015, LCG’s losses ran at approximately £7 million for the first quarter, by the end of the year, the hole in the bucket had increased so much that the firm had made a £13.9 million loss for 2015.

In spite of such losses, LCG moved its operations from Devonshire Square in the heart of the City of London’s financial district to the highly exclusive 1 Knightsbridge in London’s West End, and underwent a rebrand, part of which involved the purchase of the LCG.com domain for $175,000.

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