CME vows to keep trading pits open if electronic platform fails

CHICAGO Wed May 21, 2014 7:29pm EDT

CHICAGO May 21 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc on Wednesday pushed back against calls for it to close open-outcry trading if its electronic platform fails, saying that most traders have access to the pits.

"To close down the floor because the electronic platform closed down, I don't know why we would do that, unless there was a circumstance that warranted closing all the markets," Executive Chairman Terry Duffy told reporters following the company's annual meeting.

CME, the world's largest futures market operator, suffered the worst-ever trading outage on the world's most important agricultural markets last month when its electronic platform went dark.

Last week, the National Grain & Feed Association said CME should temporarily suspend open-outcry trading if its electronic trading platform crashes to ensure fair access to markets.

Some brokers in the grain and livestock markets affected by the electronic outage also have said that CME should close the pits because electronic trading accounts for roughly 95 percent of the volume in agricultural futures.

However, most market participants are able to access open-outcry trading, Duffy said.

"As long as we're willing to offer a vibrant two options, I think that's the smart thing for us to do," Duffy said about keeping the pits open during an electronic outage.

"If we felt that nobody had access to the marketplace, then we'd have to re-evaluate that situation," he added. "To my knowledge clearing firms work very collaboratively together on give-up situations."

A Reuters analysis of CME trading data showed that pit traders largely succeeded in replacing screen trade in some markets. (Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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