Annual Report Summary 2023
This year has been the most challenging since our foundation.
We have made good strategic progress as we navigated difficult markets, continuing to guide and nurture our clients and people through the evolution of business.
Built around people. Driven by technology. Trusted by clients.
Peel Hunt is a specialist UK investment bank with over 300 people in the UK and other jurisdictions. Our business model differs from most competitors in two ways. First, alongside serving institutions and corporate clients, we also serve retail investors through intermediaries. By serving retail intermediaries through our Execution Services division, we diversify our business and as a result, have a reduced exposure to the capital markets cycle. Through the significant retail volumes we execute, we gain better insights into the investment ecosystem, which, in turn, benefits our institutional and corporate clients. Second, we act as one firm: we consider a client of one business area to be a client of the whole firm. Whichever service we provide, they have our whole team behind them.
Our Purpose: Guiding and nurturing people through the evolution of business.
Our Values: Encourage greatness. Empower each other. Only accept excellence. Do the right thing.
The year in numbers
Chair, CEO & CFOO statements
Lucinda reflects on her first year as Chair and on how Peel Hunt’s refined strategic priorities are setting the business on the right path for success. "In the last year, we’ve seen market turmoil, driven by different economic and geopolitical events, from war on European soil, to political upheaval in the UK, to the biggest US bank failure since 2008. We look back at some of the most significant events that have affected our sector and Steven and Sunil discuss some of the planned and proposed changes in regulation that could help reverse recent downward trends in equity market activity."
Read the full interview
"The past 12 months have been difficult for everyone in the financial services sector. It’s certainly one of the toughest years I’ve witnessed in my career. We’ve all read the headlines about the ongoing war in Ukraine, rising energy prices, inflation and interest rates, job losses, the aftermath of the UK Government’s mini-budget and, more recently, bank bailouts on both sides of the Atlantic. Across the industry we’ve felt the impact all this has had on market activity and investor sentiment, and this can be seen in our results this year."
Read the full interview
"FY23 has been characterised by a challenging economic and market environment – higher inflation and rising interest rates, as well as continued geopolitical uncertainty, have continued to weigh heavily on investor confidence. This has led to particularly low capital markets activity and lower trading volumes. Our focus during the year has been on maintaining the strength and resilience of our business and ensuring a focus on strong liquidity management, delivering on our key strategic priorities and also containing some of the inflationary and post-IPO cost increases the business has faced."
Read the full interview
We’re a responsible business, with a duty to all those who work with and around us. That’s why our value to ‘do the right thing’ is woven into our purpose of guiding and nurturing people through the evolution of business. We can only live up to our purpose if we take care of the wider impact that our sustainability, or ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues, have on those with whom we engage. This means taking care of each other, and doing business honestly and with integrity, for the good of all of our stakeholders. This year we have announced three ESG Targets.
REFINING OUR STRATEGY
During the last year of challenging markets, we have refined our strategic priorities and set the direction of the business for the next five years. This will help us continue to diversify our business, and will position us well for when the market cycle turns. Our five strategic priorities are:
Over the past decade, Peel Hunt has evolved from a market maker into a key liquidity provider. We trade in more than 5,000 UK securities with average trading volumes of 56,700 trades executed every day. In recent years we’ve expanded our international focus, and today we trade in more than 9,800 overseas securities. This has helped us build market share and win business across the Group. We want to continue that process by adding incremental liquidity.
We are expanding and diversifying our trading counterparties, moving into new areas of liquidity by making our prices available to a range of different venues and counterparties. This year, for example, we added 11 new counterparties, with another five in the pipeline.
We’re also developing new digital infrastructure that will enable us to live stream our prices to alternative venues. This will add greater depth to our liquidity offering, helping us diversify beyond the retail market and create a more compelling offer for our clients. Meanwhile, we’re building more intelligent pricing models to help us trade more efficiently and open up other new sources of liquidity.
And so that we can scale our flows, we’re establishing new strategic partnerships, and are already working with some of the larger pan-European liquidity providers.
We have evolved from a leading corporate broking business into a specialist UK investment bank. We’re proud of the deep, long-standing relationships we’ve developed with our corporate clients during that time. We want to continue building on that track record, focusing on mid-cap and growth companies where our services can add the most value. And we’re diversifying our client base, continuing to draw on our deep expertise to support public companies, while growing our Private Capital Markets business, since the services we offer are equally valuable to both sectors.
