The latest twist in the battle to control the Chicago Board of Trade is a kind of conspiracy theory. According to this theory, New York and London banks are attempting to buy CBOT through their proxy, the Intercontinental Exchange, in order to capture the derivatives trading business from Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune plays the Chicago versus the New York-London axis to the hilt today, echoing the grand Midwest First nativism we thought had gone out of style with William Jennings Bryan and Robert McCormick.
"This is hand-to-hand combat, Chicago versus New York," said Michael Greenberger, a former federal exchange regulator and now a law professor at the University of Maryland. "It's a massive power play by New York and global banks against the Chicago futures infrastructure."
Upstart ICE clears trades in New York and London, and on Thursday it will open a new trading center in Lower Manhattan.
There is at least a grain of truth in this. Many of the New York and London based brokerages are concerned that a unified Chicago exchange would exercise monopoly power over the derivatives market, and are hoping to see the ICE bid win.
N.Y. banks back ICE in futures power play [Chicago Tribune]