Michael Alan Spencer is a British businessman, born 30 May 1955 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A stalwart of the City, he is the founder and chief executive of NEX Group plc, which is focused on electronic markets and post trade business. Spencer is one of the world’s leading interdealer brokers, as well as one of the top electronic brokers of fixed income and foreign exchange markets. He is largely based in London, and maintains property in Kenya as well.
Spencer studied physics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford after attending Worth Abbey Benedictine School in Sussex, and began a successful career dealing in shares while still a student. After working at Drexel Burnham, he founded Intercapital Private Group Limited in 1986, which became Intercapital plc after a reverse takeover by Exco plc. Three years later his company merged with Garban plc to create Garaban-Intercapital plc before it renamed itself as ICAP plc in 2001.
Spencer led the company through a series of acquisitions of trading platorms for foreign exchange, post-trade processing, client servicing, and trading partner integration solutions to provide services for financial institutions before launching the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange in 2012. He agreed terms to sell his voice broking and information business to Tullett Prebon and then changed the name of ICAP to NEX Group plc. He has recently sold the majority of his shares in the portions of the business sold to Tullet Prebon and remains as CEO and majority shareholder of Nex Group.
Spencer is now in the process of moving NEX out of Broadgate to the London Fruit and Wool Exchange in Spitalfields, which has recently been redeveloped. His famous “man cave” of an office, which is stacked with piles of books and large models of Concorde and a Boeing 707 will travel with it, placing his business just outside what are considered the traditional boundaries of the Square Mile.
Away from his business concerns, Spencer served as Treasurer of the Conservative Party between 2006 and 2010, successfully turning an £8 million deficit for the party into a credit of £75 million and setting up the Conservative Party Foundation as a charity to strengthen the Conservative Party’s financial future. He is a shareholder and associate director of Ipswich Town Football Club, and has become well known as an art collector, specialising in twentieth century and contemporary artists such as Jack Vettriano and Lucian Freud.
Charity has never been far from Spencer’s interests. He set up the ICAP Charity Day in 1993, which has become a fixture in the City ever since. The Charity Day is an celebrity-studded annual event where they man the trading desks at ICAP and any profits from the day are then donated to charity. To date, the Charity Day has backed 2,200 projects and raised over £137 million. Projects have included 116 000 (the new EU helpline for missing children); an outpatient programme for ex-servicemen and women; a cancer care centre for young people; and clean water supplies for villages in Malaysia. Spencer is also a founder of the Borana Conservation Trust, which works to support critically endangered species in Kenya.
Spencer has received a number of awards and recognition in his career. In 2007 he was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the CNBC European Business Leader Awards, and later was awarded the Beacon Fellowship Prize’s Judges Special Award. Ernst & Young named him as World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, seeing off over 50 other competitors for the Award.