We want to do all of this in ways that ensure we continue to act as a trusted adviser, helping clients shape new deals and ideas. So we’re also expanding and strengthening our services and capabilities in areas like M&A and Debt Advisory. We’ve made a number of strategic hires across the business to support that expansion. This includes launching a new graduate programme, enabling our most senior bankers to spend more time sharing their expertise with our clients.
To extend our influence and reach, our Investment Banking teams are working even more closely with colleagues in Research & Distribution to build deeper relationships with institutional investors who want to invest in our clients. The more diversity we have in our products and client base, the greater our potential for growth.
Thanks to our award-winning research and experienced distribution teams, we are valued as an essential connection between investment institutions and companies. We want to keep strengthening that connection by helping high quality public and private companies talk directly to the key decision makers in the global investment ecosystem.
As we do this, we will build even deeper relationships with institutional investors in our corporate clients, expanding our market share and providing access to wider pools of capital and liquidity. Our teams work collaboratively to agree our coverage and ensure we focus our in-depth research on the companies where we can add the most value.
We also want to grow our international influence and access, continuing to differentiate our distribution. This year we’ve again invested in our North American and European distribution platforms. For example, we have refocused our team in New York to deliver first-class corporate access and market insights from our research, which is delivering results for both our corporate and institutional clients. Our US sales team was ranked number one in the Institutional Investor’s UK Small & Midcap Survey for the second year running.
In March 2023, we received regulatory approval to establish our new European office in Copenhagen. Once open, this will reinstate our unrestricted, pre-Brexit access to EU institutions. Finally, we’re talking to prospective clients in other parts of the world to explore opportunities that could unlock differentiated pools of capital.
Technology is a differentiator for our business and an essential part of our trading capabilities and risk controls. We want to keep that competitive edge as we grow, so we’re continuing to invest in and innovate new digital tools and infrastructure to keep offering our trading counterparties the most competitive prices and fast, secure access to liquidity. Meanwhile, we’re spinning out our proprietary REX platform into a new standalone business, RetailBook, which will help expand retail participation in capital markets.
Our technology team has developed powerful new digital infrastructure which will help our people generate deeper market insights and turn data into intelligence for our clients. Here’s just one of the ways we are doing this – bringing together our deep and wide range of datasets and creating graph data structures which allow us to explore and visualise our data from different perspectives, using a range of interactive tools.
Our collaborative culture, which ensures everyone has a voice, has always been central to our success. In fact, our greatest strength is the way that the whole organisation comes together with ideas and initiatives to help our clients and further our strategic goals.
To continue to grow, we will need more of that joined-up approach, with teams collaborating more closely than ever. And we’ll need to combine that collaboration with an increased focus on performance, becoming more ambitious and acting with a greater sense of urgency and confidence. In short, we want everyone to keep
asking themselves, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’
This year, people across the business have come together in more than 50 short-term, cross-functional projects –or ‘sprints’ – to help answer that question. Together, they are identifying ways we can be more targeted in delivering our other strategic priorities. Our newly launched Investment Banking graduate programme is a great example of the work our people have been doing within these ‘sprints’.
Investment Banking: Investing for the long term during a challenging year
“In the past year we’ve worked to expand our Investment Banking business in line with our strategic priorities. Building up strength in existing services and creating a solid foundation in new areas, such as Private Capital Markets, will put us in good stead for when the markets begin to turn.”
Execution Services: Good performance underlining the strength of our model
“There’s no doubt this has been a challenging year; nonetheless, our performance versus pre-pandemic levels has been resilient, which has enabled us to contribute to the strength of the business overall. Crucially, we have retained a strong market share, helped by the work we’ve done – and continue to do – to develop our own proprietary technology.”
Research: A resilient year underpinned by strategic progress
“Our business has shown resilience and stability under difficult circumstances this year. The experience and consistency of our research, distribution and core trading teams have been more important than ever as we stepped forward to help our clients navigate challenging markets.”
Distribution: Reassuring clients with quality and consistency
"Looking forward, our strategic priorities will help us expand the access we offer to investment institutions and corporates. We want to get to a point where, as a result of our deep and broad knowledge, there’s no reason for clients to go anywhere else."
In risk management, context is key. Done well, risk management gives you the confidence to move forwards in challenging environments because you know who you are, where you’re going and how the external environment may affect you.
It’s been a challenging year for Peel Hunt and our industry, with capital markets activity unusually low. However, challenges also bring opportunities, and my first full year as Chair has been rewarding, working alongside the Board and the executive team to support the business in the next stage of its journey as a public company.