What the ICE/NYSE Merger Means for the Industry courtesy of the TABB Group


With each passing day, the acquisition of NYSE Euronext by ICE seems more likely to receive final approval. Here are 5 ways the deal will impact the capital markets.

February 15, 2013, marked the end of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act waiting period in the acquisition of NYSE Euronext by IntercontinentalExchange(ICE). With each passing day, the acquisition seems more likely to receive final approval. As we await the next phase of regulatory approval from the SEC, we wanted to share a few thoughts on how we believe the acquisition will impact current clearing, reporting and trading operations, as well as how the two exchanges can benefit from the merger.

1. Need for Physical Trading Floor

The future format of the NYSE trading floor seems to be on the minds of everyone. There are analyst speculations that ICE’s CEO, Jeffrey Sprecher, will close the trading floor, as was done to the New York Board of Trade in 2012 four years after it was acquired by ICE. However, according to interviews, Sprecher has expressed intentions to keep the physical trading floor intact.

[Related: “It May Be ‘Bye-Bye to the Big Board,’ But the NY Times Should Get Its Story Right”]

Both companies have robust electronic trading, and Sprecher has acknowledged the value of NYSE’s legacy in voice brokering. As technology continues to dominate the exchange space, there has been recognition of the value of voice brokering (by which the NYSE is defined). The market has ironically become too complex to rely only on computer-to-computer trading, showing the physical trading floor still provides an intrinsic value in keeping an orderly marketplace.

2. Impact on Clearing

US-based firms that are major players in the derivative space will benefit by having a local trading and clearing venue, through reductions in clearing costs and operational risks. Typically, coordinating multiple back-office processes and reconciliations between the US and UK calls for duplicate efforts, resulting in back-to-back bookings to flatten balance sheets and delays in handling breaks; having the ability to manage these operational processes will make for a more efficient process.

Title VII of the Dodd Frank Act, which requires central clearing for certain derivatives contracts, has limited NYSE’s presence in the US-based interest rate swaps clearing business. Currently, the NYSE has a small presence in the US-based interest rate swap clearing business, due to a lack of access to a central clearinghouse, now mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. Through the acquisition, NYSE will be able to benefit from ICE’s presence in European fixed income derivative trading and clearing.

3. Impact on Market Participants

Reductions in clearing costs can translate into cost savings for market participants. Just last year, ICE had to increase its trading and clearing fee due to “regulatory burdens,” and with the merger of NYSE Euronext, ICE will also have to compete with other exchanges on transaction costs. Even if fees increase after the merger, market participants would still fare better than if the two companies operated independently. This newly merged exchange will be able to offer a larger array of products and services, so that market participants can look to fewer companies for trading execution and clearing services, thereby decreasing expenses associated with initial client on-boarding.

4. Impact on Reporting

NYSE’s core data products make U.S. market data free and available, using consolidated tapes, giving transparency to last-sales price and quotes. It also sells its non-core data products to analytics traders, researchers and academics. ICE will be able to leverage NYSE’s experience in data reporting, as it looks to setup its own swap data repository (SDR), in order to meet CFTC mandates for real time swap reporting.

[Related: “Commissioner O’Malia Talks Derivatives Reform: Assessing and Improving the Change”]

ICE has already set up a registered SDR — and the ICE Trade Vault, which will offer both recordkeeping and reporting services for credit default swaps. However, as reporting requirements go live for additional asset classes, it will be necessary to offer data recordkeeping and reporting services to these as well. This is where NYSE’s existing core data products can benefit ICE.

5. Benefits in Merging of Exchanges

Although ICE and NYSE’s product offerings differ vastly, the functions of trading, clearing and settlement demands often overlap, and both are registered with the CFTC as designated contract markets. Efficiencies can be gained when these two exchanges tackle the requirements in swaps reporting and recordkeeping, external business conduct rules and documentation standards in this era of heightened standards for SIFI. As regulatory mandates increase the operating costs for exchanges, it is becoming prudent to explore additional mergers.

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About carlarweir
I am a Cross Asset FIX Connectivity SME working for international banks. i also sit on the FIX Protocol Ltd Global Steering Committee, and am Co-Chair of the Global Cross Asset Committee. I also have a very strong background in Mobile Telephony, Cloud computing, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, Big Data, innovation, and am a pioneer in Pseudolite technology.

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