CME resumes charity grants halted after MF Global failure

Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:21pm EDT
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By Ann Saphir

CHICAGO (Reuters) - CME Group Inc, the biggest operator of U.S. futures exchanges, has resumed making grants from its main charitable foundation after a seven-month halt triggered by the failure of giant futures brokerage MF Global Holdings Inc.

Charitable giving from the foundation is expected to fall this year, however, to about $3 million from $3.8 million last year, a CME spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday.

CME Group Foundation suspended new grant-making last November after the exchange operator decided to empty CME Trust -- the foundation's sole source of funding -- to make payments to former MF Global customers stung by shortfalls to their accounts.

About $1.6 billion was found to be missing from customer trading accounts in the wake of MF Global's collapse.

As efforts to recover those funds drag on, the $50 million in CME Trust has remained in limbo. It is scheduled to be paid out only after the bankruptcy trustee makes his final distribution of funds to creditors, and only if there is still a shortfall.

No such finality seems likely in the near term, however; James Giddens, the trustee tasked with recovering customer money, is suing MF Global's British unit for the return of about $640 million, and that case is not set for trial until next year.

The whole process of returning funds could take six years, a top futures industry official said earlier this month.

MF Global customers have so far gotten back about 72 percent of their money.   Continued...

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is pictured March 17, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress