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Numis, the Aim-listed UK broker, posted a 38 per cent drop in profit before tax to £10.5m in half year results this morning, blaming a “scarcity of primary equity issuance in the UK market”.

It also announced that Oliver Hemsley, Numis founder and former chief executive, will step down from its board with immediate effect, taking up a 12-month advisory role.

Corporate broking and advisory revenues in the six months to March 31 were down 26 per cent year on year, to £29m. The small- and mid-cap company specialist completed just two IPOs in the period, compared to 10 in the same period last year.

But Numis saw higher transaction volumes in non-primary activity, and equities revenue rose 31 per cent, to £23.4m.

The company, which has offices in London and New York, stressed that falling overall revenues – down 8 per cent to £52.4m – were set against record highs in the comparative period.

It added that a good start to the second half, with 10 completed corporate transactions generating at least £10m worth of fees, “gives us confidence that the business will have a satisfactory outcome for the full year.”

It also said it was seeing a pick-up in mergers and acquisitions, although that was “yet to fully benefit our top line”.

Of Mr Hemsley, who handed over the role of CEO to Alex Ham and Ross Mitchinson last September, the joint chief executives said:

The Board is enormously grateful to Oliver for everything he has done for Numis. He founded the business in the early 1990s, and led the business as CEO for over 25 years. His leadership, energy and drive have been invaluable to its success and we are delighted that he will remain with the Company in an advisory capacity.

Mr Hemsley’s departure comes as broking houses wrestle with falling commission rates and upcoming regulatory changes, which will affect the way their research is paid for.

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