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CME Group, the world's largest futures market operator, said Monday it was seeking British regulatory approval to set up a European exchange based in London.

Chicago-based CME, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, said it was applying to Britain's Financial Services Authority to create a London-based market currency futures market in mid-2013.

"We continue to see an increase in business coming from our diverse set of customers in Europe, with more than 20 percent of our volume now originating from the region," said Terry Duffy, CME Group executive chairman and president, in a statement.

"Having an exchange in London that can leverage the central counterparty model of CME Clearing Europe will allow us to align ourselves even more closely with our regional customers in both listed futures and over-the-counter markets, and provide additional opportunities to our expanding non-US customer base."

CME Group chief executive Phupinder Gill said the company was looking at expanding the London market's transactions to other types of futures trading.


"Launching with a suite of FX products allows us to leverage our 40 years of experience in FX futures for customers in the region who access the futures market during the London business day, but we also plan to look at expanding into additional asset classes," he said.

Robert Ray, the managing director of products and services, will become CEO of CME Europe, the company said.

AFP, photo by miyukimouse