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CME Group Inc  (NASDAQ:CME)
Q1 2019 Earnings Call
May. 01, 2019, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day everyone and welcome to the CME Group First Quarter 2019 Earnings Call.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to John Peschier. Please go ahead, sir.

John Peschier -- Managing Director of Investor Relations

Great, thank you. Good morning, and thank you for joining us. I'm going to start with the Safe Harbor language, then I'll turn it over to Terry for brief remarks followed by questions. Other members of our management team will also participate.

Statements made on this call and in the other reference documents on our website that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or implied in any statements. For detailed information about factors that may affect our performance can be found in our filings with the SEC, which are on our website. Also on the last page of the earnings release, you'll find a reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures.

With that, I would like to turn the call over to Terry.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, John and thank you all for joining us today. We appreciate your interest in CME Group. My comments today, as John said are going to be very brief so we can get right into your questions. We've released our executive commentary this morning, which provided extensive details on the first quarter. During our last call, I mentioned that we had strong tailwinds to finish the year. We had made the most of it also, market conditions changed significantly from the prior quarter and volatility did drop across virtually every asset class. Despite the change in the trading environment, we were able to post our third highest futures and options quarter in our history while we kept our expenses relatively flat.

More importantly, we continue to execute on our long-term strategy to attract new clients and to launch new innovative products. We had significant customer engagement, we ran strategic targeted campaigns, educating market participants and new non-core products and product extensions as well as cross-selling through all our product lines and into new cash markets and optimization services. During the first quarter, all six product areas had an increase in their business from outside the US. We continue to launch innovative new products, tools and services to support customer needs and to create capital and operational efficiencies for market participants.

In Q1, we had multiple volume and open interest records, including SOFR futures, FX Link, bitcoin futures, treasury futures, invoice spreads, copper options and our new West Texas Intermediate Houston product. Within the NEX market business the combined EBS and BrokerTec monthly revenues in Q1 came in fairly close to the Q4 results. This is despite as I said earlier, much lower volatility. On the core futures and options side, our open interest rose from 118 million contracts in mid-March to more than 134 million contracts last week. And today it sits just north of 132 million contracts, which is not too far from our peak in 2018. We remain very excited about the opportunities in front of us.

With that short summary. we'd like to open the call for your questions and based on number of analysts covering us, we'd ask you to limit yourself to one question and then get back in the queue. Thank you and we'll take your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question is from Rich Repetto from Sandler O'Neill.

Rich Repetto -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Yeah, good morning, Terry, good morning John and team.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Rich Repetto -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

I guess the first question has to do with the contribution from NEX. When we're looking at the rate per contracts, the revenue per million for EBS and BrokerTec we're backing into what appears to be declines quarter over quarter in the mid-double digits around 15%. I just want to see whether that's accurate, and just general color on the NEX integration as well. But first RPC, the revenue per million, please?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, hi, Rich, this is -- this is John. I think what you need to look at, when you look at the rate per million is, in the BrokerTec business, the two primary drivers of the revenue are treasuries and European Repo. The US Repo is a small portion of the overall business at this time. So that's one thing to take a look at. Also the sensitivity to volume at BrokerTec is less than it is say at EBS or CME Group. But when you look at as Terry mentioned in his prepared remarks, when you look at the volatility environment in Q1 versus Q4, it is substantially lower in Q1 than in Q4, but when you look at the revenue for the quarter for the markets business it held up remarkably well and it was down only 3% sequentially. Sean?

Sean Tully -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Financial and OTC Products

Yes, and then in particularly, you need to get the product mix, right. So you saw growth in the first quarter in European Repo in particular and the Repo RPCs are much, much lower as John mentioned than the outright treasuries for example.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

In terms of the integration question, Rich, we're very pleased with how the integration is progressing. We're on plan to achieve this year's synergy targets. We have a staffing event related to integration mid-year along with the planned cut over for some administrative systems which will support the consolidation of the internal functions. And we're also on track to combine office space in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and London by the end of this year which will free up some leased space. And as we mentioned on the last call, we are targeting customer migration to Globex with BrokerTec in 2020 and EBS in 2021.

Rich Repetto -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

And anything on the -- the question was on the EBS capture as well.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

In terms of the EBS capture, I think when you take a look at you know -- when you take a look at the activity, again it's a mix issue between the G10 activity and the rest of the business. So the more activity that occurs in spot G10 that tends to have a lower rate than CNH and the NDS.

