|Type||Public Limited Company|
|Mike McTighe, (Chairman)|
June Felix, (CEO)
|Services||Online Forex trading, CFDs, spread betting, share dealing|
|Revenue||£657.7 million (2020)|
|£296.0 million (2020)|
|£240.4 million (2020)|
While the majority of the company's activities are based in the UK, the company has expanded internationally. IG is regulated by the FCA, the UK's financial authority body. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
Founding and early years (1974– 2000)
The company was founded in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler as a spread betting business under the name IG Index (an abbreviation for Investors Gold Index) which allowed people to trade gold prices as an index instead of buying the physical commodity. In July 2000, shares in the newly named IG Group plc were first listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Expansion (2001– 2010)
In July 2002, IG Group commenced trading in Australia after a change in the country's financial services legislation made it possible to offer contracts for difference to Australian residents. IG Group took the opportunity to acquire its founder's shares, and those of certain other long-standing shareholders, in a management buy-out (backed by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners) which valued the company at £143 million; IG Group plc's listing on the London Stock Exchange was subsequently cancelled on 7 November 2003.
In May 2005, after two years of private ownership, IG Group and CVC Capital Partners re-floated the company on the main list of the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of £393 million. In October 2008, IG Group acquired FXOnline Japan KK, a Japanese retail FX business.
In 2007, it purchased HedgeStreet, a small US based company that developed an electronic marketplace that allows online retail investors to trade financial derivatives. It renamed this the North American Derivatives Exchange or (NADEX) and has been attempting to use this to develop a product that looks like its binary option "digital 100s" product but that meets the US financial regulations and can be offered to retail traders. In 2007, IG has also been labeled as a gambling company by some of authoritative media. The Telegraph's warning report stated that although such spread-betting companies as IG have been regulated by the UK financial regulator, "no amount of regulation will help you if you get your bets wrong, so in that respect there is no doubt it is risky, and you should make sure you know what you are doing before you get involved". In May 2010, it obtained permission from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission to make various technical changes that move in that direction. Later in 2010, IG Index, IG Group's spread betting firm, was hit with a claim for €25 million by three former clients of defunct Scottish trading firm Echelon Wealth Management for unspecified losses.
Recent developments (2011–present)
In June 2011, IG Markets shut down its traditional fixed-odds sports service extrabet, which had an emphasis on in-play betting. The fixed odds sport service was shut down to focus on financial wagers, after failing to find a buyer for the whole unit. In September 2014, the company started its own online stockbroking platform offering prices on some 4,500 stocks.
In January 2015, the Swiss National Bank announced that it would be discontinuing its minimum exchange rate policy. IG customers incurred losses of £18.4 million after it happened. They accused the company of breaching UK regulations by acting out of self-interest and alleged a failure by company to provide the best execution to everyone. In October 2015, after claims by many of the firm's clients, IG "accepted a ruling by the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service that it should compensate customers for money lost during a rapid appreciation of the Swiss franc in January".
Peter Hetherington was appointed CEO in December 2015 when Tim Howkins retired after nine years in charge. In September 2016, IG Group acquired DailyFX, a foreign exchange trading news and research portal, from FXCM for $40 million. Later, in December, Peter Hetheringon, the CEO of the company, criticised the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK after it announced new measures to overhaul the industry, publicly blaming the regulator for weakness in some aspects of implementation and its lack of understanding of what the proposed changes could bring.
In December 2016, the FCA questioned whether binary bets "serve a genuine investment need" and defined them as more akin to gambling. Aside from most consumers losing money, the FCA's other concerns included the addictive nature of binary options betting, and inherent conflicts of interest. "Since 2012 there have been a reported 2,605 victims who lost a total of £59.4m on binary options scams – an average of nearly £23,000 each". In 2017, investors lost more than £87,000 a day on binary option scams alone.
In January 2017, IG group announced their decision on withdrawal of the binary options betting product, admitting that the arrival of the regulator to the market would significantly worsen the company's state of affairs. The director of IG corporate affairs stated: "I think that product will come under regulatory pressure in the future. That does not influence our view – it's simply a fact." At the same time, analysts stated that the IG's binary option withdrawal has been more akin to provocation: "It was a pre-emptive measure to mitigate further regulation".
In April 2017, IG Group launched IG Smart Portfolios – a suite of ETF investment portfolios created in partnership with BlackRock, marking the company's first move into online wealth management. In October 2018, IG Group appointed June Felix as CEO and, in February 2019, IG Group launched IG US to enter US market.
In 2012, IG Group consolidated its business in the UK under one brand, IG. IG Group is now, therefore, the sole trading name of the operating companies:
- IG Index offers spread betting on financial markets as well a binary options under the supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.
- IG Markets offers CFDs on a similar range of financial markets. IG Markets Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.
