Banks explore spin-offs for cleared swaps desks

Non-bank dealers would escape Basel III; private equity seen as likely owners

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Banks are "trying to make a strategic divestment of the cleared swaps trading business and move it outside the Basel III world"

Large derivatives dealers in the US and Europe are exploring the spin-off of their cleared swaps desks, in a move that could slash the capital they consume – by more than a half, according to one estimate – and help them go toe-to-toe with aggressive new entrants such as Citadel Securities.

Lawyers are now quietly helping the banks sketch out the terms of a divestment, answering questions about how big a stake the current owners could retain – US law sets the maximum at 24.9% – and how the

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