Futures exchanges must enhance their accounting, communications, and legal systems in order to prevent local financial viruses from developing into worldwide plagues, according to a Futures Industry Association report.
The report is the result of three months' work by the association's global task force on financial integrity in the wake of the collapse of Barings PLC, the British investment house.
Its 60 recommendations range from mere reporting requirements to advice on how an exchange or clearing house should prepare itself financially and legally for the failure of a member firm.
In contrast to other reports by industry and user groups in recent months that have dealt with the unregulated over-the-counter financial markets, the Futures Industry Association's covers exchange-traded instruments and was written specifically in response to the crisis caused by the Barings failure.
In February, the 233-year-old London-based financial firm collapsed under the weight of more than $1 billion in losses caused by trades at its Singapore futures unit.
Bill Miller, a member of the task force and chairman of the End Users of Derivates Association, said this event not only showed some of the rips in the regulatory web that protects futures and options markets, it also presented the industry with an opportunity.
"This showed that no one individual market could act as an island," he said. "We needed to coordinate these markets. So we said, 'Let's not miss this opportunity to improve the market since we are in a global environment.'"
The task force suggested changes covering not only brokers involved in these markets, but also the actions of exchanges, clearing houses, regulators, and customers.
Exchanges and clearing houses are urged to implement systems to protect the assets of customers from the failure of a member firm. They are also told that these systems should allow the exchanges to transfer assets and customer positions to other firms, or to close out the positions.
Regulators are urged to share information about member firms and trading activities. At the same time, these authorities should establish coordinated procedures on how to act in the case of a failure in one market.
Mr. Miller said the recommendations show how deeply task force members felt about the Barings collapse. "We felt it was an affront on the integrity of futures markets."