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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
Or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                 to
Commission File Number 001-36198
INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware46-2286804
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(IRS Employer
Identification Number)

5660 New Northside Drive,
Atlanta, Georgia
30328
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(770) 857-4700
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:  
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per shareICENew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.   Yes      No   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports); and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes   No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company  
Emerging growth company



If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.       ☐   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was $62.8 billion.
As of February 5, 2024, the number of shares of the registrant’s Common Stock outstanding was 572,616,425 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain information contained in the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year to which this report relates.





 
 
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
Item
Number
Page
Number
PART I
1.
1(A).
1(B).
1(C).
2.
3.
4.
PART II
5.
6.
7.
7(A).
8.
9.
9(A).
9(B).
9(C).
PART III
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
PART IV
15.
16.




PART I
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, and unless otherwise indicated, the terms “Intercontinental Exchange,” “ICE,” “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company,” and “our business” refer to Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., together with its consolidated subsidiaries. All references to “options” or “options contracts” in the context of our futures products refer to options on futures contracts. Solely for convenience, references in this Annual Report to any trademarks, service marks and trade names owned by ICE are listed without the ®, ™ and © symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights to these trademarks, service marks and trade names. 
We also include references to third-party trademarks, trade names and service marks in this Annual Report. Except as otherwise expressly noted, our use or display of any such trademarks, trade names or service marks is not an endorsement or sponsorship and does not indicate any relationship between us and the parties that own such marks and names.
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report. Due to rounding, figures in tables may not sum exactly.
Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report, including the sections entitled “Business,” “Legal Proceedings,” “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical fact may be forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future financial performance and are based on our present beliefs and assumptions, as well as the information currently available to us. They involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our results, levels of activity, performance, cash flows, financial position or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements.
Forward-looking statements may be introduced by or contain terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “targets,” “goal,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” or the antonyms of these terms or other comparable terminology. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance, cash flows, financial position or achievements. Accordingly, we caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements we may make.
Factors that may affect our performance and the accuracy of any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those listed below:
conditions in global financial markets and domestic and international economic and social conditions, including inflation, risk of recession, political uncertainty and discord, geopolitical events or conflicts (including the conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza), international trade policies and sanctions laws;
global political conditions including the presidential election in the United States, or U.S., and general elections in many jurisdictions in the U.S. and United Kingdom, or U.K.;
the impact of the introduction of or any changes in laws, regulations, rules or government policies with respect to financial markets, climate change, increased regulatory scrutiny or enforcement actions and our ability to comply with these requirements;
volatility in commodity prices and equity prices, and price volatility of financial benchmarks and instruments such as interest rates, credit spreads, equity indices, foreign exchange rates, and mortgage industry trends;
the impact of climate change and the transition to renewable energy;
the business environment in which we operate and trends in our industries, including trading volumes, prevalence of clearing, demand for data services, mortgage lending and servicing activity, mortgage delinquencies, fees, changing regulations, competition and consolidation;
our ability to minimize the risks associated with operating clearing houses in multiple jurisdictions;
our exchanges’ and clearing houses' compliance with their respective regulatory and oversight responsibilities;
the resilience of our electronic platforms and soundness of our business continuity and disaster recovery plans;
our ability to realize the expected benefits of our acquisitions and our investments, including our acquisition of Black Knight, Inc., or Black Knight, and our ability to remain in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission consent order to resolve antitrust concerns regarding our acquisition of Black Knight;
our ability to execute our growth strategy, identify and effectively pursue, implement and integrate acquisitions, including that of Black Knight, and strategic alliances and realize the synergies and benefits of such transactions within the expected time frame;
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the performance and reliability of our trading, clearing and mortgage technologies and those of third-party service providers;
our ability to keep pace with technological developments and client preferences;
our ability to ensure that the technology we utilize is not vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacking and other cybersecurity risks or other disruptive events or to minimize the impact of any such events;
our ability to keep information and data relating to the customers of the users of the software and services provided by our ICE Mortgage Technology business confidential;
the impacts of a public health emergency or pandemic, including a re-emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, on our business, results of operations and financial condition as well as the broader business environment;
our ability to identify trends and adjust our business to benefit from such trends, including trends in the U.S. mortgage industry such as inflation rates, interest rates, new home purchases, refinancing activity, servicing activity, delinquencies and home builder and buyer sentiment, among others;
our ability to evolve our benchmarks and indices in a manner that maintains or enhances their reliability and relevance;
the accuracy of our cost and other financial estimates and our belief that cash flows from operations will be sufficient to service our debt and to fund our operational and capital expenditure needs;
our ability to incur additional debt and pay off our existing debt in a timely manner;
our ability to maintain existing market participants and data and mortgage technology customers, and to attract new ones;
our ability to offer additional products and services, leverage our risk management capabilities and enhance our technology in a timely and cost-effective fashion;
our ability to attract, develop and retain key talent;
our ability to protect our intellectual property rights and to operate our business without violating the intellectual property rights of others; and
potential adverse results of threatened or pending litigation and regulatory actions and proceedings.
These risks and other factors include, among others, those set forth in Part 1, Item 1(A) under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report, as well as in other filings we make with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Due to the uncertain nature of these factors, management cannot assess the impact of each factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we undertake no obligation to update any of these statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this Annual Report. New factors may emerge and it is not possible to predict all factors that may affect our business and prospects.
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ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Introduction
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. is a leading global provider of technology and data to a broad range of customers including financial institutions, corporations and government entities. Our products, which span major asset classes including futures, equities, fixed income and U.S. residential mortgages, provide our customers with access to mission critical tools that are designed to increase asset class transparency and workflow efficiency. Although we report our results in three reportable business segments, we operate as one business, leveraging the collective expertise, particularly in data services and technology, that exists across our platforms to inform and enhance our operations. Our segments are as follows:
Exchanges: We operate regulated marketplace technology for the listing, trading and clearing of a broad array of derivatives contracts and financial securities as well as data and connectivity services related to those venues.
Fixed Income and Data Services: We provide fixed income pricing, reference data, indices, analytics and execution services as well as global credit default swaps, or CDS, clearing and multi-asset class data delivery technology.
Mortgage Technology: We provide a technology platform that offers customers comprehensive, digital workflow tools that aim to address inefficiencies and mitigate risks that exist in the U.S. residential mortgage market life cycle, from application through closing, servicing and the secondary market.
2303 ICE Investor Deck Info Graphic-v6-1 (004).jpg
Our History
In 2000, ICE was founded with the idea of transforming energy markets by creating a network that removed barriers and provided greater transparency, efficiency and access. By staying close to our customers, we have expanded into new asset classes and services, while retaining a core mission of reducing friction in markets, bringing efficiency to our customers’ workflows and, ultimately, connecting our customers to opportunity.
Today, we are a Fortune 500 company, providing our customers with an array of technology solutions and data services that span a diverse set of asset classes.
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Timeline.jpg
Our Business Segments
Our business is conducted through three reportable business segments:
Exchanges;
Fixed Income and Data Services; and
Mortgage Technology.
The majority of our identifiable assets are located in the U.S. and the U.K. For a summary of our revenues, net assets and net property and equipment by geographic region, see Note 19 to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report.
Exchanges Segment
We operate regulated marketplaces for the listing, trading and clearing of a broad array of derivatives contracts and financial securities, such as commodities, interest rates, foreign exchange and equities as well as corporate and exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. We operate multiple trading venues, including 13 regulated exchanges and six clearing houses, which are strategically positioned in major market centers around the world, including the U.S., U.K., European Union, or EU, Canada, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Our Exchanges segment includes trading and listings revenue from our global futures network and the New York Stock Exchange and other registered securities exchanges, or collectively, the NYSE, and various data and connectivity services that are directly related to those exchange platforms. Revenues reflect a mix of both diversified transaction revenues and recurring data and listings revenues. Our Exchanges segment generated revenues, less transaction-based expenses of $4.4 billion and accounted for 56% of our consolidated revenues, less transaction-based expenses in 2023. Our Exchanges business can experience moderate seasonal fluctuations, although such seasonal impacts have been somewhat muted in periods of high volume trading. Key asset classes include:
Energy Futures and Options: We offer a range of futures and options products that are designed to enable our customers to manage their risk across global energy markets. Our flagship Brent crude oil contract serves as the cornerstone of a global oil network that today includes over 700 related crude and refined oil products including locational and refined spreads. In addition, as natural gas and Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, continue to globalize, we offer one of the broadest footprints of regional and global natural gas benchmarks, which span North America, Europe and Asia. Our leading environmental and power markets round out our diverse global energy network. For over two decades, our environmental markets have provided customers risk management tools to meet carbon cap and trade program requirements and renewable fuel standards. Increasingly, market participants are turning to our global environmental markets to help navigate and manage risk related to climate change, the energy transition and the move to net zero emissions.

Agricultural & Metals Futures and Options: We offer futures and options on the leading global soft commodity markets including coffee, cocoa, cotton and sugar. Our benchmark contracts offer one of the most globally relevant
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price markers for these agricultural markets and provide our customers with the tools to manage price and counterparty risk and facilitate price discovery.

Financial Futures and Options: We offer a diverse suite of equity futures and options contracts based on our own indices as well as those created by MSCI® and FTSE®. These contracts range from established global benchmarks, such as the MSCI® Emerging Market Index, to newer products, such as MSCI®’s suite of Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, indices and the NYSE FAANG+ Index. Our global interest rate complex spans geographies, currencies and tenors, providing participants around the world with tools to manage risk in a capital efficient manner. Key products include: Euribor, Gilts, Sterling Overnight Index Average, or SONIA, and Secured Overnight Financing Rates, or SOFR, among others.

Cash Equities and Equity Options: We offer securities trading services through our five registered securities exchanges, including the NYSE. Our securities exchanges are leading providers of transparent, efficient, and high quality markets for the securities issued by large and small companies, ETFs and equity options. These markets serve issuers, investors and other market participants across five cash equity and two options markets.

OTC and Other: Our over-the-counter, or OTC, markets include bilateral energy markets that offer electronic trading of contracts based on physically-settled natural gas, power and refined oil contracts and other trade confirmation services. Our other revenues primarily include interest income on certain clearing margin deposits related to our futures business, regulatory penalties and fines, fees for use of our facilities, regulatory fees charged to member organizations of our U.S. securities exchanges, designated market maker service fees, exchange membership fees and agricultural grading and certification fees.

Data and Connectivity Services: Our exchange data services include, among other offerings, proprietary real-time and historical pricing data, as well as order book and transaction information related to our global futures markets and the NYSE exchanges. In addition, we receive a share of revenue from the sale of consolidated U.S. equity and options market data by the National Market System Plans, or NMS Plans.
Separately, we also provide connectivity services directly related to our futures, cash equity and options exchanges and clearing houses. Revenues from data and connectivity services fees are largely recurring in nature.
Listings: The NYSE has been the venue of choice for innovators, visionaries and leaders for over 230 years. The NYSE offers a unique hybrid market model that combines leading technology with an accountable market maker to provide human judgment, a community of the world’s greatest companies and premium brand visibility. With over 70% of S&P 500 companies listed on the NYSE as of December 31, 2023, we are a leading listing venue across a range of sectors from technology and healthcare, to financials and energy. In addition to corporate listings, the NYSE is a global leader in ETF listings with 75%, or roughly $6.1 trillion, of ETF assets under management, or AUM, as of December 31, 2023. Additionally, in 2023, NYSE reported 32 listing transfers from competing exchanges, the second-highest total since 2002, bringing $120 billion in new market capitalization to the exchange and also listed two of the year's three largest IPOs. Revenues from listing fees are largely recurring in nature.

We operate six clearing houses, each of which acts as a central counterparty, or CCP, that, for its clearing members, becomes the buyer to every seller and the seller to every buyer. Through this CCP function, our clearing houses provide financial security for each transaction, for the duration of the position, by limiting counterparty credit risk. Our clearing houses are responsible for providing clearing services to each of our futures exchanges, and in some cases, to third-party execution venues.

Mechanisms have been created, called guaranty funds, to provide partial protection in the event of a clearing member default. Except for ICE NGX Canada Inc., or ICE NGX, each of the ICE Clearing Houses (as defined below) requires that each clearing member make deposits into a guaranty fund maintained by the relevant ICE Clearing House. In addition, we have contributed $340 million of our own cash to the guaranty funds which is one component of the table below, and such amounts are at risk and could be used in the event of a clearing member default. We also maintain default insurance as an additional layer of clearing member default protection, which is also reflected in the table below. The default insurance was renewed in September 2022 and has a three-year term for the following clearing houses in the following amounts: ICE Clear Europe - $100 million; ICE Clear U.S. - $25 million; and ICE Clear Credit - $75 million. In addition, the table below includes a guaranty fund of $215 million maintained by ICE NGX funded by the following: (1) a $200 million letter of credit issued by a major Canadian chartered bank, and backed by default insurance underwritten by Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation operated at arm’s length from the Canadian government, and (2) $15 million, which is included in our total cash contribution of $340 million, held as restricted cash to fund the first loss amount ICE NGX is responsible for under the default insurance policy.
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Our contributions to each clearing house as of December 31, 2023 are listed below and our clearing houses are referred to herein collectively as “the ICE Clearing Houses”:
Clearing HouseProducts ClearedLocationExchange where ExecutedReporting SegmentICE's Contribution
ICE Clear Europe Energy, agricultural, interest rates and equity index futures and options contractsU.K.ICE Futures Europe, ICE Futures U.S., ICE Endex, ICE Futures Abu Dhabi and third-party venuesExchanges$297 million
ICE Clear U.S.Agricultural, metals, foreign exchange, or FX, interest rate, and equity index futures and/or options contractsU.S.ICE Futures U.S.Exchanges
$100 million
ICE Clear Credit1
OTC North American, European, Asian-Pacific and Emerging Market CDS instrumentsU.S.Creditex and third-party venuesFixed Income and Data Services$125 million
ICE Clear NetherlandsDerivatives on equities and equity indices traded on regulated marketsThe NetherlandsICE EndexExchanges$2 million
ICE Clear SingaporeEnergy, metals and financial futures productsSingaporeICE Futures SingaporeExchanges$1 million
ICE NGXPhysical North American natural gas and electricityCanadaICE NGXExchanges$215 million
1 Although ICE Clear Credit is included in the Fixed Income and Data Services reporting segment, it is included in the table as a part of our suite of global clearing houses.

