Burton-Taylor Finds U.S. Futures Dominate

Thom Thompson

Thom Thompson


ICE Revenues Outpace CME in 2019

Consultants Burton-Taylor report today that Intercontinental Exchange and CME Group remain the two largest exchange operators in the world, measured by total revenues. CME’s exchange revenues were the highest in the world and, at $3.9 billion, dwarf number two Deutsche Boerse’s $2.34 and number three ICE’s $2.28. These latter two companies’ results include sizable securities trading operations. 

The consultants highlight the contributions that both U.S. exchanges’ recent non-exchange acquisitions made to the top line – Interactive Data by ICE and NEX by CME. NEX helped make CME the fastest growing exchange in the world with a 13 percent increase in revenues.  At ICE, revenue from its information services rivals its trading revenues. NEX’s contribution helped push a 7.6 percent growth rate in CME trading and clearing revenues, which account for about 80 percent of CME’s revenues from all sources.  

ICE enjoyed gross revenues of $5.2 billion in 2019. According to Burton-Taylor’s 88-slide benchmark study of the exchange industry, Intercontinental Exchange hauled in 14.6 percent, a little more than one-seventh, of the total $35.6 billion in global revenues, making it the largest exchange operator in the world last year.

What put ICE at the top of the revenue list and is keeping it there is its 2015 acquisition of Interactive Data Corporation, according to Burton-Taylor. Its information services brought in $2.2 billion last year, close behind the $2.3 billion that its largest revenue stream, trading and clearing, yielded. In 2019, information services revenues grew slightly faster than trading and clearing – 4.5 percent to 4.4 percent – so it is catching up.

CME Group narrowed the total revenue gap with ICE last year by growing its top line 13 percent to $4.9 billion. Income from trading and clearing contributed all but $1 billion to CME’s top line. Information services added another $743 million, far short of the more than $2.2 billion that information services brought to ICE. 

Burton-Taylor attributes the CME’s great upward leap mostly to contributions from the NEX acquisition. NEX business boosted CME’s trading and clearing income by $483 million last year. The consultants also report that NEX’s analytics, risk management toolbox and portfolio optimization contributed the lion’s share of growth in information services at CME. Technology and access fees grew sharply by more than 20 percent last year as customers wanted increasingly to connect to CME markets and services.  

Both ICE’s and CME’s EBIT margins deteriorated last year, ICE’s down 0.5 percent to 51.4 percent. Still digesting the NEX acquisition, CME saw its EBIT margin decline from 62 percent to 54.7 percent last year, still higher than its rival ICE’s EBIT margin.

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