In 2021, FinanceFeeds and Financial Magnates reported that IG Group's system, supposedly accustomed to low volatility periods, faced frequent outages at the time of higher-than-usual trade volumes. Such crashes left clients unable to control the positions, leading to loss of funds. FinanceFeeds also mentioned that during the January 2021 outage, IG Group provided no customer support (up to not answering the phone calls) but immediately reacted to request for commentary to protect its public image and deny the issues raised by the clients.
2021 short squeeze
In February 2021, IG Group and 34 other brokers and hedge funds were targeted by an anti-trust class action lawsuit for allegedly conspiring against non-professional investors when GameStop short squeeze took place. According to the plaintiff, the defendants hatched an uncompetitive scheme to limit the trading of certain securities after the failure of their highly speculative short-selling strategies, thus violating state anti-trust laws.
During its history, IG Group signed some notable sponsorship deals:
- The company sponsored Getafe CF football club in the 2010-2011 Spanish season.
- In November 2010, IG Markets signed a sponsorship deal to support Team Sky professional cycling team in 2011.
- In December 2010, IG Markets announced sponsorship of two stages of Santos Tour Down Under cycling race in 2011.
- In October 2013, IG signed a sponsorship deal with Harlequin rugby team for the next three years. In September 2014, the deal was updated to make IG one of three major sponsors for the team.
- In May 2015, IG Group became a partner of Melbourne Football Club for 2015 and 2016.
- "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). IG Group. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
- "FCA IG Markets Limited". Financial Conduct Authority. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "FCA IG Index Limited". Financial Conduct Authority. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "FTSE 250 - Indicative Index Weight Data as at Closing on 31 December 2014". FTSE. 31 December 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- "Spread bets firm IG Index holds £110m market slip". The Telegraph. 10 June 2000. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- "IG chief predicts end of market tranquillity". The Telegraph. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- "IG Group confirms LSE float". Financial Times. 1 April 2005. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- "British spread-better buys FXOnline". China Post. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Alison Steed (22 November 2007). "Is spread-betting a gamble? You bet". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Nick Hasell (10 June 2010). "Why IG Group is still worth a bet". The Times. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Nick Hasell (24 November 2010). "IG Index hit with £21.4m lawsuit by clients of defunct broker Echelon Wealth Management". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- David Altaner (19 July 2011). "IG Logs Full-Year Loss After Taking Japan-Unit Charges". Bloomberg. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
- "IG launches online stockbroking platform". The Daily Telegraph. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- "IG accused of prioritising own trades during Swiss franc frenzy". Reuters.com. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- "How could a teacher on £18,000pa lose £280,000 spread betting?". Independent.co.uk. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- "IG Group to Face UK Ombudsman over Black Thursday Losses". Finance magnates.com. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- "IG Group Repays $1.5 Million to Clients Over Swiss Franc Turmoil". Bloomberg L.P. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Sarah Spickernell (4 December 2015). "Peter Hetherington appointed chief executive of online trading firm IG Group". City A.M. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- "Breaking: IG Group Buys DailyFX from FXCM for $40m". Finance Magnates. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- "IG Group Boss Attacks FCA Crackdown Urging Customers to Join the Battle". Finance Magnates. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Online investment scams on the rise, financial watchdog warns". The Telegraph. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "IG Group withdraws from binary betting after watchdog clampdown". The Telegraph. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
- Tom Eckett (6 April 2017). "IG launches suite of model portfolios in partnership with BlackRock". Investment Week. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "IG Group appoints ex-Citi and IBM executive as first female CEO". Reuters. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
- "Breaking: IG Group Officially Launches IG US | Finance Magnates". Finance Magnates | Financial and business news. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- "IG Group Our History". IG Group. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "IG Index Limited". FCA. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- "IG Markets Limited". FCA. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
- Aziz Abdel-Qader (21 May 2020). "Clients of IG Group Suffer System-Wide Outage, Broker Says Back to Normal". Finance Magnates. Retrieved 3 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Celeste (22 May 2020). "IG Group Experiences Further Platform Issues". Finance Magnates. Retrieved 3 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- FinanceFeeds (29 January 2021). "IG Group platform crashes yet again, with traders being left out in the cold". FinanceFeeds. Retrieved 3 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Corrade Rizzi (2 February 2021). "'Bad Bets': Antitrust Class Action Alleges Major Brokerages, Hedge Funds, Clearinghouses Conspired Against Ordinary Investors". ClassAction.org. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
- "IG Markets, patrocinador del Getafe CF SAD". Rankia.com (in Spanish). 23 August 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Kröner, Hedwig (18 November 2010). "Sky announces new co-sponsor". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Noble, Kelly (10 December 2010). "IG Markets Sponsors Two Stages of Santos Tour Down Under". Glam Adelaide. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Dormio, Nunquam (16 October 2013). "Quins sign new sponsorship deal". RugbyNetwork.com. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- "Harlequins announces IG as Principal Partner". Quins.co.uk. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Nikolova, Maria (5 May 2015). "IG partners with Melbourne Football Club". LeapRate. Retrieved 10 May 2015.