In 2022, we announced our decision to cease our CDS clearing service at ICE Clear Europe, our clearing house in the U.K. All cleared CDS positions at ICE Clear Europe were successfully closed, with the majority re-established at ICE Clear Credit in October 2023. Moving forward, our sole CDS clearing offering is our ICE Clear Credit clearing house in the U.S. All CDS products have been delisted at ICE Clear Europe and the final regulatory steps for de-registration have been completed as of December 31, 2023.
Fixed Income and Data Services Segment
Our Fixed Income and Data Services segment includes our fixed income execution, or ICE Bonds, CDS clearing, our fixed income data and analytics offerings, and other multi-asset class data and network services. Our leading fixed income pricing and reference data offerings serve as the foundation for a broader fixed income network that provides our customers solutions that span the full workflow including pre- and post-trade analytics, a range of execution protocols and indices. In addition, our multi-asset class connectivity, feeds and desktop solutions, which comprise our Other Data and Network Services business, leverage a common sales force, which can enhance cross-selling opportunities across the Fixed Income and Data Services segment. The Fixed Income and Data Services segment generated revenues of $2.2 billion in 2023 and accounted for 28% of our consolidated revenues, less transaction-based expenses.
Fixed Income Execution: Alongside our leading Fixed Income Data and Analytics offerings, ICE Bonds is focused on providing tools to improve efficiency in customers' workflows across fixed income markets. ICE Bonds provides customers with electronic markets that support multiple fixed income trading protocols including: click-to-trade, request for quotation, or RFQ, and auctions, including portfolio auctions/trading.
CDS Clearing: ICE Clear Credit currently supports Single Names CDS on over 630 reference entities and over 175 Index CDS instruments. Revenues also include interest income on certain clearing margin deposits related to our CDS clearing business.
Fixed Income Data and Analytics: We are a leading provider of end-of-day and continuous evaluated pricing services on nearly three million fixed income securities spanning approximately 150 countries and 80 currencies including sovereign, corporate and municipal bonds, mortgage and asset-backed securities as well as leveraged loans. Our reference data offering complements our evaluated pricing by providing our clients a broad range of
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descriptive information, covering millions of financial instruments that, when coupled with our pricing services, act as the foundation for our leading fixed income index complex, ICE Data Indices, LLC, or ICE Data Indices. We also offer a range of fixed income analytics and other workflow solutions including: best execution services, liquidity indicators, fixed income and derivatives portfolio analytics and our ETF Hub. Our fixed income customers use our data, indices and analytics to inform pre-trade decision making, support post-trade regulatory and compliance needs and improve operational efficiency. In addition, our newer offerings in this area include a variety of ESG data and analytics offerings. Fixed Income Data and Analytics revenues are largely recurring in nature.
Other Data and Network Services: We offer a multi-asset class connectivity solution called the ICE Global Network. The ICE Global Network offers highly secure, low latency connectivity solutions to reach over 150 trading venues and over 750 data sources. In addition, our consolidated feeds business provides data from a broad array of trading venues and news feeds through a common application programming interface, or API. Finally, our desktop solutions support commodity and energy traders, risk managers, financial advisors, wealth managers and retail traders, and include a robust instant messaging, or IM, system that protects the privacy of over 120,000 users, while also enabling greater collaboration. Other Data and Network Service revenues are largely recurring in nature.
Mortgage Technology Segment
Over the last seven years, ICE has constructed a network aimed at identifying and solving the inefficiencies that exist in the U.S. residential mortgage market. From application through closing, servicing and the secondary market, our network is intended to connect the key stakeholders across the mortgage origination workflow and provide our customers with data services and technology that deliver greater transparency and enable significant customer efficiency gains. Our Mortgage Technology segment generated revenues of $1.3 billion in 2023 and accounted for 16% of our consolidated revenues, less transaction-based expenses.
Origination Technology: Our origination technology acts as a system of record for the mortgage transaction, automating the gathering, reviewing, and verifying of mortgage-related information and enabling automated enforcement of rules and business practices designed to help ensure that each completed loan transaction is of high quality and adheres to secondary market standards. These revenues are based on recurring Software as a Service, or SaaS, subscription fees, with an additive transaction-based or success-based pricing fee as lenders exceed the number of loans closed that are included with their monthly base subscription, as well as professional services.
In addition, the ICE Mortgage Technology network provides originators connectivity to the mortgage supply chain and facilitates the secure exchange of information between our customers and a broad ecosystem of third-party service providers, as well as lenders and investors that are critical to consummating the millions of loan transactions that occur on our origination network each year. Revenue from the ICE Mortgage Technology network is largely transaction-based.
Closing Solutions: Our closing solutions connect key participants, such as lenders, title and settlement agents and individual county recorders, to digitize the closing and recording process. Closing solutions also include revenues from our Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., or MERS, database, which provides a system of record for recording and tracking changes and servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in loans secured by U.S. residential real estate. Revenues from closing solutions are largely transaction-based and are based on the volume of loan closings.
Servicing Software: Our servicing offerings include integrated mortgage servicing solutions, which help automate all areas of the servicing process, from loan boarding to final payment or default, to help lower costs, reduce risk and improve financial performance.
Our servicing solutions support first lien mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit on a single platform to manage all servicing processes, including loan setup and maintenance, escrow administration, investor reporting, and regulatory requirements. We also provide solutions that provide consumers with access to customized, timely information about their mortgages and allow our clients’ customer service representatives to access the same customer information, which is key to increasing borrower retention. Another servicing solution provides clients, third-party providers and their developers access to our growing catalog of APIs across the mortgage life cycle.
Our default servicing solutions help simplify the complex process for loans that move into default, while supporting servicers with their compliance requirements and to facilitate more efficient loss mitigation processes. We also offer advanced technology to support the bankruptcy and foreclosure process, and more efficiently manage claims related to properties in foreclosure, as well as tools to support loss analysis, to help servicers make the right decisions at the right time.
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Data and Analytics: Our data and analytics offerings include those related to ICE Mortgage Technology’s Data & Document Automation, or DDA, Mortgage Analyzer solutions, or Analyzer (formerly known as AIQ), which offers customers greater efficiency by streamlining data collection and validation through our automated document recognition and data extraction capabilities. Analyzer revenues can be both recurring and transaction-based in nature. In addition, our data offerings include near real-time industry and peer benchmarking tools, which provide originators a granular view into the real-time trends in nearly half of the U.S. residential mortgage market. We also provide a Data as a Service, or DaaS, for lenders and industry participants to access industry data and origination information. The data and insights from these solutions inform, support and enhance our other solutions to help lenders and servicers make more informed decisions, improve performance, identify and predict risk and generate more qualified leads. Revenues related to our data products are largely subscription based and recurring in nature.
Our data and analytics offerings include property ownership data, lien data, servicing data, automated valuation models and collateral risk scores, among others, provided to clients in the mortgage, real estate and capital markets verticals.
Product and Services Development
We leverage our customer relationships, global distribution, technology infrastructure and software development capabilities to diversify our products and services. We are continually developing, evaluating and testing new products to better serve our client base. The majority of our product development relates to evaluating new contracts, new data sets, new analytic offerings or new mortgage technologies. New contracts often must be reviewed and approved by relevant regulators. We expect to continue to invest in improving our data distribution and software services to meet the needs of our customers and improve their trading and connectivity experience by reducing latency, improving security and providing the most relevant information and data.
While we primarily develop our products and services internally, we also periodically evaluate and enter into strategic partnerships and licensing arrangements to develop new products and services. We intend to continue to invest to expand our exchanges, fixed income and data services, and mortgage technology offerings to serve the evolving needs of our global customer base.
Technology
Technology is a key component of our business strategy and competitive position and we regard effective execution of our technology initiatives as crucial to our sustainable business operations, market competitiveness, compliance and risk management and overall success. Our technology solutions support our customers' workflows: trading and clearing technology, multi-asset class analytics, risk assessment tools, robust data offerings, mortgage technology, instant messaging capabilities and flexible connectivity and delivery solutions. Where feasible, we design and build our own systems and write our own software programs as we believe that having control over our technology allows us to be more responsive to our customers’ needs, better support the dynamic nature of our business, provide the highest quality technology and deliver relevant, timely and actionable data to the markets and customers we serve.
Trading Platforms and Technology: The ICE trading platform supports trading in our cleared futures and options markets as well as our bilateral OTC markets. We also offer voice brokers a facility for submitting block trades for products that are eligible for clearing. Speed, reliability, resilience, capacity and security are critical performance criteria for electronic trading platforms. Connectivity to our trading platform for our markets is available through our web-based front-end applications, as well as independent software vendors, or ISVs, and APIs.
The NYSE electronic trading platform features an open system architecture that allows users to access our system via front-end trading applications developed by ISVs. We developed core technology and architecture known as NYSE Pillar and have migrated all our Cash Equity Securities markets, Security Information Processor, or SIP, and Options Price Reporting Authority, or OPRA, NYSE Amex Options and Arca Options platforms to this architecture. This integrated platform was designed to improve performance and reduce the complexity of operating multiple trading systems for our customers, while enhancing consistency, performance and resiliency.
Clearing Technology: A broad range of clearing and risk management services are offered through the integrated technology infrastructure that serves our clearing houses. ICE clearing technology is an integrated service-oriented platform that enables post-trade management, position management, management of the clearing house risk waterfall, contract settlement and treasury management functions. The primary focus of our derivatives clearing houses is the risk management of clearing members throughout all facets of the position management and settlement lifecycles. Our extensive technology and rules-based risk systems provide analytical tools that allow us to determine margin, evaluate credit risk and monitor the trading activities and overall risk of clearing members.
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Data Services Technology: ICE Data Services technology uses integrated platforms to capture, store and process information, perform analytics and maintain connectivity solutions using a single configurable data capture mechanism and flexible delivery capability. Together, the platforms are intended to enable real-time processing and delivery of information, accelerate new product development and improve production reliability. Our data and analytics are delivered via real-time messaging, files, web services and other on-demand facilities and state-of-the-art front-ends. In addition, the technology underpinning our ICE Global Network supports scalable bandwidth and a wide variety of connectivity options including fiber, wireless, colocation and hosting.
Mortgage Technology: The ICE Mortgage Technology platform provides software and hosting solutions that facilitate and automate many of the mission-critical business processes across the homeownership lifecycle. These solutions primarily consist of mortgage loan origination and servicing, processing and workflow management software applications, coupled with APIs and related data products. The platform is developed using industry-leading software technologies and third-party services, including hosting with a combination of public cloud and private data centers. The platform is integrated with multiple partner services necessary for loan origination and servicing, such as credit reporting and other services that lenders and servicers leverage through our network, which is offered through the platform. The platform includes industry leading information security infrastructure to protect the confidentiality and integrity of our customers' data.
Operations
We operate regionally diverse primary and backup data centers and maintain comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plans and facilities. These are designed to enable nearly continuous availability of our markets and other services in the event of a business disruption or disaster. We maintain incident and crisis management plans that address responses to disruptive events at any of our locations worldwide.
Cybersecurity
Our business activities rely extensively on technology and software, including the systems used by our business partners, regulators and customers. In addition, our activities involve the use and retention of confidential data and information. These activities make us susceptible to cyberattacks. We employ the following activities, processes and strategies to help evaluate, manage and address these risks.
Strategy: We maintain a Cybersecurity Strategy, or CSS, which emphasizes consideration of the nature of our business, ongoing intelligence collection regarding cybersecurity threats, and initiatives to specifically address prominent areas of cybersecurity risk. The CSS outlines the key priorities for our cybersecurity program and the methods by which our Information Security department seeks to accomplish those goals.
Governance and Leadership: Our Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing ICE’s risk management process, which includes management of general risks as well as specific risks, such as those relating to cybersecurity, facing our business. The Risk Committee of our Board of Directors has been delegated the primary responsibility for overseeing management’s identification and mitigation of cybersecurity risk. The Risk Committee is composed of board members with diverse expertise including cybersecurity, risk management, technology, business operations, regulatory and finance. The Risk Committee receives presentations on at least a quarterly basis from the CISO and senior members of the Enterprise Risk Management, or ERM, team, and the Chair of the Risk Committee provides reports to the full Board of Directors following such presentations. Our Information Security department is led by our CISO, who, in addition to quarterly presentations to the Risk Committee of our Board of Directors, also provides comprehensive reports to a dedicated internal governance committee at least quarterly outlining threat assessment, control performance, and ongoing enhancements. Our current CISO has served in the role since September 2021 and leads the cybersecurity program across our regulated futures and options exchanges, CCPs, trade repositories, equities venues, systemically important financial market utilities (SIFMUs) and our data services network and mortgage technology platforms. Prior to joining ICE, our CISO served as CISO of the White House Military Office and as CISO for two technology companies, and has more than 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, national security, and intelligence. Additionally, cybersecurity matters are reported to and discussed with a cross-subsidiary leadership committee and subsidiary boards. The Cyber Threat Intelligence team monitors multiple cybersecurity intelligence feeds and curates the applicable data. In the event we identify a cybersecurity threat applicable to us, we have a process to evaluate, escalate to Senior Management and respond to the threat faced. In addition, our CISO and other senior security leaders conduct periodic cybersecurity education sessions with our employees and directors. These sessions cover general cybersecurity topics as well as specific details regarding our cybersecurity program.
Risk Management: Cybersecurity risk management is integrated into our broader ERM framework. Our cybersecurity leadership team, in concert with our ERM team, assess threats and risks at least annually through the Enterprise
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Technology Risk Assessment process, which includes threat objective inherent risk score determination, identification of key and supporting controls, and resulting residual threat objective risk scores. Additionally, thematic threats such as sabotage, fraud, and theft of assets or customer data are used to frame our risk management activities. Asset theft often involves organized crime or financially motivated nations staging sophisticated, well-planned campaigns to steal significant cash, cryptocurrency, or equivalent assets. Our thematic threats, along with others, are evaluated by our Board of Directors as well as our Risk Committee, Corporate Risk Officer and Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO. The CSS provides the framework we use for assessing risk, prioritizing testing, identifying remedial actions and validating improvements. The CSS also provides for the deployment of external and internal teams of ethical hackers that operate alongside our traditional vulnerability detection processes.
Information Sharing: We recognize the importance of collaboration and information sharing among private sector firms in the financial services sector, across sectors, and with global public-sector agencies, when appropriate. Our cybersecurity leaders hold memberships and/or positions within the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or FS-ISAC, and the cross-sector Analysis and Resiliency Center, or ARC, in the U.S., the Financial Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre, or FSCCC, in the U.K., and similar organizations across the Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, and Asia Pacific, or APAC, regions.
Third-Party Risk Oversight: We maintain a third-party risk management program. Our Information Security team provides subject matter expertise to our vendor management team to help assess a vendors' cybersecurity processes. Vendors are assessed before we engage them, and once engaged, are monitored periodically to ensure that they maintain compliance with our cybersecurity standards.
Independent Security Attestation: We utilize both internal assessments and assessments by third-parties, including external security assessors, consultants and auditors, to evaluate and test our cybersecurity program. ICE’s Internal Audit, ERM, and Information Security Assurance teams conduct frequent assessments of varying scope to validate that our cybersecurity program controls and remediation processes are operating effectively. External auditors are contracted to perform annual Service Organization Controls, or SOC, report attestations of both business and security controls. In addition, our Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan is tested at least annually. Our internal "red team" conducts multiple tests each year driven by key cybersecurity risks. The results of these reviews alongside frequent regulatory and customer examinations are assessed, with any resulting mitigation activity assigned and tracked to remediation.
Controls: Our identification of risks and selection of cyber-related controls is performed in the context of the critical financial infrastructure we maintain and operate. Our ongoing threat assessments are intended to identify changes in external events and in our activities, infrastructure and processes that could necessitate reprioritization of risks and controls. The nature of our business activities mandates an emphasis on sabotage and asset theft as primary threats in addition to contemporary themes of data theft. Our focus on these threats leads to an emphasis on network security, social engineering controls, behavioral detection of insider threat, and deliberate and rehearsed recovery strategies.
Although we do not believe that our business strategy, results of operations or financial condition have been materially adversely affected by any cybersecurity threats, we have been, and expect to continue to be, subject to cyberattacks, hacking and other cybersecurity risks. For further information on our cybersecurity risks, see Part I, Item 1(A), "Risk Factors", including the risk factor entitled “Our systems and those of our third-party service providers are vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacking and other cybersecurity risks, which could result in wrongful manipulation, disclosure, destruction, or use of our information or that of a third party, or which could make our customers unable or reluctant to use our electronic platforms,” included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
Intellectual Property
We rely on a wide range of intellectual property, both owned and licensed, in connection with the operation of our various businesses. We own the rights to a large number of trademarks, service marks, domain names and trade names in the U.S., Europe and in other parts of the world. We have registered many of our trademarks in the U.S. and in certain other countries. We hold the rights to a number of patents and have made a number of patent applications in the U.S. and other countries. We also own the copyright to a variety of material. Those copyrights, some of which are registered, include software code, printed and online publications, websites, advertisements, educational material, graphic presentations and other literature, both textual and electronic. We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights by relying on trademarks, patents, copyrights, database rights, trade secrets, confidentiality, know-how, contracts, restrictions on use and disclosure, and other methods.
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FTSE® and the FTSE indexes are trademarks and service marks of the London Stock Exchange plc and the London Stock Exchange Group Holdings Limited and are used under license. MSCI® and the MSCI indexes are trademarks and service marks of MSCI Inc. or its affiliates and are used under license.
Human Capital Resources
Employees
As of December 31, 2023, we had a total of 13,222 employees. In the U.S., we had a total of 8,074 employees, including 1,506 in New York, 1,295 in Georgia, 2,970 in Florida, 805 in California, 318 in Massachusetts and 256 in Illinois. Internationally, we had a total of 5,148 employees, including 3,344 in India, 795 in the U.K. and 420 in continental Europe. Of our total employee base, less than 1% is subject to collective bargaining agreements, and such relations are considered to be good.
We monitor voluntary attrition rates carefully, and over the past three years, our attrition rates have remained lower than the benchmarks in the finance and technology sectors. We review this data frequently and transparently report this information to our stakeholders via our Sustainability Report.
Corporate Culture
Highly capable and engaged teams are critically important to our ability to grow and innovate. Through our human capital management efforts, we strive to attract and retain the best talent in the world. Our industry is competitive, and the expectations are high. To achieve our business objectives, we aim to offer pay commensurate with performance, a diverse and inclusive work environment, significant opportunities for career growth and a culture that prioritizes collaboration and drives results.
We use a mix of channels to gather input from employees throughout our organization. Formal methods include our employee surveys and an annual review process. Additionally, we actively strive to cultivate a work environment that encourages conversations across and within teams to provide informal and real-time feedback loops at all levels.
Employee Development
Employee development is an important element of our human capital management program. Career development and training opportunities are available throughout our ranks, including both structured course work across a variety of topics and situations, and self-directed learning from a wide array of available resources.
Compensation and Benefits
We strive to provide comprehensive packages of competitive compensation and benefits in each market in which we operate, which we believe is important to ensure our employees’ health, well-being and financial security. Through employee assistance plans, in most of our locations we provide free and discounted counseling services for dealing with traumatic life events, mental health issues and stress, as well as general wellness programs. We review the competitiveness of our compensation and benefits frequently.
Inclusion and Diversity
We are committed to supporting inclusion and diversity. As an equal opportunity employer, all qualified applicants receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, age, disability or veteran status, or other protected status.
To promote our business objectives, we are focused on increasing and supporting inclusion and diversity across our broader employee population and Board of Directors. We hold ourselves accountable via periodic data reporting to senior management, data reporting to our Board of Directors, and transparency in reporting data to our stakeholders via our annual Sustainability Report, including Equal Employment Opportunity, or EEO-1 data.
Corporate Giving
Financial education is the cornerstone of our corporate giving efforts, which include support for several organizations. We underwrite financial education programs in the U.S., U.K., India and Israel. We make additional charitable contributions throughout the communities where we have offices and our employees are encouraged to do the same, including through a $5,000 annual match to employees for charities of their choice.
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Corporate Citizenship
We strive to create long-term value for our stockholders and meet sustainability goals for all of our stakeholders. That includes a focus on:
Human capital management: Our people are our greatest asset and fostering a diverse, engaged workforce is critical.
Risk management: From cybersecurity to operational resiliency to regulatory compliance, risk management is at the heart of how we operate.
Environmental risks and opportunities: We are addressing our impact on the climate, the climate’s impact on our business and our opportunities to make a broader impact through our products and services.
For additional information, please refer to the human capital, risk management and sustainability sections of our website at www.ice.com.
Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that we compete favorably based on numerous factors, and that our deep, liquid markets, technology offerings, breadth of product offerings, new product development, customer relationships, efficient, secure settlement, clearing and other support services and our reputation distinguish us from our competitors. We believe that to maintain our competitive position, we must continue to develop new and innovative products and services, enhance our technology infrastructure, maintain liquidity and offer competitive pricing.
We believe our key strengths include our:
Data Services: Across all three of our segments and our various networks, our data services aim to address the rising demand for independent, real-time information, which is being driven by regulation, market fragmentation and competition, increasing technology and data demands, increasing automation, as well as passive investing and indexation. We also believe our data services are uniquely relevant to our clients’ business operations and provide tools and services that enable greater workflow efficiency and, regardless of market conditions, are relied upon to serve the need for continuous information and analysis.
In our Exchanges segment, we offer proprietary real-time and historical pricing data, as well as order book and transaction information related to our global futures markets and the NYSE. We also provide connectivity services directly related to those exchange platforms and clearing houses.
In our Fixed Income and Data Services segment, we are a leading provider of end-of-day and continuous evaluated pricing services on nearly three million fixed income securities spanning approximately 150 countries and 80 currencies including sovereign, corporate and municipal bonds, mortgage and asset-backed securities, as well as leveraged loans. Our reference data offering complements our evaluated pricing by providing our clients with a broad range of descriptive information, covering millions of financial instruments that, when coupled with our pricing services, act as the foundation for our leading fixed income index complex.
In our Mortgage Technology segment, our DDA and Analyzer offerings provide customers with greater efficiency by streamlining data collection and validation through our automated document recognition and data extraction capabilities. In addition, our Mortgage Technology’s data offerings include real-time industry and peer benchmarking tools, which provide originators a granular view into the real-time trends of the U.S. residential mortgage market.
World Class Technology: Our proprietary systems are built using state-of-the-art technology and are designed to support our customers' workflows across the networks we operate. We employ a significant number of employees in technology-related activities, including product management, system architecture, software development, network engineering, server maintenance and continuity, cybersecurity, system and data performance, systems analysis, quality assurance, database administration and customer technical support. Speed, reliability, resilience, capacity and security are critical performance criteria for our electronic networks.
Risk Management Expertise: We offer a range of central clearing and related risk management services to promote the liquidity and security of our markets in jurisdictions around the world and to meet local regulatory and operational needs in key financial market centers. The credit and performance assurance provided by our clearing houses to clearing members is designed to substantially reduce counterparty risk and is a critical component of our exchanges’
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identities as reliable and secure marketplaces for global transactions. Our clearing houses are designed to protect the financial integrity of our markets by maintaining strong governance and rules, managing collateral, facilitating payments and collections, enhancing capital efficiency and limiting counterparty credit risk. In our Fixed Income and Data Services segment, we provide mission critical price transparency for nearly three million fixed income securities globally. Our fixed income customers rely on our data, indices and analytics to inform pre-trade decision making, support post-trade regulatory and compliance needs and improve operational efficiency. In our Mortgage Technology segment, our origination technology network acts as a system of record for mortgage transactions, automating the gathering, reviewing, and verifying of mortgage-related information, that in addition to other benefits, is intended to enable automated enforcement of rules and business practices that are designed to adhere to secondary market standards.
Broad Distribution: We operate multiple trading venues, including 13 regulated exchanges, as well as six clearing houses, which are strategically positioned in major market centers around the world, including the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Our ICE Global Network provides connectivity to over 150 trading venues and data from over 750 data sources, including ICE-operated markets and data services. Through our fixed income execution, data and analytics offerings, we serve thousands of customers across global fixed income markets. In our Mortgage Technology segment, we have customer connectivity to thousands of participants across the mortgage ecosystem.
Diverse Product Offerings: In our Exchanges segment, many of our futures contracts serve as global benchmarks for managing risk relating to exposure to price movements in the underlying products, including financial, energy and agricultural commodities. For example, we are a leading provider of global energy risk management products, ranging from global crude and refined oil products, to an array of global natural gas benchmarks and environmental markets. In our Fixed Income and Data Services segment, we offer customers solutions that span their workflows including pre-trade analytics, an array of execution protocols, and post-trade services all designed to improve asset class transparency and bring efficiency to customers' workflows. In our Mortgage Technology segment, we provide customers with a comprehensive suite of technology offerings which we believe are critical to the underwriting, processing, closing and servicing of U.S. residential mortgage loans.
