As bold as ICE

If you thought Intercontinental Exchange’s quest for global domination was going to stop at the monumental acquisition of NYSE Euronext, you would have been wrong.

Jeffrey Sprecher’s juggernaut continues to roll on throughout the global markets arming itself with new weapons along the way.

Now fully equipped with an array of exchanges and clearing houses on both sides of the Atlantic, ICE has said its Singapore-based operations will be up and running in the coming months.

The planned exchange and clearing house in Singapore will give ICE a much-sought-after foothold in Asia, a region western exchanges have been scrambling to become involved in for some time.

Almost as if ticking off his wish list for world domination from Atlanta, Sprecher is driving ICE forward by getting his hands on two crucial cogs in his machine, an interest rates platform in Europe and a presence in Asia.

ICE’s buy-over-build approach in acquiring existing infrastructures is shaving valuable time off the process of building exchanges and clearing houses from the ground up.

The forthcoming launch of ICE Futures Singapore follows February’s purchase of the Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) and puts ICE well ahead of European rivals Eurex in carrying out similar plans for an Asian clearing house.

And having beaten off competition to administer Libor and ISDAFIX, the group is planning a major overhaul of the benchmarks, including licensing fees for the use of Libor.

Noting raised eyebrows in the market, Sprecher said the “modest” fees were the price of making the rate better.

Monetising the rates will add another revenue stream for ICE, which posted strong results for the second quarter of this year, even with trading volumes declining.

Despite the tough interest rates environment in Europe, ICE profits hit US$226 million during the period, up 46% from the previous year.

The exchange also continues to branch out with compliance and workflow tools such as ICE Trade Vault and ICE Link, and just last week acquired intellectual property rights relating to computerised trading strategies.

The patents cover automated strategies, which calculate and make trading decisions, and the exchange is set to inform investors of licensing plans in the coming months.

 It has been a busy couple of years for ICE, but don’t expect it to sit still for long.

Given the exchange group’s track record there could be more acquisitions and new initiatives on their way as ICE continues its aggressive growth plan.

At the start of the millennium ICE was just getting up and running, now 14 years after being founded, the company is playing an integral role in shaping the global financial markets.