ICE adds RBS and readies for Europe launch: RBA calls for expansion of CDS clearing to Australia

ICE adds RBS and readies for Europe launch: RBA calls for expansion of CDS clearing to Australia

IntercontinentalExchange has added Royal Bank of Scotland to its roster of clearing members and confirmed that it will be ready to launch its credit default swaps clearing counterparty in Europe by July.

RBS joins 10 initial clearing members of ICE Trust, and is the first new member since the clearing house launched in March.

Dirk Pruis, president of ICE Trust, says: "We welcome RBS in our continued efforts to bring transparency and stability to the vital CDS markets, and we look forward to working with new dealer and buy-side participants."

ICE Trust is currently expanding its services to include buy-side clearing, which will provide for margin segregation and account portability to firms who are not direct clearing members.

Separately, ICE says it will be ready to provide clearing service through ICE Clear Europe for iTraxx and European single name reference entities by the July 2009 deadline agreed upon by CDS industry participants and the European Commission.

Paul Swann, president of ICE Clear Europe, said: "We are working closely with applicant clearing firms and have completed several weeks of testing. We remain on track to clear iTraxx and European reference entities ahead of the Commission's July deadline."

The move comes as Swiss-German clearer Eurex applies to US regulators to clear OTC derivatives in the US. According to a Financial Times report, the company plans to match rivals CME and ICE by offering the service in both Europe and the US.

Separately, the Payments Systems Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Australia has conducted a survey of the OTC derivatives market in Australia that has come out in favour of the introduction of central counterparty clearing.

However, it has concluded that the relatively small size of the Australian market may constrain the development of purely domestic central counterparty services for OTC derivatives products, opening up new territory for foreign counterparty clearers with global ambitions.

In a statement, the Board says it "endorses the Reserve Bank working with the other Australian financial authorities to encourage international central counterparties to extend their product coverage to the Australian market".

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