ICE transfers MF Global customers’ positions

The clearinghouse for Winnipeg’s commodity exchange has transferred the "majority" of customer positions held there by imploding commodities brokerage MF Global.

New York-based MF Global, considered one of the world’s top commodities brokers, filed a Chapter 11 petition Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in its home state, followed Friday by the resignation of the brokerage’s CEO, Jon Corzine.

ICE Clear Canada, the designated clearinghouse for Winnipeg-based ag exchange ICE Futures Canada, has completed "multiple individual account transfers, with the majority of customer positions transferred," the exchange’s U.S. parent said Friday.

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"The fully margined risk and liquid collateral of our clearing houses clearly demonstrate the efficacy and importance of the central clearing model," ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said in a release. "We would like to note the work of the industry and regulators in solving for the many complexities relating to the management of (MF Global’s) default."

ICE Clear Canada and ICE’s four other clearing houses have also "successfully liquidated the MF Global proprietary book, using collateral held for MF Global and with no adverse impact," ICE said Friday.

MF Global, through its Toronto office, is a clearing participant in ICE Futures Canada, which in the case of a futures commission merchant such as MF Global requires an initial $250,000 deposit to ICE Clear Canada’s clearing fund; margin deposits in the form of cash, bonds and/or letters of credit; and annual registration fees of $5,000 per year.

Court-appointed trustee James Giddens said in a separate release Thursday that he was "pleased to hear news of progress by CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and other exchanges in facilitating the transfer of significant numbers of customer commodity accounts."

Giddens said his staff would work through this weekend to help complete the transfer of bulk accounts and "will attempt to carry out the transfer of individual accounts through next week."

ICE said its clearing houses "will continue to work with customers across the world, as well as regulators, trustees and administrators, to ensure that the remaining customer positions are efficiently managed, with minimal market impact and to facilitate the return of margin monies."

The Reuters news service reported Thursday that U.S. regulators have launched a "broad review" into MF Global’s business practices and "round-the-clock shifts for examiners have become the norm as they sort through the collapse of the firm."

The bankruptcy filing Monday came after "risky bets" on European debt scared away clients and investors, Reuters said.

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