CME to Start Europe Exchange April 27 Following Approval

CME Group Inc. will open its twice-delayed new European exchange to business on April 27, offering currency and commodity futures, after winning approval from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

CME pushed back the start date for its first new bourse as it awaited a decision from the Bank of England, which had to approve the market before the FCA. CME Europe Ltd. was originally intended to open in September. The new London-based exchange will offer trading in 30 currency pairs and commodities including biodiesel contracts, Lee Betsill, chief executive officer of CME Clearing Europe Ltd., said in an interview today.

“This is a huge step for CME in our ambitions to expand globally,” said Betsill, who runs CME’s London-based clearinghouse, the unit that will process trades for the new exchange. “It’s key to putting our stake in the ground in Europe. We always wanted to start with foreign exchange as that is key to our success.”

Interest-rate futures are CME’s biggest business and the company dominates the foreign-exchange derivatives market. Founded in the 19th century, Chicago-based CME’s business spans agricultural, energy, metal and financial futures. The company remains the world’s largest derivatives exchange even after rival IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc. bought Liffe, Europe’s second-largest derivatives market.

Thirty customers have signed up for the European exchange, the company said today.

CME Europe will join with Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s new European derivatives market, called NLX, which opened on May 31, in competing with Deutsche Boerse AG’s Eurex and NYSE Euronext’s Liffe, the largest derivatives venues in Europe. ICE also owns London-based ICE Futures Europe.

Approval for the new exchange comes days after the death of Bob Ray, the CME executive who spent years working to open the market. His wake and memorial service take place on Friday and Saturday this week.

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