NEW YORK -- The Intercontinental-Exchange (ICE) has received approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to allow registered traders of any U.S. futures exchange to do business on ICE's electronic platform.

"For the first time since the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in , all registered traders will have the opportunity to trade in OTC (over-the-counter) commodity markets via a digital platform," David Goone, ICE's senior vice president, said in a statement.

Goone did not return calls Tuesday seeking further comment, but a spokeswoman said the approval by the CFTC would bring important liquidity to ICE. The move opens ICE up to higher liquidity because even members of the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) can now trade on the ICE platform.

"The new access standards will allow independent members of the exchanges to trade the highly robust and liquid energy OTC derivatives markets on Intercontinental that were formerly reserved for only large corporations," former natural gas trader Scott Smith said in a statement released by ICE.

ICE said it sent an application to the CFTC in response to numerous inquires by traders and the trading community, including proprietary trading groups.

Meanwhile, ICE is continuing its litigation with Nymex. The Atlanta-based company is counter-suing Nymex, claiming that the exchange is abusing its monopoly power over energy futures trading (AMM, Jan. 7). Nymex initiated the action in November, accusing ICE of copyright infringement (AMM, Nov. 11).

Nymex issued a reply to the ICE suit, calling the counterclaims "baseless" and adding that Nymex was a "neutral forum for trading that provided a level playing field for all participants, large and small, from all segments of the energy industry."

Alison Guerriere

COPYRIGHT Reed Business Information

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