Clearing houses, or CCPs, were among the very few organisations toemerge from the global financial crisis with their standingenhanced. In the chaotic aftermath of the bankruptcy of LehmanBrothers, they successfully completed trades worth trillions ofdollars in a multitude of financial instruments across listed andover-the-counter markets, and so helped avert financial Armageddon.
That success transformed the business of clearing. Governmentsand regulators around the world gave CCPs and the clearing servicesthey provide a front-line role in protecting the global economyfrom future excesses of finance. CCPs, which mitigate risk infinancial markets, responded by greatly expanding their activities,notably in markets for over-the-counter derivatives, and often infierce competition with one another.
In The Risk Controllers, journalist and author PeterNorman describes how CCPs operate, how they handled the Lehmandefault, and the challenges they now face. Because centralcounterparty clearing is a complex business with a long historythat continues to influence decisions and structures even intoday's fast changing world, The Risk Controllersexplores the development of CCPs and clearing from the earliesttimes to the present.
It draws on the experiences of the people who helped to shapethe business of clearing today. It sets the development of CCPs andclearing in the broader context of changes in society, politics andregulation. The book examines turning points, such as the 1987stock market crash, that set clearing on a new path and the impactof long running trends, including the exponential growth ofcomputer power and the ebb and flow of globalisation.
Written in non-technical language, The Risk Controllersprovides a unique and accessible guide to CCPs and clearing. It isessential reading for clearing professionals, legislators andregulators whose job it is to take this vitally important businessinto the future.
"The recent crisis has, thankfully, renewed interest inthe importance of central counterparties: how they can helppreserve stability or, as Hong Kong showed in 1987, underminestability if they are not super sound. Peter Norman's bookplaces the role of clearing houses in a historical context, andexplains why the financial system's plumbing matters so much.It should be read by anyone interested in building safer capitalmarkets."
Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor Financial Stability, Bank ofEngland