Nasdaq OMX restructures markets services business

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Nasdaq OMX is to restructure its key markets services operations into a new unit aimed at developing its cash and derivatives business around the world.

The exchange operator will combine its US and European transaction, clearing and settlement services into one business, called Global Market Services.

It is intended to develop cash securities and derivatives business for equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities and will be led by Hans-Ole Jochumsen, head of the group’s Nordic business. He will report directly to Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq OMX chief executive.

It means the 55-year old Dane will oversee all of the group’s US and European markets businesses, including its high-profile US stock exchange, its eSpeed US Treasuries platform it bought last year from interdealer broker BGC Partners, and NLX, a start-up European futures trading venue.

While Nasdaq has in recent years made several purchases to reduce its reliance on equities, a substantial minority of its revenues are still dependent on the fiercely-competitive equities market.

“As markets have become increasingly global in asset classes like fixed income, currency and commodities and in the over-the-counter clearing space, we believe it is an opportune time to structure our transaction business in such a way that takes advantage of these opportunities,” said Mr Greifeld.

Mr Jochumsen has spearheaded Nasdaq OMX’s push into power trading in Europe’s commodities and energy markets, putting its venues head to head with Deutsche Börse and Intercontinental­Exchange. He will also take on the role that was previously held by Eric Noll, the former senior Nasdaq executive who unexpectedly quit for ConvergEX late last year.

The 55-year old Dane said the reshaping had been “very much customer-driven” as investors increasingly traded across asset classes.

It comes days after Nasdaq OMX became the first market infrastructure owner to receive approval for its clearing house to operate under tougher new European regulations designed to tighten oversight of derivatives markets.

Qualifying clearing houses are subject to tougher risk models and stress testing as well as higher standards on protecting customer assets. In return for accepting higher standards, clearing houses can offer customers greater financial incentives than for uncleared trades, or unqualified clearing houses.

Mr Jochumsen suggested that clearing house could take on a larger role within Nasdaq. “The clearing aspect plays an even more important role than a few years ago,” he told FT Trading Room. “We will look at what to do with futures in the US.” “One possibility is to extend the clearing licence in the US with a Derivatives Clearing Organisation (DCO) licence.”

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