The European arm of prop trading firm Sun Holdings moved away from the lack of volatility in UK markets last year, and instead expanded its reach to Asian markets and betting on European interest rates. The result has been profits tripling, headcount increasing and pay surging.
Sun Trading International posted net operating profits of £9.5m for 2013, according to accounts just released, compared to £3.3m for the prior year. The firm said that its “diversification” efforts included “trading in Asian securities and trading in European interest rate futures”.
In 2012, 96% of Sun’s trading activity was focused on the European market. Last year it traded 42% in Far Eastern markets and the remaining 58% was focused on Europe.
Sun, which includes high frequency trading activities among its strategies, is still a small operation in London, with just 20 employees – an increase of two on the prior year. However, it said that salaries and other staff costs had increased on the back of an increase in profits. It paid its employees £5.3m in 2013, up from £3.8m in 2012, or an average of £265k a head. This is up from an average payment of £211k in 2012.
Its highest paid director received £1.49m last year, a slight fall on the £1.52m paid out in 2012.
Sun, like other firms indulging in HFT, had been hit by the European Union’s plans to curb high frequency trading in as well as an industry-wide slump in volumes.
Its rival Spire Europe hired 11 traders last year and increased its staff costs by £17m on the prior year. This was a mean payout of £582k, a similar figure paid by Jump Trading for its UK staff, which averaged £550k in 2013.