LCH.Clearnet to Extend Clearing Business to Australian Banks

LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd. said it’s extending its clearing business for over-the-counter interest-rate instruments to Australia’s banks, boosting competition in the South Pacific nation.

LCH.Clearnet, the world’s largest clearinghouse for interest-rate swaps, said in an e-mailed statement today that it will apply for an Australian clearing and settlement facility license. Four domestic banks have submitted letters of intent to use the company’s service for clearing interest-rate swaps, London-based LCH.Clearnet said.

“Our discussions with the Australian regulators continue to be very positive,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Axe said in the statement. “We are planning to submit our application in the first quarter of next year.”

As of end-2011, outstanding derivatives positions in Australian dollars comprised about $11 trillion of the $650 trillion in OTC derivatives globally, according to a Reserve Bank of Australia report released in October, which cited data from the Bank of International Settlements.

“We do feel it’s an incredibly important market,” Axe told reporters in a conference call after the statement’s release. “There is validity in our positioning there,” given the size of Australia’s “real-money type organizations” and international businesses, he said.

The company will also be evaluating Asian markets next year and will be looking to define its strategy for the region, according to Axe.

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