The nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan meet on the third Wednesday of every month. The men share a common goal to safeguard the interests of big banks in the market for derivatives, which is regarded as one of the most controversial yet most profitable fields in finance. The best part is that these men do not provide details of their meetings and even their identities.
The bankers, drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, form a powerful committee that facilitates oversee trading in derivatives and instruments. In short, these men defends the dominance of the big banks and work on policies to block other banks from entering the market besides thwarting efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available.
The influence of these banks over the derivatives market and over clearinghouses has costly implications for large and small businesses.
Derivatives are big business on the Wall Street and it is believed that banks collect many billions of dollars annually in undisclosed fees associated with these instruments. The worrying part is that these banks avoid and eliminate competition to keep the associated prices high, which could have seen a downfall if there were more competition and transparent prices.
Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, recently said, the marketplace as it functions now “adds up to higher costs to all Americans.” But such statements are no deterrents to big banks that influence the rules governing derivatives through a variety of industry groups.