Exchanges show how to tackle clearing conundrum
By Paul J Davies and Jeremy Grant
Published: April 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2008 03:00
Antonio Zoido, chief executive of Spain's Bolsa y Mercados Españoles, seemed frustrated at a recent London conference.
As the world's regulators struggled with how to bring more transparency to the over-the-counter derivatives markets, why were they not studying the exchanges, such as his?
"I haven't heard anyone say 'Hey, why don't we pay some attention to the organised markets?' I find myself a little isolated." Mr Zoido said, making the point that exchanges provided price discovery even in market turmoil. Yet by no means is he isolated. Exchanges are falling over each other to persuade anyone who may be listening that their model of on-exchange clearing could be a way to cut unwanted counterparty risks associated with the bilaterally-negotiated OTC derivatives markets.
The beauty of organised exchanges, they say, is that a clearing house steps in and takes on the counterparty risk, rather than forcing each participant to carry extra risk capital on their balance sheet to guard against default by the opposing side in a transaction.
Yesterday, the CME Group, the largest US futures exchange, could not resist mentioning how its record first quarter earnings illustrated "the benefits of the exchange model for managing risks in diverse global markets".