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Competitors
The markets in which we operate are highly competitive. We face competition in all aspects of our business from a number of different enterprises, both domestic and international, including traditional exchanges, electronic trading platforms, investment banks, data vendors, voice brokers, and mortgage and other technology providers.
Exchanges Segment
We face competition from other exchanges, electronic trading systems, third-party clearing houses, technology firms, market data vendors and trading facilities in the U.S. and globally. Some of the exchanges are consortiums formed by banks and exchanges.
We face significant competition with respect to equities trading, and this competition is expected to remain intense. Our current and prospective competitors include regulated markets, dark pools and other alternative trading systems, or ATSs, market makers and other execution venues. We also face competition from large investment banks, brokers and customers that may assume the role of principal and act as counterparty to orders originating from retail customers, or match their respective order flows through bilateral trading arrangements, including through internalization of order flow. NYSE Arca Options and NYSE American Options face considerable competition in the equity options markets; their principal U.S. competitors are Nasdaq, Inc., or Nasdaq, and Cboe Global Markets, Inc., or Cboe.
For corporate listings in the U.S., competitors include, but are not limited to, Nasdaq. For ETF listings, competitors included, but are not limited to, Nasdaq and Cboe. We also face competition for foreign issuer listings from a number of stock exchanges outside the U.S. When other liquidity venues and new entrants obtain exchange status, we face more competition for listings.
Fixed Income and Data Services Segment
Our fixed income trading venues, or ICE Bonds, compete with other electronic trading venues. Our platforms also compete for volume traded bilaterally or trading activity that is not done through an electronic venue.
Our data services offerings face intense competition in all aspects of the business. We broadly compete with purchased third-party information and services from large global suppliers of financial market data, including vendor firms, financial consortia, and individual financial institutions. Our Fixed Income Data and Analytics services compete with information obtained from informal industry relationships and sources as well as other index and portfolio analytics providers. Our ICE Global Network business competes with other extranet providers.
Mortgage Technology Segment
Our origination technology, closing solutions, and servicing software compete with our clients' proprietary systems and other third-party digital mortgage solution providers. We also compete for mortgage activity that does not utilize digital solutions.
Our data and analytics competitors are primarily third-party providers of similar data assets, including certain niche providers and lender in-house capabilities.
Our Growth Strategy
We seek to advance our leadership position by focusing our efforts on the following key strategies for growth:
innovate and expand the networks we serve to address the rising demand for transparency and efficiency;
further develop our technology and risk management infrastructure while also increasing our customer base; and
strengthen our competitive position through select acquisitions and strategic relationships.
The record consolidated revenues, less transaction-based expenses, we achieved in 2023 reflect our focus on the implementation and execution of our long-term growth strategy.
Innovate and Expand the Networks We Serve to Address the Rising Demand for Transparency and Efficiency
Our growth strategy has been to expand the networks we serve by, in part, adding new data, technology, connectivity and other workflow tools. By bringing together leading technology with a wide range of data and analytics, as well as an array of delivery mechanisms, we offer customers a comprehensive and flexible solution to address the need for more
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transparency, efficiency and information across their respective workflows. Our growth has been driven by many factors, such as increased automation, regulation and demand for independent, secure, real-time information.
We will continue to look for strategic opportunities to grow our networks and expect to also continue to pursue opportunities in asset classes we do not currently serve.
Further Develop Our Technology and Risk Management Infrastructure While Also Increasing Our Customer Base
We develop and maintain our own infrastructure, electronic trading platforms, clearing systems, mortgage platforms and data and analytics platforms, which are designed to ensure scalability and the delivery of technology that meets our expanding customer base’s demands for price transparency, reliability, risk management and transaction efficiency. The systems that we operate support trading, clearing, the mortgage market life cycle, data and analytics across many data centers.
We expect to continue to develop our exchange technologies. We also expect to continue to invest in mortgage technology to streamline and automate more workflows and build new capabilities. Finally, we expect to add content and build new analytics to enable further electronification in fixed income markets.
Our customer base has grown and diversified as a result of several drivers, including the addition of new asset classes, products and services, the move toward increased risk management and increased automation, regulation and demand for independent, secure, real-time information. We continue to add new participants to our platforms, which bring additional demand for new products and services. We develop new products, but have also increased our capabilities through licenses and acquisitions of companies and intellectual property. We intend to continue to increase the ease of access and connectivity with our existing and prospective customers and expand our customer base by leveraging our existing relationships and our global sales and marketing team to promote participation on our platform, and by expanding our range of products and services.
Strengthen Our Competitive Position Through Select Acquisitions and Strategic Relationships
We were an early consolidator in global markets and we intend to continue to explore and pursue acquisitions and other strategic opportunities to strengthen our competitive position globally, broaden our product offerings and services and support the growth of our company while enhancing stockholder value as measured by return on invested capital, earnings accretion and cash flow growth. We may enter into business combinations, make acquisitions or enter into strategic partnerships, joint ventures or other alliances, any of which may be material. In addition to growing our business, we may enter into these transactions for a variety of additional reasons, including leveraging our existing strengths to enter new markets or related asset classes, expanding our products and services, diversifying our business, addressing underserved markets, advancing our technology and anticipating or responding to regulatory or other potential changes in our industry or other industries.
Information About Our Executive Officers
Information relating to our executive officers is included under “Executive Officers” in Part III, Item 10, “Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance” of this Annual Report.
Regulation
Our activities and the markets in which we operate are subject to regulations that impact us as well as our customers, and, in turn, meaningfully influence our activities, the manner in which we operate and our strategy. We are primarily subject to the jurisdiction of regulatory agencies in the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Failure to satisfy regulatory requirements can or may give rise to sanctions by the applicable regulator. See the discussion below and Item 1(A) "-Risk Factors" in this Annual Report for additional descriptions of regulatory and legislative risks and uncertainties.
Regulation of our Derivatives Business
Our regulated derivatives markets and clearing houses are based primarily in the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Our U.S. futures exchange, ICE Futures U.S., is subject to extensive regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, under the Commodity Exchange Act, or CEA. The CEA generally requires that futures trading in the U.S. be conducted on a commodity exchange registered as a Designated Contract Market,
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or DCM. As a registered DCM, ICE Futures U.S. is a self-regulatory organization, or SRO, that has implemented rules and procedures to comply with the core principles applicable to it under the CEA.
In the U.K., ICE Futures Europe is a Recognized Investment Exchange, or RIE, in accordance with the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Like U.S. regulated derivatives markets, RIEs are SROs with surveillance and compliance responsibilities.
In the EU, ICE Endex is a regulated market in the Netherlands and its derivative markets are licensed under the Dutch Financial Services Act and supervised by the Dutch National Bank, or DNB, and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, or AFM.
In Singapore, ICE Futures Singapore is an approved exchange supervised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS.
In Abu Dhabi, ICE Futures Abu Dhabi is an RIE and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, or FSRA.
In Canada, ICE NGX is recognized as an exchange and clearing house by the Alberta Securities Commission, or ASC, and is also registered by the CFTC as a Foreign Board of Trade and as a Derivatives Clearing Organization, or DCO.
ICE Clear Credit and ICE Clear U.S. are regulated by the CFTC as DCOs. DCOs are subject to extensive regulation by the CFTC under the CEA. The Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC, has designated ICE Clear Credit as a systemically-important financial market utility under Title VIII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or Dodd-Frank Act. As such, ICE Clear Credit has access to the Federal Reserve system. ICE Clear Credit is also regulated by the SEC as a clearing agency because it clears security-based swaps.
ICE Clear Europe, which is primarily regulated in the U.K. by the Bank of England, or BOE, as a Recognized Clearing House, is also subject to regulation by the CFTC as a DCO and by the European Securities and Markets Authority, or ESMA.
In the EU, ICE Clear Netherlands is an authorized CCP and is regulated by the DNB and AFM.
In Singapore, ICE Clear Singapore is an approved clearing house supervised by the MAS.
Regulation of our Securities Business
In our cash equities and options markets, NYSE, NYSE Arca, NYSE American, NYSE National and NYSE Chicago are national securities exchanges and, as such, are SROs and subject to oversight by the SEC. Accordingly, our U.S. securities exchanges are regulated by the SEC and, in turn, are the regulators of their members. As national securities exchanges, NYSE, NYSE Arca, NYSE American, NYSE National and NYSE Chicago must comply with, and enforce compliance by their members with, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act.
We operate a U.S.-based execution-oriented market for the trading of securities that are not exchange-listed (OTC securities) as an ATS by our SEC-registered broker-dealer, Archipelago Trading Services. Archipelago Trading Services is subject to oversight by the SEC and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Our SEC-registered broker-dealer, Archipelago Securities, LLC, routes to other execution venues and clears trades on behalf of our national securities exchanges and Archipelago Trading Services. Archipelago Securities, LLC is subject to oversight by the SEC and FINRA and is a full clearing member of the National Securities Clearing Corporation and Options Clearing Corporation, or OCC.
Our U.S.-based execution-oriented fixed income markets are operated by our SEC-registered broker-dealers, ICE Bonds Securities Corporation, or ICE Bonds, which operates two SEC registered ATSs, ICE BondPoint, and ICE TMC. ICE Bonds is subject to oversight by the SEC and is a member of FINRA and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, or MSRB. FINRA and MSRB are SROs that regulate broker-dealers in the U.S. ICE Bonds is authorized to provide electronic trading services in Canada and Switzerland. ICE Securities Execution & Clearing, LLC, a full clearing member of the National Securities Clearing Corporation, the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation and The Depository Trust Corporation, provides correspondent clearing for ICE Bonds, Creditex Brokerage, L.L.P. and ICE Markets Limited and is subject to oversight by the SEC, FINRA and the MSRB.
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Our U.K.-based execution-oriented fixed income market is operated by Creditex Brokerage, L.L.P., which is an operator of a multilateral trading facility, or MTF, and ICE Markets Limited, which acts as the matched principal counterparty to bond transactions arranged on the MTF operated by Creditex Brokerage. Both Creditex Brokerage and ICE Markets Limited are regulated and authorized by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA. Creditex Brokerage is authorized to provide automated trading services in Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland and is subject to regulatory oversight by national competent authorities in each jurisdiction.
Regulation of our Data Business
We have a U.S. subsidiary that is registered with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or the Investment Advisers Act, for its evaluated pricing and other advisory services. The Investment Advisers Act imposes numerous regulatory obligations on registered investment advisers, including those relating to the management and distribution of products and services, record-keeping, compliance oversight, operational and marketing requirements, disclosure obligations and prohibitions on fraudulent activities. Investment advisers also are subject to certain state securities laws and regulations. ICE Data Services (Australia) Pty. Ltd. provides financial services in Australia and is licensed by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, or ASIC. ICE Data Desktop Solutions (Europe) Limited provides certain financial services throughout Europe and is regulated by the FCA.
Regulation of our Index Business
We have an index business, ICE Data Indices, LLC, or ICE Data Indices, which includes equity, fixed income, commodity, volatility, mortgage, sustainability and foreign exchange indices. ICE Data Indices applies the International Organization of Securities Commissions, or IOSCO, Principles for Financial Benchmarks to its indices, and is recognized as a third-country benchmark administrator by the FCA under the U.K. Benchmarks Regulation, or U.K. BMR. In addition, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited, or IBA, is authorized and regulated by the FCA for the regulated activity of administering a benchmark and is authorized as a benchmark administrator under the U.K. BMR.
Regulation of our Mortgage Business
We have a mortgage technology business, ICE Mortgage Technology, that provides software, data, and electronic data processing to financial institutions and other stakeholders throughout the U.S. residential mortgage industry. In September 2023, ICE acquired Black Knight, which provides software, data and analytics to the real estate, mortgage lending, servicing, and secondary markets, and integrated the acquisition into its ICE Mortgage Technology business. ICE Mortgage Technology is subject to supervision and examination by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, or FFIEC, and its member agencies because ICE Mortgage Technology is a third-party technology service provider to financial institutions directly regulated by the FFIEC's member agencies. In addition, our Mortgage Technology business provides loan origination and servicing technology to mortgage lenders and servicers and processes consumer financial information on behalf of our customers. As a result, ICE Mortgage Technology is subject to a variety of U.S. state and federal regulations governing the protection of consumer financial information, including federal consumer financial laws implemented and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. ICE Mortgage Technology is designated as an operator of "critical infrastructure" by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Regulatory Changes
Domestic and foreign policy makers continue to review their legal frameworks governing financial markets, and periodically change the laws and regulations that apply to our business and to our customers’ businesses. Our key areas of focus on these evolving efforts are:
Increased Bank Capital Requirements. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, or the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation proposed to implement various Basel Committee standards which would increase U.S. bank capital requirements (Basel III Endgame). The Basel III Endgame would apply credit valuation adjustment risk capital requirements to bank-affiliated clearing members' exposures to their clearing clients. The Federal Reserve also proposes to revise the risk-based capital surcharge for global systemically important bank holding companies to include bank-affiliated clearing members' exposures to their clearing clients in additional aspects of the surcharge calculation. Both proposals would increase capital requirements for client clearing activities, which could increase costs for clearing services, decrease clearing members' clearing capacity, and result in a reduction of cleared volumes at ICE clearing houses. The Basel III Endgame proposal could also discourage participation in mortgage lending and servicing, resulting in a reduction of mortgage volumes at ICE Mortgage Technology, negatively impact U.S. capital markets, end users' ability to hedge and raise financing through public markets and degrade liquidity.
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EMIR 3.0. In 2022 and 2023, the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of the EU each published proposals amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, or EMIR, known as EMIR 3.0. While the proposals differ, each includes requirements for certain EU market participants to maintain active accounts at an EU CCP and to clear a subset of their transactions in derivatives contracts identified as being of substantial systemic importance. The European Commission has identified three classes of derivatives as being of substantial systemic importance, including euro-denominated short-term interest rate derivatives, or STIR, traded on ICE Futures Europe and cleared at ICE Clear Europe, and euro-denominated credit default swaps cleared at ICE Clear Credit. If adopted, these requirements could result in a reduction of traded and cleared contracts at ICE Futures Europe, ICE Clear Europe and ICE Clear Credit.
Changes to EU regulation of gas and power markets. In November 2023, the European Parliament and Council of the EU reached a provisional agreement on proposals to amend the Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency, or REMIT, by introducing requirements for non-EU firms trading in European gas and power markets to designate a representative in the EU. These requirements could make trading on ICE Endex more difficult and could result in a reduction in volumes and liquidity.
Policy intervention to address high energy prices. Various legislative proposals in the EU have been adopted to address high energy prices and impact ICE Endex, the primary European exchange for the benchmark European gas contract, and ICE Clear Europe, which clears ICE Endex contracts. These policy interventions include price limiting mechanisms for exchange-traded gas products and a new LNG import benchmark. In December 2023, the EU extended until January 31, 2025, the price cap on certain Dutch Title Transfer Facility, or TTF, derivatives traded on ICE Endex. In December 2022, a coalition of G7 and other nations set the price of certain Russian crude oil at or below $60 a barrel, which remains in place and impacts the services we offer to clients.
U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2023. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, or FSMA 2023, makes significant changes to U.K. financial services. The FSMA 2023 grants the Bank of England additional powers relating to CCPs, which authorize the Bank of England to act before a special resolution regime is triggered including temporarily restricting or prohibiting discretionary payments to specified shareholders or employees of CCPs and directing CCPs to take actions to achieve financial stability. The special resolution regime also authorizes the Bank of England to act in certain circumstances including taking control of a CCP, transferring ownership or terminating clearing member contracts. This legislation could in certain extreme circumstances impact the ownership of ICE Clear Europe, the ability of ICE Clear Europe to pay dividends to its shareholder and to provide clearing services to ICE Futures Europe, ICE Futures U.S., ICE Endex and ICE Futures Abu Dhabi.
Recognition of our Businesses in Foreign Jurisdictions and Continued Access by Market Participants. In February 2022, the European Commission extended until June 2025 the temporary equivalence decision that allows continued access by EU firms to clear trades at U.K. CCPs. In March 2022, ESMA extended ICE Clear Europe's temporary recognition and tiering decision to June 2025.
Benchmarks Regulation. Most London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, settings have ceased to be published, however, the FCA has required IBA, as the administrator of LIBOR, to continue publishing certain LIBOR settings for a temporary period using the changed "synthetic" methodology. "Synthetic" LIBOR settings are not representative of the underlying market or economic reality the settings were previously intended to measure.
In addition, certain benchmarks provided by our index businesses may continue to be used by supervised entities in the EU under the EU Benchmarks Regulation, or EU BMR, until December 31, 2025. In October 2023, the European Commission published a proposal to amend the EU BMR to require third country benchmark providers who publish certain EU ESG benchmarks to be located in the EU. Uncertainties relating to the proposed EU BMR reform may impact our ability to provide certain benchmarks into the EU.
Regulation of ESG data and ratings. Many jurisdictions, including the EU, have adopted or are proposing or considering proposals to regulate environmental, social or governance, or ESG, data providers, as well as ESG ratings. These regulations may impact certain ICE Data Services products and services. We are monitoring the impact of these developments on ICE Data Services.
U.S. Equity Market Proposals. The SEC proposed significant changes to the rules governing securities trading, including a proposal to prohibit securities exchanges from offering volume-based transaction pricing in connection with the execution of agency orders in exchange-listed securities, that would impact the way in which ICE’s securities exchanges are able to compete with other execution venues.
EU Deforestation Regulation. Effective in December 2024, the EU Deforestation Regulation, or EUDR, requires that certain commodities (including cocoa and coffee) and their products be from deforestation-free land and meet other requirements before they can be placed or made available on the EU market, or exported from it. The EUDR requirements may decelerate the physical trade of cocoa and coffee, impact the usability of EU coffee and cocoa
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physical inventories, and reduce trading volumes on ICE Futures Europe of the Robusta Coffee Contract and London Cocoa Contract and on ICE Futures U.S. of the Coffee C Contract (Arabica).
See the discussion below and Item 1(A) “- Risk Factors” in this Annual Report for additional description of regulatory and legislative risks and uncertainties.
Available Information
Our principal executive offices are located at 5660 New Northside Drive, 3rd Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30328. Our main telephone number is 1-770-857-4700, and our website is www.ice.com.
We are required to file reports and other information with the SEC. A copy of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as any future Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to such reports are available free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such reports with, or furnish such reports to, the SEC. A copy of these filings is also available at the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov). From time to time, we may use our website and/or social media, including X, formerly known as Twitter, as distribution channels of material information. The website to access our X, formerly known as Twitter, account is https://twitter.com/ICE_Markets. References in this Annual Report to our website address, to the SEC’s website address and to our account on X, formerly known as Twitter, do not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on the website and should not be considered part of this Annual Report.
In addition, we have posted on our website the charters for our (i) Audit Committee, (ii) Compensation Committee, (iii) Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and (iv) Risk Committee, as well as our Global Code of Business Conduct, which includes information regarding our whistleblower hotline information, Board of Directors Governance Guidelines and Board Communication Policy. We will provide a copy of these documents without charge to stockholders upon request.
ITEM 1(A).   RISK FACTORS
The risks and uncertainties described below are those that we currently believe could materially adversely affect us. Other risks and uncertainties that we do not presently consider to be material, or of which we are not presently aware, may become important factors that affect us in the future. If any of the risks discussed below actually occur or continue to occur, our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flows could be materially adversely affected. Accordingly, you should carefully consider the following risk factors, as well as other information contained in or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report.
SUMMARY
The following summarizes some of the key risks and uncertainties that could materially adversely affect us. You should read this summary together with the more detailed description of each risk factor contained below.
Business and Industry
Global economic, political and financial market events or conditions may negatively impact our business.
Owning clearing houses exposes us to risks, including risks related to defaults by clearing members, risks related to investing margin and guaranty funds and the cost of operating the clearing houses.
A decline in the value of securities held as margin or guaranty fund contributions by our clearing houses or default by a sovereign government issuer could pose additional risks of default by clearing members.
Owning and operating cash equity and options exchanges exposes us to additional risks, including the regulatory responsibilities to which these businesses are subject.
Our business is subject to the impact of interest rate levels, inflation and financial markets volatility, which are caused by conditions that are beyond our control.
Systems failures in the derivatives and securities trading industry and mortgage technology industry have in the past, and could in the future, negatively impact us.
We may be at greater risk from terrorism, including cyberterrorism, than other companies.
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our financial results.
We may have difficulty executing our growth strategy and maintaining our growth effectively.
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We may not be successful in offering new products or technologies or in identifying opportunities.
Climate change and the transition to renewable energy pose operational, commercial, regulatory and financial risks.
We may be required to recognize impairments of our goodwill, other intangible assets or investments.
We may not realize the expected benefits of our majority investment in Bakkt Holdings, Inc., or Bakkt, and the investment may introduce additional risks to our business due to its evolving business model.
Pandemics or other public health emergencies, including the emergence of new COVID-19 variants resulting in another pandemic, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Mergers & Acquisitions and Common Stock
We may fail to realize the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and synergies and other benefits anticipated from our recent acquisition of Black Knight and are subject to continuing obligations contained in the Agreement Containing Consent Orders, or the Consent Order, entered into between the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, ICE and Black Knight, which could adversely affect our business and the value of our common stock.
As a result of the consummation of the merger with Black Knight, we are subject to risks relating to the business conducted by Black Knight.
We may fail to complete or realize the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and synergies and other benefits anticipated from any future acquisitions or anticipated growth opportunities or expected benefits of our strategic investments, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.
We are a holding company and depend on our subsidiaries for dividends, distributions and other payments.
Provisions of our organizational documents and Delaware law may delay or deter a change of control of ICE.
Legal and Regulatory
Our businesses and those of many of our clients have been and continue to be subject to extensive legislation and regulatory scrutiny, and we face the risk of changes to our regulatory environment and business in the future.
Our compliance and risk management methods, as well as our fulfillment of our regulatory obligations, may not be effective, which could lead to enforcement actions by our regulators or other legal proceedings.
Regulatory developments or court rulings may have an adverse impact on our ability to derive revenue from market data and connectivity fees.
The uncertainty surrounding the U.K. and EU regulatory frameworks following the U.K.'s exit from the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit, could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Risks relating to the administration of benchmarks and indices, and changes to, cessations of, and the replacement of, or transition from, benchmarks and indices may result in legal risks and could adversely affect our business.
We may face liability for content contained in our data products and services.
We are subject to significant litigation and liability risks.
Operational and Liquidity
Our systems and those of our third-party service providers are vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacking and other cybersecurity risks, which could result in wrongful manipulation, disclosure, destruction, or use of our information or that of a third party, or which could make our customers unable or reluctant to use our electronic platforms or other products and services.
Our business has in the past been, and may in the future be, harmed by computer and communication systems failures and delays.
An interruption or cessation of an important service, data or content supplied by any third party, or the loss of an exclusive license, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our success largely depends on key personnel, including our senior management, and having adequate succession plans in place. We may not be able to attract, retain and develop the highly skilled employees we need to support our business, which could harm our business.
We currently have a substantial amount of outstanding indebtedness which could adversely affect our financial condition and operations and restrict our activities or our ability to satisfy our debt service obligations.
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Competition; Reputational Harm
We face intense competition, and if we fail to keep up with rapid changes in technology and client preferences, it could negatively impact our competitive position.
Damage to our reputation could damage our business.
Intellectual Property
Our use of "open source" software could negatively impact our ability to sell our products and services and subject us to litigation.
A failure to protect our intellectual property rights, or allegations that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of others, could adversely affect our business.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
Global economic, political and financial market events or conditions may negatively impact our business.
Adverse macroeconomic conditions, including recessions, inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, government shutdowns, currency fluctuations, interest rate changes, increased mortgage foreclosure volume, decreased mortgage origination or servicing volume, decreased mortgage servicing volume, geopolitical events or conflicts, election results, international trade disputes, including the imposition of tariffs or other protectionist measures, actual or anticipated large-scale defaults or failures or slowdown of global trade have in the past negatively impacted consumer and corporate confidence and resulted in reductions in consumer, government and corporate spending, and could have such effects in the future, and in turn impact our business. If our customers reduce spending, workforce, mortgage origination or mortgage servicing activity, trading activity or demand for financial data as a result of challenges in the prevailing economic markets, our revenues could decline.
During 2023, macroeconomic conditions, including rising interest rates, inflation and market volatility, along with geopolitical concerns, including the conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, created economic and political uncertainty and volatility in global markets, resulted in a dynamic operating environment and impacted our operations and results, and these impacts may continue in 2024. In 2022 and continuing into 2023, the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a catalyst for an energy crisis in Europe. Government interventions related to the energy crisis resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, such as the Market Correction Mechanism (price cap), or interventions that may be proposed in the future related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict or the conflict in Israel and Gaza could also have a negative impact on our business. See Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” above for additional information on various legislative proposals in the EU to address high energy prices.

In addition, U.S. trade and diplomatic tensions, including U.S. government policies toward China and Chinese government policies toward the U.S., are likely to impact our existing business and future opportunities. For example, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or HFCAA, enacted in December 2020, requires the SEC to suspend trading in the U.S. of any company whose accounting firm the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, is unable to inspect or investigate for three consecutive years. Though, in December 2022, the PCAOB announced that it was able to inspect audit firms for the Chinese and Hong Kong issuers the SEC had previously identified as using non-inspected audit firms, thus resetting the three-year period in the HFCAA. In November 2023, the PCAOB announced settlements related to these inspections, which could lead to fewer Chinese companies listing in the U.S. Moreover, there remains the risk that in the future the SEC may suspend trading of NYSE-listed companies under this Act, which would require us to suspend trading for those companies to comply with U.S. government policies, which could impact our business. Further, in August 2023, President Biden issued an Executive Order aimed at prohibiting or requiring notification of certain investments by U.S. persons in Chinese companies involved in semiconductors and microelectronics quantum information technologies and artificial intelligence which could impact some of our businesses. The U.S. Department of Treasury has issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to gather public feedback on implementing the Executive Order.

The market data subscriptions and trading volumes in our markets could decline substantially if our market participants reduce their level of spending or trading activity for any reason, including:
adverse market conditions that curtail the addition of new customers or cause a decrease in purchases by our existing customers for our subscription-based products and services;
weakness in the macroeconomic environment that causes our customers to delay or cancel existing orders or subscriptions;
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cost-cutting pressures across the industry or decrease in demand for our subscription-based products and services that lead to a reduction in price;
consolidation in our markets or the markets of our customers that results in a reduction in the number of market participants;
a reduction in trading demand by customers or a decision to curtail or cease hedging or speculative trading;
regulatory or legislative changes impacting our business, our customers and financial markets;
political uncertainty and discord could negatively impact us if we are viewed as taking a political stance that is contrary to our customers’ beliefs or principles;
the impact of climate change and the transition to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels;
a prolonged decrease in volatility in the financial markets;
heightened capital and margin requirements or mandated reductions in leverage resulting from new regulations;
defaults by clearing or exchange members or the inability of participants to pay out contractual obligations;
changes to our contract specifications that are not viewed favorably by our market participants; or
reduced access to, or availability of, capital required to fund trading activities.
A reduction in our overall trading volume could render our markets less attractive to market participants as a source of liquidity, which could result in further loss of trading volume and associated transaction-based revenues. A reduction in trading volumes could also result in a corresponding decrease in the demand for our market data, which would further reduce our overall revenue.
Further, NYSE’s revenue increases when more companies are seeking access to public markets, and on the NYSE specifically. Continued stagnation or declines in the IPO market, or issuers choosing to list on venues other than the NYSE, have had and could continue to have an adverse effect on our revenues.
In addition, adverse conditions in the residential mortgage lending industry, including a substantial or prolonged decline in mortgage lending volume or an increase in mortgage foreclosure volume, have in the past increased our costs or had an adverse effect on our revenues and may do so in the future. For example, beginning in early 2022, in line with the Federal Reserve raising rates numerous times as part of its anti-inflation strategy mortgage lending volume decreased substantially and although this trend began to revert halfway through 2023, it could return in the future, meaning we could see a further decline in mortgage origination volumes. This decrease in lending volume has adversely affected our revenues, in particular those of a transactional nature which are directly connected to the number of loans processed using our technology. Factors that are currently adversely impacting mortgage lending volumes include elevated mortgage interest rates, as well as housing affordability and availability. Additional factors that could now or in the future adversely impact mortgage lending volumes include reduced consumer and investor demand for mortgages, more stringent underwriting guidelines, decreased liquidity in the secondary mortgage market, high levels of unemployment, high levels of consumer debt, lower consumer confidence, changes in tax and other regulatory policies, the number of existing mortgages eligible for refinancing, and other macroeconomic factors. Although certain of our mortgage technology products, in particular those supporting default management, may see higher demand during times of rising mortgage foreclosure volume, this increase in demand may be outweighed by the impacts of reduced mortgage lending volume and in the aggregate may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. A reduction in mortgage volume could also result in a corresponding decrease in demand for mortgage data products, which would further reduce our revenues.
Owning clearing houses exposes us to risks, including risks related to defaults by clearing members, risks related to investing margin and guaranty funds and the cost of operating the clearing houses.
There are risks inherent in operating clearing houses, including exposure to the market and counterparty risk of clearing members, market liquidity risks, defaults by clearing members and risks associated with custody and investing margin or guaranty fund assets provided by clearing members to our clearing houses, which could subject our business to substantial losses. For example, clearing members in ICE Clear Europe have provided margin and guaranty funds with an aggregate cash balance of $42.5 billion as of December 31, 2023 and a total of $80.8 billion for all of our clearing houses as of December 31, 2023. In addition to the use of Sovereign Central Bank access when applicable, the ICE Clearing Houses may use third-party investment advisors for investment of cash assets, subject to the guidelines provided by each clearing house, and may add or change the investment managers from time to time. To the extent available, ICE Clear Credit holds the U.S. dollar cash and U.S. Treasuries that clearing members transfer to satisfy their original margin and guaranty fund requirements at its account at the Federal Reserve. With respect to other clearing member cash posted,
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ICE Clear Credit currently self-manages and uses external investment managers to invest such cash margin and guaranty fund deposits.
We have an obligation to return margin payments and guaranty fund contributions to clearing members to the extent that the relevant member’s risk based on its open contracts to the clearing house is reduced. If a number of clearing members substantially reduce their open interest or default, the concentration of risks within our clearing houses will be spread among a smaller pool of clearing members, which would make it more difficult to absorb and manage risk in the event of a further clearing member’s default.
Although our clearing houses have policies and procedures to help ensure that clearing members can satisfy their obligations, such policies and procedures may not succeed in preventing losses after a member's or counterparty’s default. In addition, although we believe that we have carefully analyzed the process for setting margins and our financial safeguards, it is a complex process and there is no guarantee that our procedures will adequately protect us from the risks related to clearing these products. We cannot assure you these measures and safeguards will be sufficient to protect us from a default or that we will not be materially and adversely affected in the event of a significant default. We have contributed our own capital to the front of the guaranty fund of the clearing houses that could be used in the event of a default. We also have default insurance that resides after and in addition to the ICE Clear Credit, ICE Clear Europe, and ICE Clear U.S. ‘Skin In The Game’ contributions and before the guaranty fund contributions of the non-defaulting clearing members. Notwithstanding these actions, the default of any one of the clearing members could subject our business to substantial losses and cause our customers to lose confidence in the guaranty of our clearing houses.
A decline in the value of securities held as margin or guaranty fund contributions by our clearing houses or default by a sovereign government issuer could pose additional risks of default by clearing members.
Our clearing houses hold a substantial amount of assets as margin or guaranty fund contributions, which comprise U.S. and other sovereign treasury securities. As of December 31, 2023, our clearing houses held $88.0 billion of non-cash margin or guaranty fund contributions in U.S. and other sovereign treasury securities: $70.2 billion of this amount was comprised of U.S. Treasury securities, $3.7 billion of French Treasury securities, $1.4 billion of German Treasury securities, $1.6 billion of U.K. Treasury securities and $11.1 billion of other European, Japanese, Canadian and Tri-Party Treasury securities. Sovereign treasury securities have historically been viewed as one of the safest and most liquid securities for clearing houses to hold due to the perceived credit worthiness of major governments. If there is a collapse in a specific currency relied upon by our clearing houses, our clearing houses could face significant expenses and such an event could cause a credit contraction and major swings in asset prices and exchange rates. To mitigate this risk, our clearing houses currently apply a discount or “haircut” to the market values for all sovereign securities held as margin or guaranty fund contributions; however, market conditions could change more quickly than we adjust the amount of the haircuts and the haircuts could be insufficient in the event of a sudden market event.
If the value of these securities declines significantly, our clearing houses will need to collect additional margin or guaranty fund contributions from their clearing members, which may be difficult for the members to supply in a time of financial stress affected by an actual or threatened default by a sovereign government. If a clearing member cannot supply the additional margin or guaranty fund contributions, which may include cash in a currency acceptable to the clearing house, the clearing house would deem the clearing member in default. If any clearing members default as a result of the reduction in the value of margin or guaranty fund contributions, our clearing houses and trading business could suffer substantial losses as a result of the loss of any capital that has been contributed to the clearing house’s guaranty funds and a loss of confidence by clearing members in the clearing house, resulting in a reduction in volumes of future cleared transactions.
Further, our clearing houses invest large sums through reverse repo transactions in connection with their clearing operations and hold sovereign securities as security in connection with such investment transactions. In the event that a reverse repo counterparty defaults, the value of the sovereign securities we hold as collateral might not be sufficient to cover our losses. Our clearing houses may also make demand deposits with commercial banks which could be lost in the event one of these banks becomes insolvent.
Owning and operating cash equity and options exchanges exposes us to additional risks, including the regulatory responsibilities to which these businesses are subject.
Owning and operating cash equity and options exchanges for which the revenues are primarily derived from trading activity, market data and listing fees, exposes us to additional risks. Adverse economic conditions and legal and regulatory changes similar to those discussed elsewhere in this section could result in decreased trading volume on our exchanges,
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discourage or prohibit market participants from listing on our exchanges or cause them to forgo new offerings. Any of these could reduce our revenues, including market data and listing fee revenue.
Our cash equity and options exchanges also have certain regulatory responsibilities that must be fulfilled. For example, these exchanges are responsible for enforcing listed company compliance with applicable listing standards, enforcing our members' compliance with exchange rules and federal securities laws, complying with terms of NMS Plans, filing of all material changes to exchanges' rules with the SEC, and operating our exchanges consistent with exchange rules, federal securities laws, and other applicable laws. Any failure by one of our exchanges to comply with, and enforce compliance by their members with, exchange rules and securities laws could significantly harm our reputation, prompt regulatory scrutiny, result in the payment of fines or penalties and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We must allocate significant resources to fulfill our regulatory and self-regulatory responsibilities. The for-profit exchanges’ goal of maximizing stockholder value might conflict with the exchanges’ regulatory and self-regulatory responsibilities. In addition, the listing of our common stock on the NYSE could potentially create a conflict between the exchange’s regulatory responsibilities to vigorously oversee the listing and trading of securities, on the one hand, and our commercial and economic interest, on the other hand. While we have structural protections to minimize these potential conflicts, we cannot be sure that such measures will be successful.
Further, changes in the rules of our securities markets must be reviewed and approved by the SEC. Approval of such changes by the SEC cannot be guaranteed, and the SEC has in the past and could in the future delay either the approval process or the initiation of the public comment process. Any denial or delay in approving changes could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results. The SEC continues to challenge fee filings on securities market data, which has in the past resulted in and could in the future negatively impact the value of proprietary data products.
See Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” above for additional information regarding regulatory changes impacting our cash equities and options exchanges, including risks to our business associated with possible regulation of services offered by non-exchange affiliates.
Our business is subject to the impact of interest rate levels, inflation and financial markets volatility, which are caused by conditions that are beyond our control.
Trading volume in our markets and products is largely driven by the degree of volatility - the magnitude and frequency of fluctuations - in prices and levels of the underlying commodities, securities, indices, financial benchmarks or other instruments. Volatility increases the need to hedge price risk and creates opportunities for investment and speculative or arbitrage trading. Were there to be a sustained period of stability in the prices or levels of the underlying commodities, securities, indices, benchmarks or other instruments of our products, we could experience lower trading volumes, slower growth or declines in revenues.
In addition, interest rates are a significant factor influencing mortgage loan production volumes and loan foreclosures. Rising interest rates are likely to reduce mortgage loan production volumes and increase loan foreclosures, which could potentially impact our transaction-based revenues.
In the event that inflation continues to increase, this would likely further increase the cost of capital, resulting in a slowdown of the growth of early stage companies, causing companies to stay private longer. As inflation has rapidly increased and remained high in recent years, it has impacted the credit health of market participants, increased the risk of default and increased the risk of companies not being able to comply with listing standards. An inflationary environment generally also reduces consumer optimism, resulting in lower demand for mortgage loans.
Factors that are particularly likely to affect price and interest rate levels and volatility, and thus trading and mortgage loan production volumes, include:
global economic and market conditions;
global political conditions including the presidential election in the U.S. and general elections in many jurisdictions in the U.S. and U.K.; and
concerns over recession, inflation, deflation, legislative and regulatory changes, government fiscal and monetary policy - including actions by the Federal Reserve and other foreign monetary units governing bodies, and investor and consumer confidence levels.
Factors that are particularly likely to affect trading volumes include:
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weather conditions including hurricanes and other significant events, natural and unnatural disasters like large oil spills that impact the production of commodities and, in the case of energy commodities, production, refining and distribution facilities for oil and natural gas;
war, acts of terrorism and any unforeseen market closures or disruptions in trading;
political developments impacting international trade, including trade disputes and increased tariffs, particularly between the U.S. and China, and imposition of protectionist measures;
real and perceived changes in the supply and demand of commodities underlying our products, particularly energy and agricultural products, including changes as a result of technological improvements or the development of alternative energy sources; and
credit quality of market participants, the availability of capital and the levels of assets under management.
Any one or more of these or other factors, which are beyond our control, may reduce volumes and trading activity. Further, lower market volatility could also result in more exchanges competing for trading volumes to maintain their growth. If any of these unfavorable conditions were to persist over a lengthy period of time and trading volumes were to decline substantially and for a long enough period, the critical mass of transaction volume necessary to support viable markets could be jeopardized. Because our cost structure is largely fixed, if demand for our current products and services declines for any reason, we may not be able to adjust our cost structure to counteract the associated decline in revenues, which would cause our net income to decline.
Systems failures in the derivatives and securities trading industry and mortgage technology industry have in the past, and could in the future, negatively impact us.
High-profile system failures in the derivatives and securities trading industry and mortgage technology industry have in the past, and could in the future, negatively impact our business and result in a loss of confidence in our technology and our markets, regulatory investigations, fines and penalties and business activity slowdown or interruptions. Further, regulators have imposed requirements for trading platforms that have been costly for us to implement and could result in a decrease in demand for some of our services. In particular, the SEC’s Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity, or Regulation SCI, and the CFTC’s system safeguards regulations subject portions of our securities and derivatives trading platforms and other technological systems related to our clearing houses, trade repositories and the U.S. Swap Execution Facility, or SEF, to extensive regulation and oversight. Ensuring our compliance with the requirements of Regulation SCI and the CFTC’s system safeguards regulations requires significant ongoing administrative and compliance expenses and burdens. In addition, the SEC’s expansion of the obligations under Regulation SCI, including the ICE businesses or systems that are determined to be in the scope of the regulation, in the past has resulted, and in the future could result, in significant additional expenditures.
We may be at greater risk from terrorism, including cyberterrorism, than other companies.
Given our prominence in the global securities industry and the location of many of our properties and personnel in U.S. and European financial centers, including lower Manhattan, and our presence in India, Abu Dhabi and Israel, we may be more likely than other companies to be a direct target of, or an indirect casualty of, attacks by terrorists or terrorist organizations, or other extremist organizations that employ threatening or harassing means to achieve their social or political objectives.
It is impossible to predict the likelihood or impact of any terrorist attack on the securities industry generally, or on our business. In the event of an attack or a threat of an attack, our security measures and contingency plans may be inadequate to prevent significant disruptions in our business, technology or access to the infrastructure necessary to maintain our business. Damage to our facilities due to terrorist attacks may be significantly in excess of insurance coverage, and we may not be able to insure against some damage at a reasonable price or at all. The threat of terrorist attacks may also negatively affect our ability to attract and retain employees. In addition, terrorist attacks may cause instability or decreased trading in the securities markets, including trading on exchanges. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our financial results.
Since we conduct operations in a number of countries and regions, including the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, substantial portions of our revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, we must translate non-U.S. dollar denominated revenues, income and expenses, as well as assets and liabilities, into U.S. dollars at exchange rates in effect during or at the end of each reporting period. Therefore, increases or decreases in the value of the U.S.
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dollar against the other currencies could affect our net operating revenues, operating income and the value of balance sheet items denominated in foreign currencies.
In an attempt to combat inflation, countries and regions have used monetary policy, through increasing central bank interest rates, and such actions have caused, and may continue to cause, volatility in currency exchange rates.
External events such as Brexit have caused, and may in the future cause, significant volatility in currency exchange rates, especially among the U.S. dollar, the British pound sterling and the euro. If global economic and market conditions, or economic conditions in the U.K., EU, the U.S. or other key markets deteriorate, the value of the pound sterling, euro or U.S. dollar may weaken. Further, financial instability in a particular country could have a contagion effect on the region in which it is located and contribute to general instability and uncertainty in that region. Events that adversely affect our clients and suppliers in a region could in turn have a materially adverse effect on our international business results and our operating results.
For additional information on our foreign currency exchange rate risk, refer to “- Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk” in Item 7A “- Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk", which is included in this Annual Report.
We may have difficulty executing our growth strategy and maintaining our growth effectively.
We have achieved significant growth since becoming a public company in 2005. Our growth is highly dependent on customer demand for our core products and services, favorable economic conditions and our ability to invest in our personnel, facilities, infrastructure and financial and management systems and controls. Adverse economic conditions could reduce customer demand for our products and services, which may place a significant strain on our management and resources and could force us to defer existing or future planned opportunities. We regularly evaluate our existing operations, service capacity and business efficiencies and, as a result of such evaluations, we may undertake strategic initiatives outside of and within our businesses. We may not be successful in executing on our strategies to support our growth organically or through acquisitions, other investments or strategic alliances.
We may not be successful in offering new products or technologies or in identifying opportunities.
We from time to time launch, and intend in the future to launch, new products, services and business ventures and continue to explore and pursue other opportunities to strengthen our business and grow our company. We have spent and may continue to spend substantial time and money developing new product or service offerings or improving current product or service offerings. If these offerings are not successful, we may miss a potential market opportunity and not be able to recover the costs of such initiatives. Obtaining any required regulatory approval associated with these offerings may also result in delays or restrictions on our ability to benefit fully from these offerings. Further, we have entered into and may seek in the future to enter into or increase our presence in markets that already possess established competitors who may enjoy the protection of high barriers to entry, among other advantages.
In addition, in light of consolidation in the exchange, data services, clearing and mortgage technology sectors and competition for opportunities, we may be unable to identify strategic opportunities or we may be unable to negotiate or finance any future acquisition successfully. Our competitors could merge, making it more difficult for us to find appropriate entities to acquire or merge with and making it more difficult to compete in our industry due to the increased resources of our merged competitors. Also, offering new products and services and pursuing acquisitions requires substantial time and attention of our management team, which could prevent them from successfully overseeing other initiatives that are necessary for our success.
Climate change and the transition to renewable energy pose operational, commercial, regulatory and financial risks.
Climate change may increase the frequency or severity of extreme weather events, and if we are not adequately resilient to deal with acute climate events, our operations, either in a particular location or globally, may be impacted. Extreme weather events could also impact the activities of our customers or third-party vendors or suppliers. The physical commodities and assets underlying certain of our markets may also be impacted by climate change.
In addition, the transition to renewable energy involves changes to consumer and institutional preferences around energy production and consumption, and the possible failure of our products or services to facilitate the needs of customers during the transition to renewable energy could adversely impact our business and revenues. Changing preferences could also have an adverse impact on the operations or financial condition of our customers, which could result in reduced revenues from those customers. We are also subject to risks relating to new or heightened climate change-related
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regulations or legislation, which could impact us and our customers and result in increased regulatory, compliance or operational costs. We are also subject to reputational risks relating to the perception of whether or not we are facilitating a migration away from fossil fuels. For example, our reputation could be damaged as a result of our offering certain products or services associated with causing or exacerbating climate change, or by any decision by us to continue to conduct or change our activities in response to considerations relating to climate change.
The risks associated with climate change and the transition to renewable energy are continuing to evolve rapidly, and we expect that climate change-related risks may increase over time.
We may be required to recognize impairments of our goodwill, other intangible assets or investments.
The determination of the value of goodwill and other intangible assets requires the use of estimates and assumptions that affect our consolidated financial statements. As of December 31, 2023, we had goodwill of $30.6 billion and net other intangible assets of $17.3 billion relating to our acquisitions, including our acquisition of Black Knight in September 2023, and our purchase of trademarks and Internet domain names from various third parties.
During 2023, we recorded an impairment on certain trademark intangible assets and during 2022, we recorded an impairment of our equity investment in Bakkt. We cannot assure you that we will not experience future events that may result in these types of impairments. An impairment of the value of our existing goodwill, other intangible assets and other investments and assets could have a significant negative impact on our future operating results.

For additional information on our goodwill, other intangible assets and investments, refer to Notes 3, 4 and 9 to our consolidated financial statements and “- Critical Accounting Policies - Goodwill and Other Identifiable Intangible Assets” in Item 7 “- Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” which are included in this Annual Report.
We may not realize the expected benefits of our majority investment in Bakkt and the investment may introduce additional risks to our business due to its evolving business model.
We have a majority equity ownership interest and a minority voting interest in Bakkt, which operates as a separate publicly-traded company listed on the NYSE. Due to our majority equity ownership interest in Bakkt, we have increased financial and reputational risks if there is a security or system failure or if Bakkt's business is unsuccessful. We may not realize the returns originally expected from this investment or it may take longer than expected for us to realize the expected returns. In 2022, Bakkt reported an impairment of goodwill and intangible assets and we recorded an impairment of our equity investment in Bakkt. We have reviewed certain Bakkt performance indicators noting that as of September 30, 2023, Bakkt disclosed that it is monitoring its ability to continue as a going concern and recorded an impairment charge, our share of which was included in our equity losses in Bakkt for the year ended December 31, 2023. Bakkt has subsequently disclosed its conclusions regarding its substantial doubt of its ability to continue as a going concern. Subsequent impairments on our equity investment in Bakkt may become necessary. Furthermore, our investment in Bakkt entails numerous risks, including risks relating to our minority voting interest in Bakkt and risks relating to Bakkt’s ability to:
manage the complexity of its business model to stay current with the industry;
comply with existing or new laws, regulations or orders of any governmental authority related to the use of digital assets, which are currently under additional regulatory scrutiny following recent negative events in the cryptocurrency industry;
obtain and maintain required licenses and regulatory approvals for its business;
successfully enter categories and markets in which it may have limited or no prior experience;
apply distributed ledger technology to a global ecosystem for digital assets;
successfully develop and integrate products, systems or personnel into its business operations;
maintain a risk management and compliance framework designed to detect illegal activity such as fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and ransomware scams and comply with anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing laws and regulations and anti-corruption laws globally; and
maintain technology systems and processes that prevent cyberattacks and security vulnerabilities.
As digital assets and blockchain technologies evolve, Bakkt may add, modify or discontinue certain aspects of its business model relating to the product mix and service offerings. Future additions and modifications to Bakkt’s business will increase the complexity of its business and place significant strain on Bakkt’s management, personnel, operations,
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systems, technical performance, financial resources and internal financial control and reporting functions. We cannot offer any assurance that these or any other additions or modifications will be successful or will not result in harm to Bakkt’s business. In addition, recent volatility in digital asset markets and bankruptcies relating to digital asset companies could, among other things, reduce confidence in digital assets and blockchain technologies. These events are continuing to develop and it is not possible to predict at this time all of the risks that they may pose to Bakkt or on the digital asset industry as a whole.
Pandemics and other public health emergencies, including the emergence of new COVID-19 variants resulting in another pandemic, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic created economic and financial disruptions globally and led governmental authorities to take unprecedented measures to mitigate the spread of the disease. From an operational perspective, the spread of COVID-19 resulted in, and the emergence of a new pandemic or other health emergency, including a resurgence of COVID-19, could in the future result in, temporary closures of our office facilities and the office facilities of our customers and our third-party vendors. We cannot assure you that such measures will adequately protect our business, and such measures could introduce new operational risks, including, but not limited to, cybersecurity risk, and strain our technological resources and business continuity plans. If one or more of the third-party vendors to whom we outsource certain material activities claim that they cannot perform due to a force majeure or experience operational failures as a result of a pandemic or other public health emergency, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. The emergence of variant strains that are resistant to vaccines or a decrease in the effectiveness of vaccines over the long term could impact, among other things, the availability of our executive officers, staff and primary facilities, and the viability of our customers.
In addition, in 2022 and continuing into 2023, the spread of COVID-19 variants, along with other factors, such as restrictions and limitations on business activities, labor shortages at ports and for long-haul transportation, volatility in fuel costs and raw material shortages, have resulted in disruptions to global supply chains, which have impacted the availability of critical hardware and extended lead times for certain components and systems we require for our operations. A resurgence in COVID-19 cases, or another pandemic or public health emergency, could negatively affect the flow or availability of certain hardware and related products for technology that we need to operate our business effectively and efficiently. Our inability to acquire suitable hardware and related products on acceptable terms or the loss of key suppliers could negatively affect our business. Pandemic and public health-related restrictions could also impact third-party providers' abilities to meet their contractual obligations to us, potentially impacting our operations. Pandemics and public health emergencies could also have an adverse impact on our customers’ businesses, risk management needs and ability to trade, and, to the extent they do so may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS AND COMMON STOCK
We may fail to realize the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and synergies and other benefits anticipated from our recent acquisition of Black Knight and are subject to continuing obligations contained in the the Consent Order entered into between the FTC, ICE and Black Knight, which could adversely affect our business and the value of our common stock.
We recently completed the acquisition of Black Knight and the success of the merger will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully integrate the business of Black Knight into the ICE Mortgage Technology business in a manner that facilitates growth opportunities, realizes anticipated synergies, and achieves the projected cost savings, revenue growth and profitability targets of the combined businesses without adversely affecting current revenues and investments in future growth. There is a significant degree of difficulty and management distraction inherent in the process of integrating an acquisition, which may involve delays or additional and unforeseen expenses. The integration and other disruptions from the merger may also disrupt our ongoing businesses. In connection with the merger and the integration of Black Knight’s business, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant costs. These incremental transaction-related costs may exceed the savings and efficiencies we expect to achieve from the integration of the businesses. Following the completion of the acquisition of Black Knight, we continue to be subject to periodic reviews by the FTC under the Consent Order we entered into with them, and we are required to certify that we are in compliance with the restrictions contained in the Consent Order. In addition, ICE continues to provide services and infrastructure to divested business units under the scrutiny of a monitor appointed by the FTC, which could impact our operations and cause us to incur significant expenses. If we are not able to successfully achieve our objectives from the Black Knight merger within the anticipated time frame, or at all, the anticipated benefits may not be realized fully or at all, may take longer to realize than expected, and our business or stock price may be adversely affected.
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As a result of the consummation of the merger with Black Knight, we are subject to risks relating to the business conducted by Black Knight.
As a result of the consummation of the merger with Black Knight, we are subject to a variety of risks relating to the business conducted by Black Knight, many of which we, and more specifically, ICE Mortgage Technology, already face in our business, as described in various risk factors included in this Annual Report. Some of the specific risks facing Black Knight include risks relating to the mortgage lending industry, including general conditions in the industry; changes in inflation rates and interest rates; changes in current or new regulations and legislation and potential structural changes in the mortgage lending industry; technology risks, including cyber security and data privacy risks relating to Black Knight’s services; risks relating to intellectual property held or used by Black Knight; the ability of Black Knight to adequately compete with products or other companies, including through attracting new customers and retaining or selling additional service offerings to existing customers; risks relating to Black Knight’s use of international third-party service providers and Black Knight’s international operations; risks relating to Black Knight’s indebtedness; and risks relating to current and future legal proceedings or disputes involving Black Knight. In connection with any such legal proceeding or other dispute, we could incur significant expenses. An adverse resolution of any such proceeding or dispute may require us to pay substantial damages or impose restrictions on how we conduct business, either of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We may fail to complete or realize the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and synergies and other benefits anticipated from any future acquisitions or anticipated growth opportunities or expected benefits of our strategic investments, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.
We have completed many acquisitions, including our recent acquisition of Black knight, and plan to continue to pursue acquisitions and joint ventures. The success of our acquisitions will depend, in part, on our ability to integrate these businesses and realize anticipated cost savings, revenue synergies and growth opportunities. We generally set aggressive timelines for realizing savings, which assumes we successfully undertake a variety of actions (including, but not limited to, integrating technology, eliminating redundancies and effecting organizational restructurings) that are themselves subject to a variety of risks and may be subject to regulatory approvals that we do not control. The process of integrating acquired companies is time consuming and could disrupt each company’s ongoing businesses, produce unforeseen regulatory and operating difficulties (including inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures and policies that adversely affect relationships with market participants, regulators and others), require substantial resources and expenditures and divert the attention of management from the ongoing operation of the business.
There is also a risk that we may not integrate these acquired companies in a manner that permits our expected cost savings and revenue synergies to be fully realized in the time periods expected, or at all. In addition, a variety of factors, including but not limited to regulatory conditions, governmental competition approvals, cultural differences and difficulty integrating technology platforms, may adversely affect our ability to complete our acquisitions or realize our anticipated cost savings and synergies.
We also may not realize anticipated growth opportunities and other benefits from strategic investments or strategic joint ventures or alliances that we have entered into or may enter into for a number of reasons, including decline in value of the other company, regulatory or government approvals or changes, global market changes, contractual obligations, competing products and, in some instances, our lack of or limited control over the management of the business. Further, strategic initiatives that have historically been successful may not continue to be successful due to competitive threats, changing market conditions or the inability for the parties to extend the relationship into the future.
As a result of any future acquisition, we may issue additional shares of our common stock that dilute our stockholders’ ownership interest, expend cash, incur debt, assume actual and contingent liabilities, inherit existing or pending litigation or create additional expenses related to amortizing intangible assets. Further, we cannot assure you that any such financing or equity investments will be available with terms that will be favorable to us, or available at all.
We are a holding company and depend on our subsidiaries for dividends, distributions and other payments.
We are a legal entity separate and distinct from our operating subsidiaries. Our principal source of cash flow, including cash flow to pay dividends to our stockholders, principal and interest on our outstanding debt or repurchase shares of our common stock, is dividends from our subsidiaries. There are statutory and regulatory limitations on the payment of dividends by certain of our subsidiaries to us. If our subsidiaries are unable to make dividend payments to us and sufficient cash or liquidity is not otherwise available, we may not be able to make dividend payments to our stockholders, principal and interest payments on our outstanding debt or repurchase shares of our common stock, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
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Provisions of our organizational documents and Delaware law may delay or deter a change of control of ICE.
Our organizational documents contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change of control of, or unsolicited acquisition proposals for, ICE. These provisions make a change of control less likely, which may be contrary to the desires of certain of our stockholders. Many of these provisions are required by relevant regulators in connection with our ownership and operation of U.S. and European equity exchanges. For example, our organizational documents include provisions that generally restrict any person (either alone or together with its related persons) from (i) voting or causing the voting of shares of stock representing more than 10% of our outstanding voting capital stock (including as a result of any agreement by any other persons not to vote shares of stock) or (ii) beneficially owning shares of stock representing more than 20% of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our capital stock. Further, our organizational documents generally limit the ability of stockholders to act by written consent, and generally authorize our Board of Directors, without stockholder approval, to issue and fix the rights and preferences of one or more series of preferred stock. In addition, provisions of Delaware law may have a similar effect, such as provisions limiting the ability of certain interested stockholders, as defined under Delaware law, from causing the merger or acquisition of a corporation against the wishes of the Board of Directors.
LEGAL AND REGULATORY
Our businesses and those of many of our clients have been and continue to be subject to extensive legislation and regulatory scrutiny, and we face the risk of changes to our regulatory environment and business in the future.
We are and will continue to be subject to extensive regulation in many jurisdictions around the world, and in particular in the U.S. and the U.K. We face the risk of significant actions by regulatory and taxing authorities in all jurisdictions in which we conduct our businesses and hold investments, which may affect our business, the activity of our market participants, and our results. Among other things, as a result of regulators and tax authorities enforcing existing laws and regulations, we could be censured, fined, prohibited from pursuing certain acquisitions or engaging in some of our business activities, subjected to limitations or conditions on our business activities, including fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory pricing restrictions, also known as FRAND, and prohibiting the inclusion of, or reliance on, “unfair” terms in certain customer contracts, or subjected to new or substantially higher taxes or other governmental charges in connection with the conduct of our business or with respect to our employees, including settlement payments, interest payments and penalty payments. In many cases, our activities may be subject to overlapping and divergent regulation in different jurisdictions.
The adoption of new laws or regulations or changes in enforcement practices applicable to our businesses or those of our clients could adversely affect our ability to compete effectively with other institutions that are not affected in the same way or impact our clients’ overall trading volume through our exchanges and clearing houses and demand for our market data and connectivity offerings, mortgage technology and other services.
EU policymakers continue to adopt and propose changes to regulatory intervention related to energy markets, including price limiting mechanisms on exchange traded gas products and strengthening the EU’s market abuse framework for wholesale energy markets. Trading volumes on ICE Endex, the primary European exchange for the benchmark European gas contract, and ICE Clear Europe, which clears ICE Endex contracts, could be impacted. Additionally, in December 2022, a coalition of various nations set the price of Russian crude oil at or below $60 a barrel and is considering whether additional sanctions are appropriate for firms that violate that pricing requirement, which may impact our businesses and those of our clients. There may be additional regulatory changes forthcoming and additional impacts to our business.

