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April 11, 2013

ICAP Brokers on ‘Treasure Island’ Said to Reap ISDAfix Rewards

“ICAP Plc’s (IAP) U.S. interest-rate swap desk, which regulators are investigating as part of a price- manipulation probe, paid its brokers as much as $7 million a year at the market’s peak, earning the group the nickname “Treasure Island,” said two people familiar with the matter.

The team of about 20 in the company’s Jersey City, New Jersey, office made $100 million to $120 million annually for ICAP around 2008 and 2009, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are private. The group benefits from a move 11 years ago that put the firm in control of the computer screen used by the industry to price swaps in much of the $379 trillion market, one of the people said.

That screen has become the focus of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which subpoenaed about a dozen current and former ICAP brokers and as many as 15 dealers to determine if they’re colluding to create inaccurate quotes that would boost bank profits. About 6,000 firms subscribe to the screen, and prices set daily by the trades ICAP arranges are used by corporate treasurers and money managers to value positions.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

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