Rich Repetto -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you very much, John.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Right. Thanks.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks Rich.

Operator

Moving on, our next question is from Dan Fannon from Jefferies.

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company -- Analyst

Thanks, good morning. I guess a follow-up on just kind of the overall expense profile. Obviously the first quarter showed some conservatism -- a slow start versus your guidance, it sounds like, you know, the synergies are more back-end loaded. So we should just expect a ramp here as the year progresses. And I guess characterizing the volume environment in April is still not being all that robust. I guess how should we think about kind of that build of expenses.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Dan. You know, I think the -- when you take a look at our expense profile for the year, we are expecting to have a staffing event in the middle of the year. So we will be -- we'll be updating our synergies target at that time and also like I've mentioned previously, we'll have some cut over some systems and we're going to be consolidating some office space. So we'll have a better clarity in terms of the synergy capture for this year. As the management team looks at synergies, we're looking to accelerate the synergy capture as much as we possibly can.

In terms of the expense guidance, yes, we -- when you take a look we did have, you know, the first quarter was lower relative to the rest of the year, but we will be having some ramp up in work done on systems for these -- for the rest of the year. So it's really more timing around projects and as they -- as they get launched. But we'll be able to provide some more color with the second quarter call.

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

All right. Thanks, Dan.

Operator

Our next question is from Ben Herbert from Citi.

Ben Herbert -- Citi -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Thanks for taking the question. Could you maybe just give us an update, sticking with NEX here, just an update on the cross-sell efforts through particularly their non-US channels.

Bryan T. Durkin -- President

Yeah, hi, this is Bryan speaking. The thing that we're really excited about is the ability to cross-sell the multitude of product offerings that we have bringing together the strong markets capability along with the optimization services that we provide. I think what I'm most proud of right now is through this integration process, we are working together, we are not skipping a beat in terms of the seamless performance of these new platforms that we've acquired and as we're going through the integration process, the client base is very enthusiastic about what we have on the horizon in terms of the new capabilities and functionalities that will be associated with the cut over and migration on to Globex from the market's perspective.

But I think even more important is we're able to solve issues and challenges today by bringing together the combined forces of what we've had under the historical CME Group adding on the NEX components. As we look at improving capital efficiencies and addressing margin efficiencies, post-trade challenges that firms have been encumbered with, using and leveraging the capabilities that we have across CME Group is having a very positive impact with our client base.

Ben Herbert -- Citi -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

And moving on, we'll hear from Brian Bedell from Deutsche Bank.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much. Good morning.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Brian.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. Just to go back to the expense guidance, I guess right now it implies about a 3% to 4% quarterly increase in run rate from the very good 1Q level, maybe if you could just touch on which areas you expect that to move up. And John you mentioned the staffing event mid-year, if you can just talk about, in addition to that, what type of flexibility you might have if the volatility environment stays really light. And then also just one clarification on the new fee program on non-cash collateral from 1 bp to 5 bps with the revenue impact on the quarterly run rate for...

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

You have a lot in there, Brian. So...

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

I am hoping for it.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

So, let's talk about expenses first and then we'll breakdown your other point. So, in terms of where we see the expenses coming in a little bit -- little bit heavier in the quarter is really, it's around when projects get implemented. So we've been staffing some contract workers, so you see professional fees will tick up. Our professional fees, if you look historically tend to be lighter in the first quarter and then they tickup as projects get under way during the year.

So I'd expect professional fees to go up a bit. On the compensation line, you'll see that tick up a little bit, but then like I mentioned we'll be having a staffing event, which will occur mid year so then that would come back down. And then also depreciation will be rolling in as systems get put into production then it rolls out of work in process and gets amortized into depreciation, so that's another line. And then obviously in our CME -- legacy CME expenses tend to be heavier in the fourth quarter as we got a lot of customer-facing events that occur in the fourth quarter, so you'll see a tick up in the fourth quarter. So that kind of gives you an idea of some of the breakdown.

Then, when you look at the levers for us, should there be a prolonged downturn in volumes. First off, I think if you take a look at CME Group over the last several years, I think it's safe to say that the entire organization has done an excellent job in managing the expenses. And that mindset is continuing, obviously if there's a prolonged downturn in volumes, it will double down our efforts in terms of managing our expenses. We do have some discretionary costs that we can put a sharper lens to, things like travel and entertainment marketing, spends that may not drive near term results but we obviously are not going to do anything that impacts the future growth trajectory of the business.

As I mentioned before, as normal course of the integration, the entire management team is looking at ways we can accelerate the synergy capture where we can. So that's another thing that we are focused on. But to put it in perspective, we did have our third best volume quarter in our history, so I think it's a bit premature to talk about potential reductions and cost at this point. Although we do have a strong view on cost containment and cost control.

Then you mentioned the change in the collateral fees. Yes, the change in collateral fees will go into effect July 1st, we're increasing the non-cash collateral fees from 1 basis point to 5 basis points. We have approximately $100 billion in non-cash collateral, excess non-cash collateral and guarantee fund contributions are not impacted by the fee increase. And that's approximately $20 billion. Now non-cash collateral will fluctuate based upon trading activity and also based upon the mix of non-cash collateral to cash collateral. But that kind of gives you some ideas around what we're looking at there.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

That's about, it looks like $40 million annualized, if it's 4 basis points, it increase on a $100 billion?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, you got to take out, like I mentioned before, you got to take out the guarantee fund contributions and the excess collateral. And as I said, that's $20 billion.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

I see. Got it. Got it. All right, great. Thank you so much. That is super helpful.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

All right. Thanks. Thanks Brian.

Operator

And we'll go next to Alex Kramm from UBS.

Alex Kramm -- UBS Investment Research -- Analyst

Yeah, hey good morning everyone. Just wanted to come back to the NEX opportunity set that you addressed earlier. I mean obviously we've talked about this in pretty big generalities for about a year now and -- but now that you've owned this asset for six months or so and clearly, you're doing projects and talking -- the groups are talking to each other. Maybe you can just help us by giving us maybe the single largest individual opportunity that you see and what the timeline is so we can get a little bit more concrete here? Thank you.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Alex, thanks. Terry, I am going to let Bryan and Sean both to comment on that because we think there's multiple opportunities that we're yet to talk about, but they can give you a little bit of a color what they're looking at today.

Bryan T. Durkin -- President

I'm going to take the optimization side and Sean can speak to the markets, if that's all right. On the optimization side of the equation, as you all well know our marketplace and particularly our banking institutions have been challenged consistently with maintaining cost and capital efficiencies. Through the acquisition and the combination of our optimization services along with our excellent clearing services and post-trade capabilities, we're already as we speak, as I alluded to earlier, operating as an integrated team of people working with our clients to find solutions for greater capital efficiencies, we're offering them streamline connectivity and processing capabilities through the complement of the optimization services of triReduce, triBalance, triResolve, Traiana and bringing those things together as a combined force and not necessarily operating them as independent businesses or silos.

Just having the combined efforts along with Sunil's team to be able to work with and identify solutions for our firm's real time has been -- has been a strong positive force. And is being very well received by our clients. So when you think about having the potential for centralized risk management capabilities across the cash -- across the listed futures that we offer in OTC products, our clients today are very excited and enthusiastic about the services that we're going to be able to provide by these combined forces.

Sean Tully -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Financial and OTC Products

Yeah, totally agree with Bryan. I might actually underline a couple of things in the optimization area. First and foremost, you have the uncleared margin rules, right, which have hit the largest banks, but have not hit all the participants yet. From September this year, we expect to see on the order of 50 new participants, they'll be hit by the -- globally they'll be hit by the uncleared margin rules. And then in September of the year after, it could be close to 1,000 different participants that are potentially impacted.

CME Group with its optimization businesses and its existing clearing services can address every single aspect of clients needs around those problems. You've got triResolve, which can look at the margin of the uncleared margin. So in other words they're sending out of the messages, the reconciliations of margin et cetera, you can calculate with triCalculate the SIM (ph) or those uncleared margin requirements. You can try to avoid having to post uncleared margins by reducing the outright margin debt that you have needed between the parties by using the triBalance service.

You can also use triReduce in order to reduce your notional outstanding, in order to try and reduce the need to actually post margin. On the other hand, just like it was with Dodd-Frank, you can then move people from uncleared space to cleared space and you can move in particular their FX options as well as their NDS from uncleared space to cleared space or you can move them directly into our futures complex. So we have the totality of solutions for the marketplace as you approach the increasing demand for solutions to the uncleared margin rules.