We are also subject to regulatory risks relating to the mortgage industry, which is heavily regulated in the U.S. Following the acquisition of Black Knight, we have enhanced oversight from the FFIEC and CFPB related to the inclusion of Black Knight's services and product offerings in our portfolio. Changes to existing laws or regulations or adoption of new laws or regulations that affect the residential mortgage industry could reduce residential mortgage volume or otherwise limit the ability of users and participants of our mortgage technology services to operate their businesses, resulting in decreased usage of our solutions. Alternatively, reduced regulatory requirements could also reduce the demand for certain of our products and services, which are intended to enable our customers to satisfy existing regulatory requirements. Potential structural changes to federal agencies integral to the U.S. residential mortgage industry, in particular, those involving the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in addition to the regulatory roles of the CFPB and other banking regulators, could disrupt the residential mortgage market and have a material adverse effect on our business. Further, as a critical third-party service provider in the mortgage industry, we are subject to supervision and examination by certain regulators, which has resulted in, and will continue to result in, additional operating costs.
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There is ongoing public concern regarding data privacy and data protection in many jurisdictions in which ICE operates. Many of those jurisdictions have passed data privacy legislation, with many more contemplating new laws. The laws and regulations related to privacy and data protection are increasing in complexity and number, change frequently and increasingly conflict among the various countries in which we operate, which has resulted in greater compliance risk and cost for us. Regulation of privacy and data protection often times require monitoring of, and changes to, our data practices in regard to the collection, use, disclosure, storage, transfer and/or security of personal and sensitive information. Regulatory activity in the privacy area may also hinder our business, for example, by restricting use or sharing of data, including for marketing or advertising or limiting the use of, limiting our ability to provide certain data to our customers, or otherwise regulating artificial intelligence and machine learning, including the use of algorithms and automated processing in ways that could materially affect our business, or which may lead to significant increases in the cost of compliance. These developments could impact our profitability in the affected jurisdictions, or even make it uneconomical for us to continue to conduct all or certain of our businesses in such jurisdictions, or could cause us to incur significant costs associated with changing our business practices, restructuring our businesses or moving all or certain of our businesses and our employees to other jurisdictions, including liquidating assets or raising capital in a manner that adversely increases our funding costs or otherwise adversely affects our stockholders and creditors.
U.S., U.K. and EU legal and regulatory developments, in particular EMIR, EMIR 3.0, U.K. Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, or U.K. MiFID II, and EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, or EU MiFID II, the U.K BMR and the EU BMR, including each such regulation as incorporated into U.K. law, and the Dodd-Frank Act, have significantly altered and propose to further alter the regulatory framework within which we operate and may adversely affect our competitive position and profitability. These regulatory developments could also cause us to change our business practices, restructure our businesses or move certain of our businesses and employees. The enacted and proposed legal and regulatory changes most likely to affect our businesses are: operational account and clearing requirements for EU market participants in EMIR 3.0, the proposal by U.S. banking regulators to increase bank capital requirements under the Basel III Endgame impacting banking services and activities including client clearing, lending and capital markets activities and the Federal Reserve proposed revisions to the surcharge on global systemically important bank holding companies, access rules under the U.K. BMR and EU BMR, the non-harmonization of margin requirements, access to our benchmarks, U.K. CCP resolution enhancements and maintaining our exchanges’ abilities to operate as SROs with related immunity for the discharge of their regulatory functions. In addition, as the EU and U.K. amend legislation and regulation post-Brexit, there is a risk of increased divergence between the EU and U.K. regulatory regimes. As the operator of global businesses, the lack of harmonization in international financial reform efforts could impact our business as our clearing houses and exchanges are subject to regulation in multiple jurisdictions.
The Dodd-Frank Act established enhanced regulatory requirements for non-bank financial institutions designated as “systemically important” by the FSOC. ICE Clear Credit has been designated as a systemically important financial market utility by the FSOC and, as a result, is subject to additional oversight by the CFTC. Compliance with these requirements has resulted in, and will continue to result in, additional operating costs.
In 2016, the SEC approved a plan to establish a market-wide consolidated audit trail, or CAT, to improve regulators’ ability to monitor trading activity. In 2018, the first phase of implementation went live and required SRO participants to begin reporting to the CAT. In addition to increased risk in connection with our regulatory obligations and implementation of the CAT could result in significant additional expenditures, which may not be reimbursed. Funding of the implementation and operation of the CAT is ultimately expected to be provided by both the SROs and broker-dealers. To date, however, funding has been provided solely by the SROs, partly in exchange for promissory notes, which increases the risk that SROs, including us, will not be reimbursed for costs expended to date. Due to the replacement of the original plan processor, we recorded promissory note impairment charges of $16 million, $2 million and $16 million in 2023, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The SEC approved a funding model that shares the cost of the CAT between SROs and broker-dealers in September 2023, however, that approval has been challenged in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. If this challenge is successful, there is a risk that SROs will not be reimbursed. As of December 31, 2023, we have accrued approximately $97 million as a receivable in connection with our portion of expenses related to the CAT implementation. In addition, there are additional risks to SRO participants related to regulatory actions or fines in connection with a delay in implementation of the CAT.
In addition, in October, the SEC proposed a new rule that would, among other things, prohibit securities exchanges from offering volume-based transaction pricing in connection with the execution of agency orders in exchange-listed securities. If adopted, this prohibition would negatively impact our securities exchanges’ ability to compete with off-exchange trading venues.
There is an increased focus on, and scrutiny of, ESG data and ratings providers by regulators and policymakers. Regulators and policymakers have indicated that extension of their regulatory oversight to ESG data service providers is
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possible. This could result in new or additional regulations applicable to our ESG data products and services which could result in additional operating costs.
Legislative proposals in the EU and elsewhere are contemplating new or expanded requirements for data service providers such as conflict of interest and transparency rules, regulation of prices and fees, and imposition of market access rules for third-country providers. These requirements may increase regulatory burden and impact our ability to provide certain data related services in relevant jurisdictions.

We are subject to tax laws, regulations, rulings and audits in multiple U.S. and non-U.S. jurisdictions that could have a significant impact on our business and lead to additional expenditures for us or our customers. For example, there have been discussions in various jurisdictions around financial transaction or digital service tax frameworks as well as global minimum corporate income tax rates. Changes to tax frameworks in jurisdictions where we operate significant business, for example, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU have the potential to increase costs to us or to our market participants and discourage participation in the markets we operate. Furthermore, implementation of any new or amended tax laws or regulations could impact our global operations, trading volumes or financial results.
Other enacted and proposed legal and regulatory changes not discussed above may also adversely affect our competitive position and profitability. See Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” above for additional information regarding the current and proposed laws and regulations that impact our business, including risks to our business associated with these laws and regulations.
Our compliance and risk management methods, as well as our fulfillment of our regulatory obligations, may not be effective, which could lead to enforcement actions by our regulators or other legal proceedings.
Our ability to comply with existing and future rules, regulations and laws largely depends on our establishment and maintenance of compliance, audit and reporting systems that can quickly adapt and respond, as well as our ability to attract and retain qualified compliance and other risk management personnel. Regulators periodically review our ability to self-regulate and our compliance with a variety of laws and regulations including self-regulatory standards. Certain of our businesses associated with the NYSE are subject to public notice procedures prior to making changes in operations, policies and procedures. If we fail to comply with any of these obligations, regulators could take a variety of actions that could impair our ability to conduct our business.
Our acquisitions expose us to new regulatory requirements. For example, our acquisitions of Ellie Mae, Inc., or Ellie Mae, in 2020 and Black Knight in 2023 expose us to increased regulatory scrutiny from U.S. regulatory bodies that regulate the U.S. residential mortgage industry, including the FFIEC and its member agencies, and the CFPB, among others. Compliance with any such regulatory requirements gives rise to costs and expenses that may be material.
Our regulators have broad enforcement powers to censure, fine, issue cease-and-desist orders, embargo future business activity or prohibit us from engaging in some of our businesses. We continue to face the risk of significant intervention by regulatory authorities, including extensive examination and surveillance activity of our business. Any such matters may result in material adverse consequences to our financial condition, operating results or ability to conduct our business, including adverse judgments, settlements, fines, penalties, injunctions, restrictions on our business activities or other relief. Our involvement in any such matters, even if the matters are ultimately determined to be in our favor, could also cause significant harm to our reputation and divert management attention from the operation of our business. Further, any settlement, consent order or adverse judgment in connection with any formal or informal proceeding or investigation by government or regulatory agencies may result in additional litigation, investigations or proceedings as other litigants and government or regulatory agencies begin independent reviews of the same businesses or activities. Finally, the implementation of new legislation or regulations, or changes in or unfavorable interpretations of existing regulations by courts or regulatory bodies, could require us to incur significant compliance costs and impede our ability to remain competitive and grow our business.
Regulatory developments or court rulings may have an adverse impact on our ability to derive revenue from market data and connectivity fees.
Regulatory developments or court rulings could reduce the amount of revenue that we obtain from exchange market data and connectivity fees related to our U.S. equity and options exchanges. With respect to our U.S. equities and equity options exchanges, our ability to assess fees for market data products and certain connectivity fees are subject to review by the SEC. There continue to be opposing industry viewpoints as to the extent that our U.S. equities and equity options exchanges should be able to charge for market data and market access, and the manner in which we set such exchange fees could be reassessed.
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If new constraints are placed on our ability to charge for market data or market access in the U.S., it could have a negative impact on our revenues. We cannot predict whether, or in what form, any regulatory or other changes will take effect or their impact on our business. A determination by the SEC or a court, for example, that the SEC must link market data fees to marginal costs, take a more active role in the market data rate-setting process, or reduce the current levels of market data fees, could have an adverse effect on our market data revenues.
Separately, our European exchanges are currently authorized to sell trade information on a non-discriminatory basis at a reasonable cost. This regulatory position could be modified or interpreted by the European Commission or future European court decisions in a manner that could have an adverse effect on our European market data revenues.
In addition, the FCA and IOSCO have both issued consultations to explore access to market data in financial markets. The results of these consultations may lead to a regulatory response that could affect our business. Similar to the U.S., if new constraints are placed on our ability to charge for market data or market access in the U.K. or other jurisdictions, it could have a negative impact on our revenues.
The uncertainty surrounding the U.K. and EU regulatory frameworks following the U.K.'s exit from the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit, could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Brexit has created political and economic uncertainty and instability in the global markets, particularly in the U.K. and EU. Political and economic uncertainty surrounding the future relationship of the U.K. and EU could lead to certain macroeconomic conditions that adversely affect our business. The long-term effects of Brexit will depend, in part, on the agreement the U.K. made to retain access to EU markets. The EU and U.K. continue to implement regulatory proposals related to the provision of financial services and the administration of benchmarks and indices in the EU and U.K. related to Brexit.
The U.K. and EU have agreed to a trade and cooperation agreement which governs the EU-U.K. relationship after the completion of the U.K.’s exit from the EU. The U.K.-EU Brexit deal does not provide a transition period for financial services, or any new arrangements to replace the existing “passport.” This leaves both the U.K. and EU to address matters of access in financial services through declarations of equivalence under existing equivalence regimes contained in U.K. and EU law and through domestic laws. In February 2022, the European Commission extended its temporary equivalence decision for U.K. CCPs until June 30, 2025. ICE Clear Europe has been recognized by ESMA as a third-country CCP in accordance with EMIR and in March 2022, ESMA extended ICE Clear Europe's temporary recognition and tiering decision to June 2025.
The U.K. launched HM Treasury's Wholesale Markets Review to improve the competitiveness of the U.K. financial services sector and in March 2022 published its consultation response. In June 2023, the FSMA 2023 was enacted and makes significant changes to U.K. financial services regulation and incorporates considerations of the Wholesale Markets Review. The FSMA 2023 expands the U.K.’s existing resolution regime for CCPs and enables the BOE to take full control of a CCP when necessary without relying on its existing powers, and permits the BOE to use a number of tools without reliance on the CCP’s rulebook.

In December 2023, the FCA published a consultation proposing to revise the U.K. commodity derivatives framework. The FSMA 2023 reformed the U.K.’s commodity derivatives regulatory regime including revoking the MIFID II position limit requirements and transferring the powers to set position limits and controls from the FCA to the operator of trading venues. The FCA proposal requires U.K. trading venues to set position limits for critical and related contracts, to establish accountability thresholds and to report enhanced position data.

In December 2022, the European Commission published new legislative proposals on clearing services amending EMIR and provisions in the framework. The European Commission aims to encourage clearing in the EU and reduce exposure to non-EU CCPs through adding an operational account requirement, which could require EU-based firms to clear a proportion of their derivatives business at an EU CCP. These proposals and those mentioned above could impact our business.

As a result of the U.K. and EU trade and cooperation agreement not providing free trade arrangements for financial services, any equivalence determinations or any further transition period for financial services could include restrictions on access to our services by persons located in the EU or make access more expensive, which could adversely affect our operations and profitability or even make it uneconomical for us to continue to conduct all or certain of our businesses in such jurisdictions. The consequences of Brexit and the terms of the trade and cooperation agreement could also cause us to incur significant costs associated with changing our business practices, restructuring our businesses or moving certain
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of our businesses and our employees to other jurisdictions. See Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” above for additional information regarding Brexit, including risks to our business associated with Brexit.
Risks relating to the administration of benchmarks and indices, and changes to, cessations of, and the replacement of, or transition from, benchmarks and indices may result in legal risks and could adversely affect our business.
Certain of our subsidiaries produce and license multiple benchmarks and indices across asset classes, which are used globally and are referenced in certain of our trading and clearing products. To ensure continued trading and clearing in these benchmark-related products, and the continued licensing and use of these benchmarks and indices, our subsidiaries must be able to demonstrate that these benchmarks and indices are determined with integrity and are not readily subject to manipulation, and must also continue to evolve these benchmarks and indices as necessary to maintain their reliability and relevance and continue to administer these benchmarks and indices in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Any failures, negative publicity or lawsuits related to our subsidiaries' administration of benchmarks and indices could result in a loss of confidence in the administration of these benchmarks and indices and could harm our business and our reputation.
Changes to, cessations of, and the replacement of or transition from, our subsidiaries' benchmarks and indices or any other changes or reforms to the determination or administration of such benchmarks and indices, could result in legal risks, risks to our reputation, and have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and operating results. Our subsidiary, IBA, is the administrator of LIBOR and various other global benchmarks. In July 2017, the FCA stated its intention that it would no longer be necessary to sustain LIBOR through its influence or legal powers beyond 2021. As a result, regulators in multiple jurisdictions encouraged market participants to transition from using LIBOR to alternative reference rates. The publication of most LIBOR settings ceased after December 31, 2021 with certain others ceasing after June 30, 2023.
The FCA required IBA to continue to publish certain LIBOR settings under a changed "synthetic" methodology for a temporary period and intends that all remaining “synthetic” settings will cease, with the remaining GBP setting ceasing after publication on March 28, 2024, and the remaining USD settings ceasing after publication on September 30, 2024. Any LIBOR settings published under a “synthetic” methodology are not representative of the underlying market or economic reality the setting was intended to measure as those terms are used in the U.K. BMR. Any failures, negative publicity or lawsuits related to our IBA’s administration of LIBOR, could result in a loss of confidence in our subsidiaries’ administration of benchmarks and indices and could harm our business and our reputation. See Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” above for additional information regarding the LIBOR transition, including risks to our business associated with the LIBOR transition.
Under the U.K. BMR, the use of “synthetic” LIBOR settings by U.K.-supervised entities in certain regulated contracts and instruments is either prohibited or subject to FCA permission. The use of “synthetic” LIBOR settings in jurisdictions outside the U.K. and by entities subject to the oversight of other regulatory authorities may also be restricted or prohibited by law in those jurisdictions and by the requirements of such regulatory authorities. We continue to monitor industry and regulatory developments in relation to the LIBOR transition and cessation and the resulting impacts on our business and on the markets using interest rate benchmarks today.

