ICAP plc is a U.K. based inter-dealer money broker, the largest in the world, carrying out transactions for financial institutions rather than private individuals. ICAP trades in a number of areas, including derivatives, fixed income securities, money market products, foreign exchange, energy (such as gas and oil), credit and equity derivatives.
ICAP is headquartered in London, UK and also operates from New York (Jersey City) and Tokyo with offices in a further 21 smaller financial centres such as Madrid and Sydney. The average daily transaction volume for ICAP plc exceeds $1 trillion, with an even split between paper and electronic transactions.
ICAP plc was previously known as Garban-Intercapital plc before changing to ICAP plc in 2001. The previous name was a result of the merger which created the company, with ICAP plc the product of a merger between Garban plc and Intercapital plc in 1999. Both companies were also the products of mergers — Intercapital (originally founded by present CEO Michael Spencer) was the product of a merger with EXCO plc to form Intercapital plc, while Garban plc was the product of several takeovers, starting in 1977 when Harlow, Meyer and Co was to form part of MAI plc. Mallon & Dorney and Garvin GuyButler were both acquired by 1982 and in 1982, Garban LLC was acquired giving MAI plc significant broking interests in the UK and overseas. In 1996, MAI plc was merged into United News & Media plc before being de-merged and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1998 as Garban plc.
"Dividend washing" aka tax avoidance planning
In December 2011 an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism uncovered a £65.7bn market in European equity dividends whose "central" purpose is tax avoidance. The bureau revealed how some of London's biggest banks 'are behind a huge tax avoidance trade "cheating" European countries of hundreds of millions of euros a year' in taxes. Its analysis suggests that the loss – mainly to France, Germany and Italy – is up to £500m a year. The banks include Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
ICAP was named as the broking firm most used by banks to buy and sell equities for the purpose of "dividend washing", as the trade is more commonly known, according to four well-placed City sources. Its chief executive Michael Spencer has been a fiercely outspoken critic of the EU's financial transaction tax proposal. However, ICAP 'flatly denied' the 'suggestions from three of these sources that Icap acts as a principal in dividend arbitrage by buying equities'.
- "Icap's clients do not disclose to Icap their commercial rationale for the transactions that they execute. Icap takes its legal, compliance and regulatory responsibilities extremely seriously and performs all obligations that are required of it by the FSA and other regulatory bodies. It is not Icap's role to ascertain any of its clients' tax affairs, which are confidential and a matter for them and their relevant tax authorities."
Against the backdrop of Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to wield Britain's EU veto to protect the Square Mile, former Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott called for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the Treasury and the European Commission 'to launch an investigation to ensure full disclosure of all dividend arbitrage transactions'.
- "The FSA, Treasury and the European commission must work closely together to ensure the whole sequence of transactions of this type is fully disclosed to the British, German and French tax authorities. We must stamp out abusive artificial tax-dodging transactions together with our European partners, and stop pretending they are out to undermine the City of London as a responsible and pre-eminent financial centre." 
- 2 Broadgate
- London EC2M 7UR
- United Kingdom
- ICAP plc 2006 Annual Report p1 Financial Highlights
- ICAP plc Website About The Group
- ICAP plc Website History
- Nick Mathiason, Tax avoidance trade puts Square Mile in spotlight again, The Observer, Sunday 18 December 2011
- Article Bungle executes a zippy trade in the Royal Exchange Column (byline, Helen Power) of issue 2,426 (dated 9th December, 2007) of The Sunday Telegraph