Online trading

Conservative peer Peter Cruddas splits conspiracies on his CMC online trading platform

Conservative peer Peter Cruddas plots split on his CMC online trading platform to take advantage of surge in demand

Conservative peer Peter Cruddas is considering splitting his online trading business in two.

In what would be the biggest shake-up since its founding in 1989, CMC Markets plans to split its online investment group into a retail-focused and leveraged trading platform, offering clients the riskier spread betting services that made his fortune.

The company derives most of its money from the leveraged financial betting business.

Peer: Online trading platform CMC Markets, founded by conservative counterpart Peter Cruddas (pictured), plans to split into a trading platform focused on retail and leveraged trading

However, city big Cruddas has maneuvered in recent months to expand the retail arm, which tends to carry less risk from market volatility and regulators.

CMC unveiled plans in June to set up a legacy platform, which will allow clients to manage ISAs as well as self-invested personal pensions.

Such a move would put CMC in direct competition with listed rivals AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown.

The company also struck a deal in September to take over 500,000 investor clients from Australian banking giant ANZ with combined assets worth around £25bn.

CMC’s board said on Monday it was in the “very early stages” of an “exploratory review” of whether to split the company.

The review is expected to start before the end of this year and end next June.

The admission followed press speculation of a possible split over the weekend. The shares rose 6.4%, or 16.5p, to 275.5p after the news.

A split could be lucrative for Cruddas, 68, who in addition to being CMC’s chief executive is its largest shareholder with a stake of just over 56%. His wife, Fiona, holds a 3.1% stake in the group.

CMC saw its business explode during the lockdown as small investors stuck at home decided to invest their money in the volatile markets.

However, the company warned in early September that the flurry of business activity had slowed as Covid lockdown restrictions were eased and as a result its full-year revenue would be below expectations.

Since the warning, shares of CMC Markets have lost around 34% of their value, wiping out more than £240m of Cruddas’ personal fortune.

The billionaire baron, who also served as co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, sparked controversy last year when he was elevated to the House of Lords by Boris Johnson despite objections from an independent commission over his involvement in a “cash for access”. scandal in 2012 involving then Prime Minister David Cameron.