In addition, certain authorities, including those in the U.S., the U.K. and the EU, have issued consultations to gather feedback on index provider businesses or are undertaking reviews of current regulations. The results of these consultations or reviews may lead to a regulatory response that could affect our business. Additional regulation on index providers in the U.S., U.K., or other jurisdictions, could have a negative impact on our revenues.
We may face liability for content contained in our data products and services.
We have been, and may in the future be, subject to claims for breach of contract, defamation, libel, copyright or trademark infringement, fraud or negligence or based on other theories of liability, in each case relating to the data, articles, commentary, ratings, information or other content we distribute in our financial data services. If such data or other content or information that we distribute has errors, is delayed or has design defects, we could be subject to liability or our reputation could suffer. We could also be subject to claims based upon the content that is accessible from our corporate website or those websites that we own and operate through links to other websites. Use of our products and services as part of the investment process creates the risk that clients, or the parties whose assets are managed by our clients, may pursue claims against us for significant amounts. Any such claim, even if the outcome were ultimately favorable to us, could involve a significant commitment of our management, personnel, financial and other resources. Such claims and
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lawsuits could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results and a negative impact on our reputation.
In addition, we license and redistribute data and content from various third-party sources and the terms of these licenses change frequently. Our third-party data and content suppliers may audit our use of and our clients’ use of and payment for data and content from time to time in the ordinary course of business, including audits currently underway. Such third-party data and content suppliers have asserted and may in the future assert that we or our clients owe additional amounts under the terms of the applicable license agreements, that we inappropriately distributed the third-party data or that we or our clients used the data or content in a manner that exceeded the scope of the applicable license agreement or without a license agreement. In some instances, where we have certain commercial relationships with third-parties, we have assumed the responsibility for this third-party source liability. We have and expect to continue to spend and allocate resources to develop and acquire the use of technology and other intellectual property rights to manage these risks and track third-party data usage, but we cannot be assured that we will not incur liability. The costs and resources required to investigate any allegations could be material, and we may still be required to pay damages to or make unexpected large settlement payments to these data and content suppliers, which could also give rise to reputational harm.
We are subject to significant litigation and liability risks.
Many aspects of our business, and the businesses of our market participants and data and mortgage technology customers, involve substantial risks of liability. These risks include, among others, potential liability from disputes over terms of a trade and the claim that a system failure or delay caused monetary loss to a participant or that an unauthorized trade occurred. For example, dissatisfied market participants that have traded on our electronic platforms or those on whose behalf such participants have traded may make claims regarding the quality of trade execution, or allege improperly confirmed or settled trades, abusive trading practices, security and confidentiality breaches, mismanagement or even fraud against us or our participants. In addition, because of the ease and speed with which sizable trades can be executed on our electronic platform, participants can lose substantial amounts by inadvertently entering trade orders or by entering them inaccurately. A large number of significant error trades could result in participant dissatisfaction and a decline in participant willingness to trade in our electronic markets.
In addition, we are subject to legal disputes that could result in the payment of fines, penalties or damages and could expose us to additional liability in the future. See Item 3 "Legal Proceedings" in this Annual Report for a general description of our legal proceedings and claims and Note 16 to our consolidated financial statements and related notes, which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report, for a summary of specific legal proceedings. The outcome of any of these legal proceedings that remain unresolved cannot be determined and adverse rulings in these matters could impact our financial condition and continued operations.
Further, we could incur significant expenses defending the claims mentioned above and any future claims, even those without merit, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. An adverse resolution of any lawsuit or claim against us, including those we are involved with due to acquisition activity, may require us to pay substantial damages or impose restrictions on how we conduct business, either of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, we may have to establish accruals for those matters in circumstances when a loss contingency is considered probable and the related amount is reasonably estimable. Any such accruals may be adjusted as circumstances change.
OPERATIONAL AND LIQUIDITY
Our systems and those of our third-party service providers are vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacking and other cybersecurity risks, which could result in wrongful manipulation, disclosure, destruction, or use of our information or that of a third party, or which could make our customers unable or reluctant to use our electronic platforms or other products and services.
The secure transmission of confidential information and the ability to reliably transact on our electronic platforms and provide financial data services are critical elements of our operations. Some of our products and services involve the storage and transmission of proprietary information and sensitive or confidential client and other data, including client portfolio information or personally identifiable information. If anyone gains improper access to our electronic platforms, networks or databases, they may be able to steal, publish, delete or modify our confidential information or that of a third party. Breaches of our cybersecurity measures or the accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure or unapproved dissemination of proprietary information or sensitive or confidential data about us, our clients or our customers, including the potential loss or disclosure of such information or data could expose us, our customers or the individuals affected to a risk of loss or misuse of this information, result in litigation, regulatory action and potential liability for us, damage our brand and
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reputation or otherwise harm our business. Our networks and those of our customers, third-party service providers and external market infrastructures may be vulnerable to compromise, unauthorized access, security technology failure, malware, social engineering, denial of service attacks, terrorism, ransomware attacks, supply chain attacks, firewall or encryption failures or other security problems resulting in loss of data integrity, information disclosure, unavailability or fraud. The financial services industry has been targeted for purposes of political protest, activism and financial gain and our role in the global marketplace places us at greater risk than other public companies for cyberattack and other information security threats. Further, former employees of companies in the financial sector have misappropriated trade secrets or stolen source code in the past and we could be a target for such illegal acts in the future. There also may be system or network disruptions if new or upgraded systems are defective or not tested and installed properly.
Although we have not been subject to cyberattacks or other cyber incidents that have had a material impact on our operations or financial condition, we have from time to time experienced cybersecurity events including distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks, malware infections, phishing, web attacks, zero day and/or emerging vulnerabilities with known exploits and other information technology incidents that are typical for a financial services company of our size. For example, we experienced DDoS attempts, brand misuse, and phishing attempts directed toward employee systems and personal email accounts during 2023. While we operate an Information Security program that is designed to prevent, detect, track and mitigate cyber incidents and that has detected and mitigated such incidents in the past, we cannot assure you that these measures will be sufficient to protect our business against future attacks. Any such attacks could result in reputational damage, cause system failures or delays that could cause us to lose customers, cause us to experience lower current and future trading volumes or incur significant liabilities or have a negative impact on our competitive position. In addition, given the increasing complexity and sophistication of the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or disable or degrade systems, a cyberattack could occur and persist for an extended period of time before being detected, and we may not anticipate these acts or respond adequately or timely. The extent of a particular cyber incident and the steps that we may need to take to investigate the incident may not be immediately clear, and it may take a significant amount of time before such investigation can be completed and full and reliable information about the incident is known. While such an investigation is ongoing, we may not necessarily know the extent of the harm or how best to remediate it, which may compound damages before the incident is discovered or remediated. Additionally, as threats continue to evolve and increase, and as the regulatory environment and regulations related to information security, disclosure of cyber attacks, data collection and use, and privacy becomes increasingly rigorous, we may be required to devote significant additional resources to modify and enhance our security controls and to identify, remediate and disclose any security vulnerabilities, which could adversely impact our net income.
Further, cybersecurity threats to, and incidents involving, vendors and other third parties who support our activities - particularly those with less-sophisticated defenses - could impact us. For example, although we did not experience any material impacts from the MOVEit security vulnerability that was widely publicized in May 2023, and exploited in various forms, we cannot assure you that we will not experience future events that may be material.
Our business has in the past been, and may in the future be, harmed by computer and communication systems failures and delays.
Our business depends on the integrity, reliability and security of our infrastructure which is highly dependent on our computer and communication systems. Our customers rely on us for the delivery of time-sensitive, up-to-date and high-quality financial market data, analytics and related solutions. Our timely, reliable delivery of high-quality products and services is dependent upon an array of technical production processes that enable our content delivery platforms. Our redundant systems or disaster recovery plans, including our ability to recover from the loss of one of our primary data centers, may prove to be inadequate in the event of a systems failure or cybersecurity breach. Our systems, or those of our third-party providers, may fail or be shut down or, due to capacity constraints, may operate slowly, causing one or more of the following or other issues:
unanticipated disruption in service to our participants;
slower response time and delays in our participants’ trade execution and processing;
failed settlement by participants to whom we provide trade confirmation or clearing services;
incomplete or inaccurate accounting, recording or processing of trades;
failure to complete the clearing house margin settlement process resulting in significant financial risk;
distribution of inaccurate or untimely market data;
disruption to ICE Mortgage Technology and our loan origination and servicing systems; and
financial loss to us or those who depend on our systems and data.
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We have experienced system failures in the past due to telecommunication failures and hardware and software malfunctions and defects, and could experience future system failures due to power or telecommunications failures, human error on our part or on the part of our vendors or participants, natural disasters, fire, sabotage, hardware or software malfunctions or defects, computer viruses, cyberattacks, intentional acts of vandalism or terrorism and similar events. For example, on January 24, 2023, due to a system issue resulting from a manual error in configuring relevant systems at the start of the trading day, the NYSE did not conduct opening auctions in a subset of listed securities. Some of the resulting trades were later reversed under NYSE rules, and NYSE members otherwise impacted by the event submitted claims for losses for which the NYSE provided appropriate compensation under its rules. NYSE may also be potentially subject to additional claims from the SEC or unknown third parties as a result of this event. This January 24, 2023 NYSE system issue, and other system issues in the future, could result in damage to our business reputation and participant dissatisfaction with our electronic platform, which could prompt participants to trade elsewhere or expose us to litigation or regulatory sanctions. As a consequence, our business, financial condition and operating results could suffer materially.
Our regulated business operations generally require that our trade execution and communications systems be able to handle anticipated present and future peak trading volume. Heavy use of computer systems during peak trading times or at times of unusual market volatility could cause those systems to operate slowly or even to fail for periods of time. However, we cannot assure you that our estimates of future trading volume will be accurate or that our systems will always be able to accommodate actual trading volume without failure or degradation of performance. If we cannot increase the capacity and capabilities of our systems to accommodate an increasing volume of transactions and to execute our business strategy, our ability to maintain or expand our businesses could be adversely affected.
An interruption or cessation of an important service, data or content supplied by any third party, or the loss of an exclusive license, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We depend on a number of suppliers, such as online service providers, hosting service and software providers, data processors, data centers, software and hardware vendors, banks, local and regional utility providers, and telecommunications companies for elements of our trading, clearing, data services, mortgage technology applications and other systems. We rely on access to certain data used in our business through licenses with third parties, and we rely on a large international telecommunications company for the provision of hosting services. We also depend on third-party suppliers for data and content, including data received from certain competitors, clients, various government and public record services and financial institutions, used in our products and services. Some of this data is exclusive to particular suppliers and may not be obtained from other suppliers. In addition, our data suppliers could enter into exclusive contracts with our competitors without our knowledge. The general trend toward industry consolidation increases the risk that these services may not be available to us in the future. If these companies were to experience difficulties, discontinue providing services to us for any reason or be unable to or fail to provide the type of service agreed to for any reason, we would likely experience significant disruption to our business and may be subject to litigation by our clients, increased regulatory scrutiny or regulatory fines or damage to our reputation. It could require a significant amount of time and additional resources to transition to new third-party service providers or to enter into new commercial arrangements in order to offset loss of services to our clients. Our third-party data suppliers perform audits on us from time to time in the ordinary course of business to determine if data we license for redistribution has been properly accounted for in accordance with the terms of the applicable license agreement. As a result of these audits, we have incurred and may in the future incur additional expenses.
Many of our clients also rely on third parties to provide them with systems necessary to access our trading platform. If these companies were to discontinue providing services to our clients for any reason, we may experience a loss of revenue associated with our clients’ inability to transact with our businesses. We hold exclusive licenses to list various index futures and options contracts. In the future, litigation or regulatory action may limit the right of owners to grant exclusive licenses for index futures and options contracts trading to a single exchange, and our competitors may succeed in providing economically similar products in a manner or jurisdiction not otherwise covered by our exclusive license. MiFID II introduced a harmonized approach to the licensing of benchmarks in Europe and the legislation requires non-discriminatory access to any benchmarks registered in Europe. If unlicensed trading of any index product where we hold an exclusive license were permitted, we could lose trading volume for these products which would adversely affect our revenues associated with the license and the related index products.
Our success largely depends on key personnel, including our senior management, and having adequate succession plans in place. We may not be able to attract, retain and develop the highly skilled employees we need to support our business, which could harm our business.
Our future performance depends, in large part, on the continued services of our senior management and other key personnel, including our ability to attract, retain and motivate key personnel. Competition for key personnel in the various
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localities and business segments in which we operate is intense. Our ability to attract and retain key personnel, in particular senior management, will be dependent on a number of factors, including prevailing market conditions and compensation packages offered by companies competing for the same talent. Current economic, market, social, and political conditions and demand for hybrid working options have increased talent risk, which has led to higher employee attrition and made recruitment for certain positions more difficult, and could lead to a loss of top performers and make it more difficult to fill key positions. For example, our in-office requirements, as well as the location of our offices, and our remote working arrangements may not meet the needs or expectations of our employees, including senior management or other key employees, or may not be viewed as competitive, which could negatively impact our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees. In addition, we operate globally and geopolitical events or conflicts in the countries or regions in which we operate could lead to physical risks to our personnel and disruption to business continuity that could negatively impact our ability to execute our business strategy. There is no guarantee that we will have the continued service of key employees who we rely upon to execute our business strategy and identify and pursue strategic opportunities and initiatives. The loss of the services of any of our senior management or other key personnel, or our inability to attract highly qualified senior management and other key personnel, could harm our business. In particular, we have to incur costs to replace senior officers or other key employees who leave, and our ability to execute our business strategy could be impaired if we are unable to replace such persons in a timely manner or at all.
Effective succession planning is also important to our long-term success. Failure to ensure effective transfer of knowledge and smooth transitions involving key employees could hinder our strategic planning and execution. Further, changes in our management team may be disruptive to our business, and any failure to successfully integrate key new hires or promoted employees could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We currently have a substantial amount of outstanding indebtedness which could adversely affect our financial condition and operations and restrict our activities or our ability to satisfy our debt service obligations.
As of December 31, 2023, we had $22.6 billion of outstanding debt, inclusive of approximately $5 billion of senior notes and approximately $3.6 billion of commercial paper and term loans that we incurred in connection with the Black Knight acquisition to finance a portion of the cash consideration in the merger and related transactions and inclusive of the approximately $1 billion of Black Knight’s outstanding senior notes that we assumed upon closing of the Black Knight acquisition. This level of indebtedness could have important consequences to our business, including making it more difficult to satisfy our debt service obligations, increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions, limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate, placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our peers and restricting us from pursuing certain business opportunities. As we use our available resources to reduce and refinance our consolidated debt, our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate and our ability to pursue future business opportunities may be further restrained. In addition, the terms of our debt facilities contain affirmative and negative covenants, including a leverage ratio test and certain limitations on the incurrence of additional debt or the creation of liens and other matters. Further, a portion of our outstanding debt has historically been and may continue to be in commercial paper, which is subject to interest rate changes. Rising interest rates will result in an increase in our interest expense. We may incur additional indebtedness in the future, which could materially affect our financial condition.
Our long-term and short-term debt is currently rated by Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s. These ratings agencies regularly evaluate us and our credit ratings based on a number of quantitative and qualitative factors, including our financial strength and conditions affecting the financial services industry, generally. Our credit ratings remain subject to change at any time, and it is possible that a ratings agency may take action to downgrade our credit ratings in the future. In particular, our inability to sustain our targeted level of debt on a consolidated basis may result in a downgrade of our credit ratings. A significant downgrade of our credit ratings in the future could impact customers’ willingness to use our clearing houses, make parties less willing to do business with us, and could negatively impact our ability to access the capital markets and increase the cost of our commercial paper and any future debt funding we may obtain.
COMPETITION; REPUTATIONAL HARM
We face intense competition, and if we fail to keep up with rapid changes in technology and client preferences, it could negatively impact our competitive position.
We face intense competition in all aspects of our business and our competitors, both domestic and international, are numerous. We currently compete with:
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regulated, diversified futures exchanges that offer trading in a variety of asset classes similar to those offered by us, such as energy, agriculture, equity and equity index, credit, and interest rate derivatives markets and foreign exchange;
exchanges offering listing and trading of cash equities, ETFs, closed-end funds and other structured products similar to those offered by us;
market data and information vendors, and financial firm consortia and single financial institutions selling such data and information;
providers of digital solutions for the U.S. residential mortgage industry, including technology providers for loan origination, closing solutions, and other ancillary solutions, and loan servicing;
interdealer brokers active in the global credit derivatives markets;
existing and newly formed electronic trading platforms, service providers and exchanges, some of which do not receive the same regulatory scrutiny as established market places;
other clearing houses; and
consortia of our customers, members or market participants that may work together to achieve more favorable terms or pool their trading activity to establish new exchanges, trading platforms or clearing facilities.
Trends towards the globalization of capital markets have resulted in greater mobility of capital, greater international participation in markets and increased competition among markets in different geographical areas. Competition in the market for derivatives trading and clearing and in the market for cash equity listings, trading and execution have intensified as a result of consolidation, as the markets become more global in connection with the increase in electronic trading platforms and the desire by existing exchanges to diversify their product offerings. Finally, many of our competitors are our largest customers or are owned by our customers and may prioritize their internalization and ATS businesses ahead of their exchange-based market making business. Some of our competitors may have greater capital and resources, offer a wide range of products and services or operate under less stringent regulatory regimes than we do.
In the mortgage technology sector, we compete against other technology providers for loan origination, closing solutions, and loan servicing, as well as the many ancillary products and services we offer to the U.S. residential mortgage industry. We also compete with traditional methods of exchanging data and documents among mortgage industry participants, such as email, facsimile, phone, courier, and mail. There is vigorous competition among providers of mortgage technology services, and we may be unsuccessful in differentiating our services to the extent necessary to effectively compete and may not succeed in convincing potential customers using other services or methods to switch to ours.

We also face pricing competition in many areas of our business. A decline in our fees due to competitive pressure or regulatory changes, the inability to successfully launch new products or the loss of customers due to competition could lower our revenues, which would adversely affect our profitability. For example, our data service offerings have benefited from a high renewal rate in its subscription-based services, but we cannot assure you that this will continue. We also cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to expand our product offerings, modify the pricing for our products or retain our current customers or attract new customers. If we are not able to compete successfully, our business could be materially impacted, including our ability to remain as an operating entity.
Our success depends on our ability to maintain and expand our product offerings, our customer base and our technology. To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the responsiveness, functionality, accessibility and reliability of our electronic platforms and our proprietary and acquired technology. The financial services industry is characterized by rapid technological change, change in use patterns, change in client preferences, frequent product and service introductions, the emergence of new industry standards and practices and increased consolidation through mergers and acquisitions activity that results in new competitors or expanded product offerings by current competitors. For example, financial institutions are investing significantly in new technologies involving artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver solutions at lower prices, more efficiently or more conveniently. The development and use of these types of new technologies and other industry changes could render our existing proprietary technology uncompetitive or obsolete.
We cannot assure you that we will successfully implement new technologies or adapt our proprietary technology to our clients’ requirements or emerging industry standards in a timely and cost-effective manner. Any failure to remain abreast of industry standards in technology and to be responsive to client preferences could cause our market share to decline and negatively impact our results.
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Damage to our reputation could damage our business.
Our business is highly competitive and our customers have options on where to conduct their business. Our management team and business operations benefit from being highly regarded in our industry. Maintaining our reputation is critical to attracting and retaining customers and investors and for maintaining our relationships with our regulators. Negative publicity regarding our company, especially given the speed with which false information can be spread through social media channels, or actual, alleged or perceived issues regarding our products or services, operations, risk management, compliance with regulations, political affiliations or management team could give rise to reputational risk which could significantly harm our existing business and business prospects.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Our use of "open source" software could negatively impact our ability to sell our products and services and subject us to litigation.
We use some open-source software in our technology, most often as small components within a larger product or service, to augment algorithms, functionalities or libraries we create, and we may use more open-source software in the future. Open-source code is also contained in some third-party software we rely on. We could be subject to suits by parties claiming breach of the terms of the license for such open-source software. The terms of many open-source licenses are ambiguous and have not been interpreted by U.S. or other courts, and these licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products and services. Further, open-source licensors generally do not provide technology support, maintenance, warranties or assurance of title or controls on the origin of the software, which can also lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software.
A failure to protect our intellectual property rights, or allegations that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of others, could adversely affect our business.
Our business is dependent on proprietary technology and other intellectual property that we own or license from third parties, including trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade secrets, copyrights and patents. We cannot assure you that the steps that we have taken or will take in the future will prevent misappropriation of our intellectual property. Additionally, we may be unable to detect the misappropriation or unauthorized use of our confidential information and intellectual property. Our failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could harm our reputation and affect our ability to compete effectively. Further, we have resorted to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights in the past, and may need to do so in the future, which requires significant financial and managerial resources.
In addition, our competitors, as well as other companies and individuals, have obtained, and may obtain in the future, intellectual property rights, including patents, related to the types of products and services we offer or plan to offer. We cannot assure you that we are or will be aware of all intellectual property rights that may pose a risk of infringement by our products and services. As a result, we have in the past faced and may in the future face allegations that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of third parties which may be costly for us to defend against. If one or more of our products or services is found to infringe intellectual property rights held by others, we may be subject to lawsuits or required to stop developing or marketing the products or services, obtain licenses to develop and market the products or services from the owners of the intellectual property or redesign the products or services in such a way as to avoid infringing the third-party intellectual property. We also have in the past, and could in the future, be required to pay damages if we are found to infringe intellectual property rights held by others, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. We cannot assess the extent to which we may be required in the future to obtain licenses with respect to intellectual property rights held by others, whether such licenses would be available or, if available, whether we would be able to obtain such licenses on commercially reasonable terms. If we were unable to obtain such licenses, we may not be able to redesign our products or services at a reasonable cost to avoid infringement, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
ITEM 1 (B). UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.

ITEM 1 (C). CYBERSECURITY
For the cybersecurity information required by Item 106 of Regulation S-K, refer to the section in Item 1 "- Business -Cybersecurity."

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ITEM 2.     PROPERTIES
Our intellectual property is described under the heading in Item 1 “- Business -Technology” and "-Business-Intellectual Property." In addition to our intellectual property, our other primary assets include buildings, computer equipment, corporate aircraft, software, and internally developed software. We own an array of computers and related equipment.
Our headquarters and principal executive offices are located in Atlanta, Georgia and New York, New York. We currently occupy 370,000 square feet of office space in Atlanta in two buildings that we own that serve as our Atlanta headquarters. Our New York headquarters are located at 11 Wall Street, where we occupy 370,000 square feet of office space in a building we own. In total, we maintain approximately 3.5 million square feet in offices primarily throughout the U.S., U.K., and India, with smaller offices located throughout the world. Generally, our properties are not earmarked for use by a particular business segment. Our principal offices consist of the properties described below.
Location
Owned/Leased
Lease Expiration
Approximate Size
5660 New Northside Drive
Atlanta, Georgia
Owned
N/A
273,000 sq. ft.
5680 New Northside Drive
Atlanta, Georgia
OwnedN/A97,000 sq. ft.
11 Wall Street
New York, New York
Owned
N/A
370,000 sq. ft.
   
Basildon, U.K.
Owned
N/A
539,000 sq. ft.
601 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL
OwnedN/A
327,000 sq. ft.
Mahwah, New Jersey
Leased
2029
396,000 sq. ft.
Skyview Tower
Hyderabad, India
Leased
2024 - 2028
266,000 sq. ft.
Sancroft Paternoster Square
London, U.K.
Leased
2038
127,000 sq. ft.
55 East 52nd Street
New York, New York
Leased
2028
94,000 sq. ft.
   
Milton Gate
London, U.K.
Leased
2024
72,000 sq. ft.
Tower VI, Cybercity
Pune, India
Leased2026-202971,000 sq. ft.
4420 Rosewood Drive
Pleasanton, California
Leased
2025
69,000 sq. ft.
Fitzroy House
London, U.K.
Leased
2025
68,000 sq. ft.
100 Church Street
New York, New York
Leased
2024
65,000 sq. ft.
353 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois
Leased
2033
57,000 sq. ft.
32 Crosby Drive
Bedford, Massachusetts
Leased
2026
52,000 sq. ft.
350 E Cermak Rd
Chicago, Illinois
Leased
2027
51,000 sq. ft.
In addition to the above, we currently lease an aggregate of nearly 464,000 square feet of administrative, sales and disaster preparedness facilities in various cities around the word. Subsequent to year end, we entered into a lease in New York City with approximately 143,000 square feet of space. We believe that our facilities are adequate for our current operations and that we will be able to obtain additional space as and when it is needed.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are subject to legal proceedings, claims and investigations that arise in the ordinary course of our business. We establish accruals for those matters in circumstances when a loss contingency is considered probable and the related amount is reasonably estimable. Any such accruals may be adjusted as circumstances change. Assessments of losses are inherently subjective and involve unpredictable factors. We do not believe that the resolution of these legal matters, including the matters described in this Annual Report, will have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial
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condition, results of operations, or liquidity. It is possible, however, that future results of operations for any particular quarterly or annual period could be materially and adversely affected by any developments relating to the legal proceedings, claims and investigations. See Note 16 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report for a summary of our legal proceedings and claims.
ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.
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PART II
ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Approximate Number of Holders of Common Stock
As of February 6, 2024, there were approximately 629 holders of record of our common stock. Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ICE.”
Dividends
Our Board of Directors has adopted a quarterly dividend declaration policy providing that the declaration of any dividends will be determined quarterly by the Board or Audit Committee of the Board of Directors taking into account such factors as our evolving business model, prevailing business conditions and our financial results and capital requirements, without a predetermined annual net income payout ratio. The declaration of dividends is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors, and may be affected by various factors, including our future earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, share repurchase activity, current and future planned strategic growth initiatives, levels of indebtedness, credit ratings and other considerations our Board of Directors deems relevant.

Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following provides information about our common stock that has been or may be issued under our equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2023:

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2022 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2022 Omnibus Non-Employee Director Incentive Plan
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2018 Employee Stock Purchase Plan
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2017 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan
Black Knight, Inc. Amended and Restated 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2013 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2003 Restricted Stock Deferral Plan for Outside Directors
The 2013 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan was retired in May 2017 upon adoption of the 2017 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan. The 2017 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan was retired in May 2022 upon adoption of the 2022 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan. The Black Knight, Inc. Amended and Restated 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan was retired in September 2023 following completion of the Black Knight merger. No future grants will be made from the retired plans. All future grants to employees will be made under the Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2022 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan and to directors under the Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. 2022 Omnibus Non-Employee Director Incentive Plan. All purchases made pursuant to the Employee Stock Purchase Plan are made from the 2018 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.
 
Plan CategoryNumber of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options and rights (in thousands)
(a)
Weighted average exercise price of outstanding options
(b)
Number of securities
available for future
issuance under equity
compensation plans
(excluding securities
reflected in column (a)) (in thousands)
(c)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders(1)
8,603 (1)$83.20 (1)37,803 
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders(2)
(2)— (2)— 
TOTAL
8,607 $83.20 37,803 
(1)    The 2013 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan was approved by our stockholders in May 2013. The Black Knight, Inc. Amended and Restated 2015 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan was approved by stockholders of Black Knight in June 2017. The 2017 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan was approved by our stockholders in May 2017. The 2022 Omnibus Employee Incentive Plan and the 2022 Omnibus Non-Employee Director Incentive Plan were approved by our stockholders in May 2022. Of the 8.6 million securities to be issued upon exercise, 2.5 million are options with a
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weighted average exercise price of $83.20 and the remaining 6.1 million securities are restricted stock shares that do not have an exercise price. The 2018 Employee Stock Purchase Plan was approved by stockholders in May 2018.
(2)    This category includes the 2003 Restricted Stock Deferral Plan for Outside Directors. All of the 4,000 securities to be issued are restricted stock shares that do not have an exercise price. For more information concerning these plans, see Note 11 to our consolidated financial statements, which are included in this Annual Report.

Stock Repurchases
In December 2021, our Board approved an aggregate of $3.15 billion for future repurchases of our common stock with no fixed expiration date that became effective January 1, 2022. With respect to purchases made by or on behalf of ICE or any "affiliated purchaser" (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act), in December 2021 we entered into a new Rule 10b5-1 trading plan that became effective in February 2022 and that governed some of our repurchases of shares of our common stock. In connection with our acquisition of Black Knight, on May 4, 2022 we terminated our Rule 10b5-1 trading plan and suspended share repurchases. We did not have any stock repurchases during 2023.
Refer to Note 12 to our consolidated financial statements, included in this Annual Report, for additional details on our stock repurchase plans and our repurchase activity during 2023.
ITEM 6.     [RESERVED]
ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons. See the factors set forth under the heading Forward Looking Statements” at the beginning of Part 1 of this Annual Report and in Item 1(A) under the heading “Risk Factors.” For discussion related to the results of operations and changes in financial condition for 2022 compared to 2021 refer to Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 2, 2023.
Overview
We are a leading global provider of technology and data to a broad range of customers including financial institutions, corporations and government entities. These products, which span major asset classes including futures, equities, fixed income and U.S. residential mortgages, provide our customers with access to mission critical tools that are designed to increase asset class transparency and workflow efficiency. The majority of our identifiable assets are located in the U.S. and U.K. We report our results in the following three segments:
Exchanges: We operate regulated marketplace technology for the listing, trading and clearing of a broad array of derivatives contracts and financial securities as well as data and connectivity services related to those venues.
Fixed Income and Data Services: We provide fixed income pricing, reference data, indices, analytics and execution services as well as global CDS clearing and multi-asset class data delivery technology.
Mortgage Technology: We provide a technology platform that offers customers comprehensive, digital workflow tools that aim to address inefficiencies and mitigate risks that exist in the U.S. residential mortgage market life cycle from application through closing, servicing and the secondary market.
Recent Developments
Acquisition of Black Knight, Inc.
On September 5, 2023, we acquired Black Knight, Inc., or Black Knight, a software, data and analytics company that serves the housing finance continuum, including real estate data, mortgage lending and servicing, as well as the secondary markets. Pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of May 4, 2022, among ICE, Sand Merger Sub Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE, or Sub, and Black Knight, which we refer to as the “merger
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agreement,” Sub merged with and into Black Knight, which we refer to as the “merger,” with Black Knight surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE.
The aggregate transaction consideration was approximately $11.8 billion, or $76 per share of Black Knight common stock, with cash comprising 90% of the value of the aggregate transaction consideration and shares of our common stock comprising 10% of the value of the aggregate transaction consideration. The aggregate cash component of the transaction consideration was $10.5 billion, and the number of our shares issued was based on the market price of our common stock and the average of the volume weighted averages of the trading prices of our common stock on each of the ten consecutive trading days ending three trading days prior to the closing of the merger. We expect that this transaction will build on our position as a provider of end-to-end electronic workflow solutions for the rapidly evolving U.S. residential mortgage industry. We believe the Black Knight ecosystem adds value for clients of all sizes across the mortgage and real estate lifecycles by helping organizations lower costs, increase efficiencies, grow their businesses, and reduce risk.
On September 14, 2023, or the Divestiture Date, in connection with the merger agreement, we sold Black Knight’s Optimal Blue and Empower loan origination system, or LOS, businesses, or the Divestitures, to subsidiaries of Constellation Software, Inc. The cash proceeds from the Divestitures were $241 million. The structure of the Optimal Blue transaction also included a Promissory Note with a face value of $500 million issued by the purchaser to Black Knight, as a subsidiary of ICE, at the closing of the transaction. As described in Note 3 to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report, the Promissory Note was valued at $235 million on the Divestiture Date. Pursuant to the Agreement Containing Consent Orders entered into between the FTC and ICE and Black Knight, the Promissory Note was required to be sold within six months of the Divestiture Date. On February 7, 2024, the FTC approved the buyer of the Promissory Note and the proceeds of the Promissory Note sale will be paid to Black Knight in the near future. As we elected the fair value option for the Promissory Note, we are required to mark the asset to fair value each reporting period. For subsequent measurement as of December 31, 2023, we wrote down the value of the Promissory Note, resulting in a fair value loss of $160 million.
Global Market Conditions
Our results of operations are affected by global economic conditions, including macroeconomic conditions and geopolitical events or conflicts. Since 2022, macroeconomic conditions, including rising interest rates, inflation and significant market volatility, along with geopolitical concerns, including the conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, have created ongoing uncertainty and volatility in the global economy and resulted in a dynamic operating environment.
Our business has been impacted positively and negatively by these global economic conditions. For instance, due to market volatility and rising interest rates, we have seen increased trading across a number of our products, such as interest rate and equity futures, credit default swaps and bonds. Conversely, increases in mortgage interest rates in 2022 and 2023 have resulted in reduced consumer and investor demand for mortgages and adversely impacted the transaction-based revenues in our Mortgage Technology segment. If mortgage rates remain high or further increase, or if banks change their mortgage lending practices, our Mortgage Technology segment revenues may be further impacted.
From an operational perspective, our businesses, including our exchanges, clearing houses, listings venues, data services businesses and mortgage platforms, have not suffered a material negative impact as a result of these events in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and surrounding regions.
We expect the macroeconomic environment to remain dynamic in the near-term, and we continue to monitor macroeconomic conditions, including interest rates, the inflationary environment, geopolitical events and military conflicts, including repercussions from the conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza and the impact that any of the foregoing may have on the global economy and on our business. Throughout 2023, we have closely monitored the credit worthiness of our counterparties and investment agents during the recent banking sector events, scrutinized counterparties directly impacted and monitored for any potential contagion. We did not suffer any material negative impact from the banking sector events that occurred in early 2023. In light of the current and expected macroeconomic environment we will continue to closely monitor credit worthiness of our counterparties, clearing members and our financial service providers and take risk management measures in line with established risk management frameworks.
Tax Policy Changes
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, Global Anti-Base Erosion Pillar Two minimum tax rules, or Pillar Two, which generally provide for a minimum effective tax rate of 15%, are intended to apply to tax years beginning in 2024. In 2023, the OECD issued administrative guidance providing transitional safe harbor rules concerning the implementation of the Pillar Two framework, which will apply to fiscal years ending on or before December 31, 2026. The EU member states and many other countries, including the U.K., have committed to implement or have already
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enacted legislation adopting the Pillar Two rules. We are monitoring developments and evaluating the impacts of these new rules on our tax rate, including our ability to qualify for the safe harbor rules as implemented by each jurisdiction, however, we do not expect a material impact to our effective tax rate given our current tax profile.
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Consolidated Financial Highlights
The following summarizes our results and significant changes in our consolidated financial performance for the periods presented (dollars in millions, except per share amounts):

218219220221222223

(1) Operating income/(loss) from our Mortgage Technology segment was ($276 million) and $57 million in 2023 and 2022, respectively.
(2) The adjusted figures exclude items that are not reflective of our ongoing core operations and business performance. Adjusted net income attributable to ICE is presented net of taxes. These adjusted numbers are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. See “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.
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Year Ended December 31,Year Ended December 31,
20232022Change20222021Change
Revenues, less transaction-based expenses
$7,988 $7,292 10 %$7,292 $7,146 %
   Recurring revenues(1)
$4,138 $3,721 11 %$3,721 $3,509 %
   Transaction revenues, net(1)
$3,850 $3,571 %$3,571 $3,637 (2)%
Operating expenses $4,294 $3,654 18 %$3,654 $3,697 (1)%
Adjusted operating expenses(2)
$3,260 $2,953 10 %$2,953 $2,977 (1)%
Operating income
$3,694 $3,638 %$3,638 $3,449 %
Adjusted operating income(2)
$4,728 $4,339 %$4,339 $4,169 %
Operating margin
46  %50  %(4 pts)50  %48  %2 pts
Adjusted operating margin(2)
59  %59  %
— pts
59  %58  %1 pt
Other income/(expense), net $(800)$(1,830)(56)%$(1,830)$2,249 n/a
Income tax expense$456 $310 47 %$310 $1,629 (81)%
Effective tax rate
16 %17 %(1 pt)17 %29 %(12 pts)
Net income attributable to ICE
$2,368 $1,446 64 %$1,446 $4,058 (64)%
Adjusted net income attributable to ICE(2)
$3,177 $2,974 %$2,974 $2,863 %
Diluted earnings per share attributable to ICE common stockholders$4.19 $2.58 62 %$2.58 $7.18 (64)%
Adjusted diluted earnings per share attributable to ICE common stockholders(2)
$5.62 $5.30 %$5.30 $5.06 %
Cash flows from operating activities
$3,542 $3,554 — %$3,554 $3,123 14 %
Free cash flow(3)
$3,053 $3,072 (1)%$3,072 $2,671 15 %
Adjusted free cash flow(3)
$3,197 $2,906 10 %$2,906 $2,821 %
*Percentage changes in the table above deemed "n/a" are not meaningful.
(1) We define recurring revenues as the portion of our revenues that are generally predictable, stable, and can be expected to occur at regular intervals in the future with a relatively high degree of certainty and visibility. We define transaction revenues as those associated with a more specific point-in-time service, such as a trade execution.
(2) The adjusted figures exclude items that are not reflective of our ongoing core operations and business performance. Adjusted net income attributable to ICE and adjusted diluted earnings per share attributable to ICE common stockholders are presented net of taxes. These adjusted figures are not calculated in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP. See “- Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.
(3) We believe these non-GAAP liquidity measures provide useful information to management and investors to analyze cash resources generated from our operations. We believe that free cash flow is useful as one of the bases for comparing our performance with our competitors and demonstrates our ability to convert the reinvestment of capital expenditures and capitalized software development costs required to maintain and grow our business. We believe that adjusted free cash flow eliminates the impact of timing differences related to the payment of Section 31 fees. These figures are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. See “—Non-GAAP Liquidity Measures” below.
Revenues, less transaction-based expenses, increased $696 million in 2023 from 2022. The increase in revenues includes $17 million in favorable foreign exchange effects arising from fluctuations in the U.S. dollar in 2023 as compared to 2022.
Revenues, less transaction-based expenses, increased $146 million in 2022 from 2021. The increase in revenues includes $115 million in unfavorable foreign exchange effects arising from fluctuations in the U.S. dollar in 2022 as compared to 2021.
Operating expenses increased $640 million in 2023 from 2022. The increase in operating expenses includes $4 million in unfavorable foreign exchange effects arising from fluctuations in the U.S. dollar in 2023 as compared to 2022.
Operating expenses decreased $43 million in 2022 from 2021. The decrease in operating expenses includes $38 million in favorable foreign exchange effects arising from fluctuations in the U.S. dollar in 2022 as compared to 2021.
Other income/(expense), net, in 2023 primarily includes interest income of $319 million, interest expense of $808 million, our equity earnings in OCC of $16 million, estimated equity losses in our investment in Bakkt of $135 million, a fair value loss of $160 million related to the Black Knight Promissory Note, an impairment related to our CAT loan receivable of $16 million, FX remeasurement losses of $12 million, and a loss on the sale of the Dun &
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Bradstreet investment of $3 million, net of dividends received, that we acquired through the acquisition of Black Knight.
Other income/(expense), net, in 2022 primarily includes interest income of $108 million, interest expense of $616 million, our share of estimated equity method investment losses and an impairment charge on our investment in Bakkt to its fair value of $1.4 billion, a net gain on the sale of our Euroclear plc, or Euroclear, stake of $41 million, our equity earnings in OCC of $15 million, and FX remeasurement losses of $9 million.
The 16% effective tax rate in 2023 was below the U.S. corporate income tax rate primarily driven by the following factors: favorable audit settlements for historical years, favorable state apportionment changes, and the application of the high-tax exception to Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income. These benefits were partially offset by the impact of the U.K. corporate income tax increase from 19% to 25% effective April 1, 2023, and the tax impact of certain non-deductible Black Knight acquisition costs.
The 17% effective tax rate in 2022 was below the U.S. corporate income tax rate primarily driven by the deferred income tax benefit from the impairment of our equity method investment in Bakkt.
The 29% effective tax rate in 2021 is significantly above the U.S corporate income tax rate primarily due to the deferred income tax expense resulting from the U.K. tax law changes enacted in 2021. In 2021, the U.K. enacted a corporate income tax rate increase from 19% to 25% effective April 1, 2023.
Business Environment and Market Trends
Our business environment has been characterized by:
globalization of marketplaces, customers and competitors;
growing customer demand for workflow efficiency and automation;
commodity, interest rate, inflation rate and financial markets volatility and uncertainty;
growing demand for data to inform customers' risk management and investment decisions;
evolving, increasing and disparate regulation across multiple jurisdictions;
price volatility increasing customers' demand for risk management services;
increasing focus on capital and cost efficiencies;
customers' preference to manage risk in markets demonstrating the greatest depth of liquidity and product diversity;
the evolution of existing products and new product innovation to serve emerging customer needs and changing industry agreements;
rising demand for speed, data, data capacity and connectivity by market participants, necessitating increased investment in technology; and
consolidation and increasing competition among global markets for trading, clearing and listings.
Recent changes with regard to global financial reform have emphasized the importance of transparent markets, centralized clearing and access to data, all of which are important aspects of our product offering. However, some of the proposed rules have yet to be implemented and some rules that have already been partially implemented are being reconsidered. In addition, some of the global regulations have not been fully harmonized and several non-U.S. regulations are inconsistent with U.S. rules. As the evolution continues, legislative and regulatory actions may change the way we conduct our business and may create uncertainty for market participants, which could affect trading volumes or demand for market data. As a result, it is difficult to predict all of the effects that the legislation and its implementing regulations will have on us. As discussed more fully in Item 1 “- Business - Regulation” included in this Annual Report, Brexit, MiFID II and other regulations have resulted in operational, regulatory and/or business risk.
We have diversified our business so that we are not dependent on volatility or transaction activity in any one asset class. In addition, we have increased our portion of recurring revenues from 34% in 2014 to 52% in 2023. These recurring revenues include data services, listings and various mortgage technology solutions.
Many of the data products we sell and services we provide are required for our clients’ business operations regardless of market volatility or shifts in business profitability levels. We anticipate that there will continue to be growth in the financial information services sector driven by a number of global trends, including the following:
increasing global regulatory demands;
greater use of fair value accounting standards and reliance on independent valuations;
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greater emphasis on risk management;
market fragmentation driven by regulatory changes;
the move to passive investing and indexation;
ongoing growth in the size and diversity of financial markets;
increased automation of fixed income, mortgage and other less automated markets;
the development of new data products;
the demand for greater data capacity and connectivity;
new entrants; and
increasing demand for outsourced services by financial institutions.
We continue to focus on our strategy to grow each of our revenue streams, and prudently manage expenses, in order to mitigate these uncertainties and to build on our growth opportunities by leveraging our proprietary data, clearing, markets and technology solutions.
Segment Results
Our business is conducted through three reportable business segments: Exchanges, Fixed Income and Data Services and Mortgage Technology. Segments are discussed more in detail in "Item 1- Business". While revenues are recorded specifically in the segment in which they are earned or to which they relate, a significant portion of our operating expenses are not solely related to a specific segment because the expenses serve functions that are necessary for the operation of more than one segment. We directly allocate expenses when reasonably possible to do so. Otherwise, we use a pro-rata revenue approach as the allocation method for the expenses that do not relate solely to one segment and serve functions that are necessary for the operation of all segments. Our segments do not engage in intersegment transactions.
For details on trends in recent prior-year periods, refer to our 2022 and 2021 Annual Reports on Form 10-K.

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Exchanges Segment
The following presents selected statements of income data for our Exchanges segment (dollars in millions):
129
131132133134
(1) The adjusted figures in the charts above are calculated by excluding items that are not reflective of our cash operations and core business performance. As a result, these adjusted figures are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. See “- Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.
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Year Ended December 31,Year Ended December 31,
20232022Change20222021Change
Revenues:
Energy futures and options$1,498 $1,162 29 %$1,162 $1,236 (6)%
Agricultural and metals futures and options271 235 15 235 228 
Financial futures and options460 475 (3)475 394 21 
Futures and options2,229 1,872 19 1,872 1,858 
Cash equities and equity options2,298 2,722 (16)2,722 2,377 15 
OTC and other 398 429 (7)429 326 31 
Transaction and clearing, net 4,925 5,023 (2)5,023 4,561 10 
Data and connectivity services933 877 877 838 
Listings497 515 (4)515 479 
Revenues6,355 6,415 (1)6,415 5,878 
Transaction-based expenses(1)
1,915 2,344 (18)2,344 2,022 16 
Revenues, less transaction-based expenses4,440 4,071 4,071 3,856