Excessive Speculation, Intercontinental Exchange and Government Regulation

Posted on December 29, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Oil, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Rants, Resources, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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Michael W. Masters (Better Markets & Masters Capital Management)

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5th OPEC International Seminar – Michael Masters

Michael Masters Chairman, Better Markets Inc Michael W Masters is the founder and Managing Member of Masters Capital Management, an investment management firm. He is also a Partner in Masters Capital Nanotechnology, a venture capital fund. Mr Masters, an expert on the topic of commodities speculation and financial reform, has testified before many Congressional committees and government agencies, including the House Energy Subcommittee, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Recently, he participated in joint SEC-CFTC roundtable discussions on a variety of security-based swaps issues. Speaking out about the far-reaching harmful effects of unregulated commodities speculation and the need for financial reform, Mr Masters has made numerous appearances in media outlets around the world. He has also addressed consumer and corporate groups, and has served as an expert panellist before international and investor groups. He is the founder of Better Markets, a Washington, DC-based non-profit, non-partisan organization established to promote transparency and accountability in the financial markets for the public interest. He was the 2004 winner of the “Open Your Heart” award from Hedge Funds Care and is a 1989 graduate of the University of Tennessee.
The OPEC International Seminar is now regarded as one of the premier events on the world energy calendar, bringing together Ministers from OPEC Member Countries and other oil-producing countries, heads of intergovernmental organizations, chief executives of national and international oil companies, other industry leaders, renowned academics, analysts and media.
The 5th OPEC International Seminar, held in Vienna’s historic Hofburg Palace on 13–14 June 2012, focussing on the theme ‘Petroleum: Fuelling Prosperity, Supporting Sustainability’. The latest in the series of Seminars, which began in 2001, provided fresh impetus to key industry issues and developed existing and new avenues of dialogue and cooperation.

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IntercontinentalExchange, Inc.,

“…IntercontinentalExchange, Inc., known as ICE, is an American financial company that operates Internet-based marketplaces which trade futures and over-the-counter (OTC) energy and commodity contracts as well as derivative financial products. While the company’s original focus was energy products (crude and refined oil, natural gas, power, and emissions), recent acquisitions have expanded its activity into the “soft” commodities (sugar, cotton and coffee), foreign exchange and equity index futures.

In 2011, ICE and NASDAQ OMX Group joined forces to bid against Deutsche Börse after the latter announced a $9.5 billion deal to merge with NYSE Euronext. The two U.S. bidders and then the German exchange ultimately withdrew after their bids encountered regulatory antitrust resistance. In December 2012 NYSE Euronext agreed to be acquired by ICE pending regulator approval.

ICE is organized into three business lines:

  • ICE Markets — futures, options, and OTC markets. Energy futures are traded via ICE Futures Europe; soft commodity futures/options are handled by ICE Futures U.S.
  • ICE Services — electronic trade confirmations and education.
  • ICE Data — electronic delivery of market data, including real-time trades, historical prices and daily indices.

Contracts sold through ICE Futures U.S. are processed through a subsidiary, ICE Clear U.S. (ICEUS). In May 2008, ICE launched its own Clearing House, ICE Clear, with divisions for Europe, US, Canada & Trust (ICEU).[2]

Headquartered in Atlanta, ICE also has offices in Calgary, Chicago, Houston, London, New York and Singapore, with regional telecommunications hubs in Chicago, New York, London and Singapore.


In the late 1990s, Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE’s founder, chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, acquired Continental Power Exchange, Inc. with the objective of developing an Internet-based platform to provide a more transparent and efficient market structure for OTC energy commodity trading. In May 2000, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) was established, with its founding shareholders representing some of the world’s largest energy traders. The company’s stated mission was to transform OTC trading by providing an open, accessible, multi-dealer, around-the-clock electronic energy exchange. The new exchange offered the trading community better price transparency, more efficiency, greater liquidity and lower costs than manual trading.

