Tense times at Chicago’s financial exchanges

By David Roeder from Chicago Suntimes

All things considered, it’s a tense time at Chicago’s financial exchanges. They have their issues with reputation management.

The troubles at CME Group (CME), owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, are well known by now and involve missing customer money and potential fraud at the brokerage MF Global.

No one has accused CME of doing anything wrong, although there are victimized traders who will go to their graves insisting the CME, as MF Global’s lead regulator, had lax standards for the large trading customer. CME is a for-profit company and a market police officer, and regulators wonder if those roles are in conflict.

But at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, there’s regulatory smoke that could be more serious. The exchange, the main unit of CBOE Holdings (CBOE), admitted in February that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its market oversight. Since then, two top executives in its regulatory division have departed and a shake-up has started.

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