EXCHANGES

CME, ICE Ease Rules On Futures Blocks

CME Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. are loosening their rules on trades that involve large blocks of futures executed off exchanges.

Block trades are big futures transactions negotiated between two companies. They are crucial to U.S. energy markets, where a significant portion of trading in recent years has shifted away from over-the-counter swaps into block trades. Both are private deals often agreed to over the phone, but in block trades, the two companies doing the deal allow a futures exchange to step in as a middleman.

The rule changes being adopted by ICE and CME will allow a company that is considering doing a block deal to buy or sell futures in anticipation of the trade, a practice called prehedging.

Alexander Osipovich

BLACKROCK

Ex-Manager Pleads Guilty in Insider Case

Mark Lyttleton, a former BlackRock Inc. fund manager, pleaded guilty to two counts of insider trading, admitting using information from his job to make personal trades.

Mr. Lyttleton, an equities fund manager at BlackRock for more than a decade, was charged for trades involving two stocks, EnCore Oil PLC and Cairn Energy PLC, in 2011. EnCore Oil was being acquired by another oil company at the time, while Cairn Energy was selling a stake in its Indian unit. The case was prosecuted by the Financial Conduct Authority, the U.K. regulator.

The FCA said the trades were made through an overseas asset manager trading on behalf of a company registered in Panama. It previously said that Swiss authorities carried out searches in Switzerland in relation to the case.

A lawyer for Mr. Lyttleton didn't return calls for comment. BlackRock isn't part of the investigation and its clients weren't involved, the asset-management company said previously.

Margot Patrick

BANCO SANTANDER

Talks Under Way To Repurchase Stake

Banco Santander SA is in talks to buy back the 50% stake in its asset-management unit that it sold to two private-equity firms in 2013, according to people familiar with the situation.

Santander sold half of Santander Asset Management to Warburg Pincus LLC and General Atlantic LLC 3 1/2 years ago in a transaction that valued the unit at EUR2 billion ($2.21 billion). The deal generated a net capital gain of EUR700 million for Santander, the Spanish bank said at the time.

The asset-management unit had EUR173.6 billion of assets under management as of June 30 and more than 700 staff, mostly in Europe and South America.

--Simon Clark and Jeannette Neumann

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2016 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)

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