Fox heads for break-even

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LONDON Fox, the commodities exchange hit by a property futures scandal in 1991, is expected to break even in the year ending 31 March after three consecutive years of losses, writes Lisa Vaughan.

After a regulatory cleanout and under new leadership since the property futures fiasco, the exchange is also studying new strategies to strengthen its core futures contracts of coffee, cocoa and sugar.

Fox plans to launch a programme to encourage US commodity funds, which manage dollars 25bn of institutional and retail funds, to invest in Fox contracts. It will also target UK managed funds, but there are many fewer of those using commodities futures because tax and regulatory restrictions have limited their investment.

The commodity exchange is also looking at internationalising its contracts to attract a wider customer base, with an eye towards Europe. This could mean revamping existing contracts to make them identical to similar, more successful contracts traded on other exchanges.

Fox's new chairman is Michael Jenkins, formerly chief executive of Liffe. Its new chief executive is Robin Woodhead, former founding chairman of London's International Petroleum Exchange, the energy futures market.