Brokerage giant Refco has bought London-based proprietry
trading firm MacFutures.
With offices in Gibraltar and Sydney in addition to its London
headquarters, MacFutures currently supports approximately 200
traders accessing the global futures market.
The deal includes lock-in clauses for MacFutures management
including md Magnus Greaves and founder Jamie McCloud.
Greaves told FO Week, "We're committed to running the
company, so this is an excellent deal. With Refco's global
reach and their financial, technological and strategic
resources behind us, we will be able to improve on the great
service Mac already offers."
He said the deal presented opportunities for expansion into
Refco strongholds such as Chicago and Montreal.
Refco is familiar with the concept of working with prop firms,
following an earlier arrangement with Westminster Clearing in
London, which had been headed by Jonathan Cowan. Although that
relationship ended when Refco decided it no longer wanted to be
in the business of clearing for a locals arcade, Refco ceo Joe
Murphy told FO Week Refco is a different company today
to the one that had worked with Westminer.
In the four years that he has been with the firm, said Murphy,
"Refco has changed completely". In that time, it has made six
acquisitions, including Lind Waldock, which have served to
expand the business dramatically to one that now has some
186,000 futures accounts.
"Since Westminster, the markets have evolved," Murphy said.
"They are more refined in accepting 'upstairs' arcade-style
The MacFutures deal will give Refco "solid critical mass,"
Murphy added. It also complements other Refco ventures,
including clearing the locals business for First Options and
Spear Leeds Kellogg.
"Mac have made a lot of effort in refining their model. The
combination [of Mac and Refco] is formidable. Organic growth
would be slower to come," he said.
Refco is seeking to integrate the Mac model into the US model,
said Murphy, although he also pointed out that Refco has some
"some very clear ideas of its own". Refco also announced it had
signed a strategic development contract with software firm
Future Dynamics (FD) to produce customised clearing products to
Refco's global customer base.
Under the terms of the agreement, Future Dynamics will supply
Refco with Load&Go, a client access web portal, and
Topline, FD's management reporting software. In addition, FD
will develop a number of unique modules aimed at enabling Refco
to provide an enhanced level of clearing
information and flexibility.
Murphy told FO Week Refco was putting a lot of thought
and resource into providing the technological support needed
for growth and expansion through its acquisitions, "so that we
can support all of our customers in the most efficient way
possible. This is key to our success".
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