Numis Securities ponders Irish post-Brexit trading hub

London stockbroker has vied with Davy and Goodbody for corporate brokerships

London’s financial district: UK stockbroker Numis was left in limbo by not having set up a hub in the EU before Brexit transition arrangements ended in December.

London’s financial district: UK stockbroker Numis was left in limbo by not having set up a hub in the EU before Brexit transition arrangements ended in December.

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City of London stockbroker Numis Securities is actively considering setting up an equities sales and trading desk in Dublin to service clients in the European Union, according to sources.

It is understood that the brokerage, which is among a small number of UK financial firms to have been left in limbo by not having set up a hub in the EU before Brexit transition arrangements ended in December, is initially seeking to operate a new EU hub with fewer than 10 people.

Talks on a financial services deal between the UK and EU have only really progressed since a trade accord was agreed in December.

Both sides took their first step last month to co-operate on financial services, agreeing on a new forum to discuss market regulation, which could help UK finance firms to one day win back some access to the single market.

Equities and investment

The firm was founded in 1989 as a merger between Hemsley & Co Securities and Raphael Zorn, an old City broker, and changed its name to Numis in 2000 following the sale of its private clients wealth management business. The capital markets-focused company has an equities and investment banking arm and reported £155.2 million (€179.7 million) of total income last year, up 42 per cent on 2019, according to its latest annual report.

The company has been competing with Dublin’s Davy and Goodbody Stockbrokers in recent years in the area of corporate brokerships of Irish companies with UK listings. Clients include housebuilder Cairn Homes, online hostel booking company Hostelworld and venture capital firm Draper Esprit.

Brexit impact

Numis said in early February that while Brexit would have a “minimal impact” on its business in the short term, it planned to set up an office in the EU.

“We believe comprehensive EU market access is strategically important for the business in the longer term. Accordingly, we intend to establish an EU-based office in the next 12 months,” it said at the time.

A final decision on a location has not yet been made, but Dublin is said to be a frontrunner.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the consideration being given to Dublin becoming the EU hub. She also declined to comment on whether Numis would be interested in running the rule over the capital markets arm of Davy, which was put up for sale last month as the company seeks to rebuild trust in the wake of a bond-trade scandal.

While the board of Davy would prefer to sell the company as a whole, a number of parties are said to only be circling its wealth management arm.