In June 2001, ICE expanded its business into futures trading by acquiring the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), now ICE Futures Europe, which operated Europe’s leading open-outcry energy futures exchange. Since 2003, ICE has partnered with the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) to host its electronic marketplaces. In April 2005, the entire ICE portfolio of energy futures became fully electronic. In April 2010 ICE bought CCX’s owner Climate Exchange PLC for 395 million pounds ($622 million). Climate Exchange PLC also owns the European Climate Exchange (ECX).[3]

ICE became a publicly traded company on November 16, 2005, and was added to the Russell 1000 Index on June 30, 2006. The company expanded rapidly in 2007, acquiring the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT),[4] ChemConnect (a chemical commodity market), and the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange. In March 2007 ICE made an unsuccessful $9.9 billion bid for the Chicago Board of Trade, which was instead acquired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.[5]

In January 2008, ICE partnered with TSX Group’s Natural Gas Exchange, expanding their offering to clearing and settlement services for physical OTC natural gas contracts.[6]

NYSE Euronext

In February 2011, in the wake of an announced merger of NYSE Euronext with Deutsche Borse, speculation developed that ICE and Nasdaq could mount a counter-bid of their own for NYSE Euronext. ICE was thought to be looking to acquire the American exchange’s derivatives business, Nasdaq its cash equities business. As of the time of the speculation, “NYSE Euronext’s market value was $9.75 billion. Nasdaq was valued at $5.78 billion, while ICE was valued at $9.45 billion.”[7] Late in the month, Nasdaq was reported to be considering asking either ICE or the Chicago Merc (CME) to join in what would be probably be an $11-12 billion counterbid for NYSE.[8] On April 1, ICE and Nasdaq made an $11.3 billion offer which was rejected April 10 by NYSE. Another week later, ICE and Nasdaq sweetened their offer, including a $.17 increase per share to $42.67 and a $350 million breakup fee if the deal were to encounter regulatory trouble. The two said the offer was a $2 billion (21%) premium over the Deutsche offer and that they had fully committed financing of $3.8 billion from lenders to finance the deal.[9] The Justice Department, also in April, “initiated an antitrust review of the proposal, which would have brought nearly all U.S. stock listings under a merged Nasdaq-NYSE.” In May, saying it “became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval,” the Nasdaq and ICE withdrew their bid.[10] The European Commission then blocked the Deutsche merger on 1 February 2012, citing the fact that the merged company would have a near monopoly.[11][12]

In December 2012, ICE announced it would buy NYSE Euronext for $8 billion, pending regulatory approval. Jeffrey Sprecher will retain his position as Chairman and CEO.[13] The boards of directors of both ICE and NYSE Euronext approved the acquisition.[14]

 Key subsidiaries subject to regulation

 ICE Clear Credit LLC

  • see main article ICE Clear Credit LLC
  • Clearing entity for credit default swaps (CDS)
  • Regulated by
    • CFTC – Derivatives Clearing Organization
    • SEC – Registered Securities Clearing Agency

ICE Clear Europe Limited

  • Clearing entity for credit default swaps (CDS)
  • CFTC – Derivatives Clearing Organization
  • Regulated by
    • SEC – Registered Securities Clearing Agency
    • U.K. Financial Services Authority (FSA) – Recognised Clearing House
    • U.K Financial Services Authority (FSA) – Settlement Finality Designation (SFD) under the Financial Markets and Insolvency Regulations 1999
    • Bank of England (U.K.s central bank) – regulated as an Inter-Bank Payment System (Banking Act 2009)

ICE Futures U.S., Inc.

  • Trades futures and options in three main areas
    • Agricultural – e.g. Sugar No. 11, Cotton No. 2
    • Currency – e.g. U.S. Dollar Index, more than 50 currency pairs
    • Equity index – e.g. Russell Indexes
  • Regulated by
    • CFTC – Exchange

ICE Clear U.S., Inc.

  • Clears products traded on ICE Futures U.S., Inc.
  • Regulated by
    • CFTC – Exchange

Commodities traded on the exchange

  • Coal
  • Crude and Refined products
  • Emissions
  • Natural Gas
  • Power
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee C
  • Cotton No. 2
  • FCOJ A
  • Orange juice concentrate
  • Sugar No. 11
  • Russell Indices
  • US Dollar Index
  • Iron Ore Swaps


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