Report: Documents show U.S. has approved sale of Chicago Stock Exchange to Chinese firm

by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2016

The sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a Chinese investment group has been approved, according to U.S. Treasury documents.

The sale was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to a Chinese group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers who cited concerns about the level of influence the Chinese state might gain over the Chicago exchange, Reuters reported.

The sale was approved despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers. /Getty Images
The sale was approved despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers. /Getty Images

The deal is still under review by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If it also approves the deal, it would be the first sale of a U.S. exchange to investors from China.

Last February, a group of 46 U.S. lawmakers asked CFIUS to examine the deal. They included Rep. Robert Pittenger, a North Carolina Republican on the Financial Services Committee and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Pittenger warned that China, which has been accused of corporate espionage, would have access to the data of U.S. companies who use the exchange.

“This raises serious questions about the long-term integrity of our markets and confidence in the security of our trading systems, as the ability to undermine capital flows in any potential conflict would be devastating. This transaction should not have been approved,” said U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commissioner Michael Wessel.

The Chicago exchange executes about 0.5 percent of U.S. stock transactions. The exchange, with locations in Chicago and New Jersey, is mainly used by market makers that buy and sell the most active exchange-traded funds and hedge their positions using futures on CME Group Inc’s Chicago Mercantile Exchange.