Dec 5 - Declining trading volumes for global exchanges are turning Standard
& Poor's Ratings Services' outlook for the industry negative, according to the
article, titled "Lower Trading Volumes Will Put Global Exchanges To The Test In
2013 As Clearinghouses Deal With Regulations."
"We expect 2012's drop in trading volumes at both stock and derivative
exchanges to continue into 2013. This will lower top-line transaction-based
revenues and operating cash flows, in our view," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Charles Rauch. "However, many exchanges have been improving their debt
profiles by refinancing or prefunding near-term debt maturities, which could
help to offset their potentially weaker operating results."
"For clearinghouses, high-quality collateral is increasingly becoming a scarce
resource. As a result, some are offering collateral management services, which
can boost revenue," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Giles Edwards.
"However, other clearinghouses are accepting lower-quality collateral and
offering cross-margining services, which could put them at risk of not having
sufficient collateral to cover losses if a member defaults."
At the same time, national regulators in the U.S. and Europe are calling on
systemically important clearinghouses to boost their financial safeguards and
capitalization as mandatory over-the-counter clearing comes into effect. We
expect that clearinghouses we rate will soon meet these tougher standards and
that these developments will generally support ratings.
Since the beginning of 2012, Standard & Poor's has taken a number of rating or
outlook actions on global exchanges and clearinghouses, most of them negative.
Nevertheless, the industry remains highly rated relative to other sectors
(such as commercial banks, securities firms, and asset managers) in the
financial services industry. We rate more than two-thirds of the 17 publicly
rated companies in the 'AA' and 'A' rating categories, and we rate only one
company speculative grade.
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