Ready, Steady, PLUS

Are we about to see a new era in the development of the small-cap community in the City? The new owners of PLUS SX, which is called PLUS Markets, ICAP, the world’s leading interdealer broker, have sprung into action.

They have made a series of appointments including a new CEO, Seth Johnson, and interim COO Rupak Ghose, a CFO Steve Caplen and Mark Beeston, ICAP’s leader of their post-trade services, as a board director.

They are conducting a wide-ranging review and have promised to come back within 90 days. Included in the process is an on-screen questionnaire addressed to PLUS SX company directors. As Chairman of Ford Eagle Group I have completed the exercise. It was a series of questions with options most of which elicited a ‘poor’ response. The final section invited additional comments to which I replied:

  • the small-cap community needs strong markets and thus the restoration of PLUS SX will be welcomed.
  • much will depend upon the innovation of the new directors in their efforts to create fund-raising sources.
  • the advisory strength is weak with perhaps no more than 5/6 decent advisers. Perhaps the smaller Nomads will respond to the potential improvements in the market.
  • liquidity (or the lack of it) is a myth. It depends on the strength of the share. It was stated that it is hoped that the market-maker system continues.

Finally, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Ford Eagle Group, I wished the new executive team our best wishes.

What I did not say, although it has been announced, is that Ford Eagle shares are now quoted on GXG Markets. As a Board of Directors with responsibility to our shareholders, we could not take the chance that the struggle of the now departed Board of PLUS Markets, will have damaged things so much that it will be difficult to restore its fortunes.

The above moves suggest that under ICAP PLUS SX could have a much better future.

We at Enterprise Britain sincerely hope so and wish PLUS SX every success.


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