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January 17, 2024

City billionaire Michael Spencer appoints third family office CEO in 12 months

Lord Spencer, a Conservative Party supporter and City grandee, has tapped up Seth Johnson

By Stephanie Bridger-Linning

The family office of billionaire City grandee Michael Spencer has hired its third CEO in 12 months. 

Lord Spencer, the founder of NEX Group (previously ICAP), has tapped up Seth Johnson to oversee private company IPGL, which manages around £1 billion in assets. 

Johnson, a veteran of ICAP, was brought in six months after the departure of Ion Bogdaneris, a former AIG executive who had a short stint at the helm of IPGL from February-July 2023. Prior to Bogdaneris, the position was occupied by Samantha Wren, a former NEX Group executive who stepped down in February 2023 after four years in the role.

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The news of Johnson’s appointment was first reported by Bloomberg.

Michael Spencer’s rise from brokerage to peerage

Once hailed the wealthiest self-made man in the City of London, Lord Spencer is best known for founding ICAP (previously Intercapital) in 1986. The firm grew from a small operation with just £50,000 to one of the world’s largest inter-dealer brokers and leading electronic brokers of fixed income and foreign exchange.

The firm became NEX Group in 2016, following the sale of its voice broking business to Tullett Prebon. Tullett Prebon in turn became known as TP ICAP. In November 2018, NEX Group was acquired by CME Group. By the time the £3.8 billion cash-and-share deal was completed, Lord Spencer’s stake had grown to over £700 million, half of which he received in cash.

A notable philanthropist, Michael Spencer is the founder of the ICAP Charity Day, an annual event which sees celebrities and members of the royal family run trading desks, with the broking firm donating the revenue to worthy causes. The Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke of Sussex are among those who have taken part. Spencer has described founding the charity day and breaking into the FTSE100 as his two greatest business achievements.

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A long-time supporter of the Conservatives who has donated millions to the party, Lord Spencer was given a peerage by Boris Johnson in the 2020 Honours List and is now titled Baron Spencer of Alresford. He has served as chairman of the Conservative Foundation since 2011.

IPGL has significant investment in more than 60 companies across a diverse range of industries including real estate, wine, cybersecurity and gaming.

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