In particular relative to services that we have launched previously and you've heard a lot about, in terms of our portfolio margining between futures and swaps, in the fourth quarter, the savings that we were or the efficiencies that we were offering the marketplace was about $2.6 billion. Currently we're saving the market about $4.3 billion, so clearly that $4.3 billion were the efficiencies relative to portfolio margining. This has led to growth and things like invoice spreads. So the invoice spread, for example, the ability to trade CME Treasury future as the spread to a swap and to clear them both at T&E creating huge margin and capital efficiencies. That's grown from 89,000 contracts a day last year to that's actually 134,000 contracts a day in the first quarter and 118,000 contracts a day so far this year. At $1.92 RPC, a very nice add to our futures business. If we move over to the market side, we're very excited. It's very early days in terms of our ability to do a couple of things, first of all, cross-selling. You know the futures clients into the OTC products that we have as well as the -- our OTC clients or the EBS clients, for example, into our futures products. We see those two marketplaces as highly complementary.

If you think about total cost analysis and you think about what investors and the buy side, sell side accounts are all interested in, they're interested in the lowest possible total cost. And if you can -- to the extent that you can, and we are going to be focused on it, you give access to both liquidity pools right or even in some sense, combine the liquidity pool experience and the FX market for example. Think about what we can do, your total cost, the largest cost is your bid offer spread. So to the extent that we combine the liquidity pool or call it the $80 billion, $90 billion a day on EBS.

With $80 billion, $90 billion a day in our FX futures, you recall last year we launched FX Link which links those two marketplaces with the basis trait. When you start to combine those liquidity pools, what do you do? You tighten that bid offer spread, you tighten that bid offer spread because those two markets are quoted differently, number one. And number two, you deepen the book. So by tightening the bid offer spread and deepening the book and cross-selling into a larger marketplace, it is a much more compelling, better value proposition than we've ever had before in the foreign exchange market and we're going to be able to access a much larger client base, it's early days, but that's the vision.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Alex hopefully, that gave you a little color on the optimization of markets businesses and why we're so excited by it because of the opportunities that we see. And again, I think what both Bryan and Sean outlined is operational and cost efficiencies which is exactly what you need to grow any marketplace and that's exactly what we're doing by those acquisitions. So hopefully, that gives you a little more color for what we're trying to achieve.

Alex Kramm -- UBS Investment Research -- Analyst

Yes, thank you. Was a little bit more than the one single largest opportunity, but I do appreciate the color. Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, Sean is very thorough, so is Bryan. Well, thank you.

Operator

Michael Carrier from Bank of America has our next question.

Michael Carrier -- BofA Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Good morning and thanks for taking the question. Just on the current environment, the current backdrop, when I look at the open interest, overall, you show some of the data and some of the growth in the product areas. It seems like a lot of that has been driven by the rates complex. When we look at say like equity, new energy, some of the other areas you're seeing a bit of some softness. Just wanted to get some color. Obviously, you've got tough comps in '18, so we put that in perspective, but just in terms of the environment, what you're seeing in some of the product areas, just given the divergence in open interest trends.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Mike, it's a good question. And instead of spending more time on the growth of the rates business, well, I'll let Derek talk about -- Derek Sammann talk about the energy markets and the agricultural open interest and we're right there today. Derek?

Derek Sammann -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities and Options Products

Yeah. Thanks Michael. It's Derek, appreciate the opportunity to talk about the -- some of the other businesses. You're right, it's been a challenging first quarter recognizing coming off an all-time series of records in Q1 of last year. In energy, specifically, you're certainly looking at a softer market, you're seeing that market generally drift higher even in light of the news of the Iran sanctions coming, the waivers coming off, you saw only couple of dollar increase in the price and the market quickly digested that and moved on, we are seeing softness in volatility.

We're seeing a slight reduction in open interest both on our WTI contract as well as what we're seeing in brent on the other side, were both down to right about 2.2 million contracts open, that's down by about 2.5 for each of us in May of last year. So not surprising to see low volatility environment. I think we're seeing the resumption of the shortfall carry trade, folks are realizing that selling volatility in this environment has actually been positive for the returns. So we're seeing that being a little challenging for a breakout in volatility right now.

But when you look at the overall macro environment being challenging we still posted our third best quarter ever and on top of that, we're actually seeing we're outperforming other folks in this space right now. On the energy side, specifically WTI, we increased our market share for about 58% to about 59% of the combined crude market. If you shift over and you look at the balance of the crude and refined space, our gasoline business, RBOB, is actually up 10% Q1 this year. People get lost in looking at the numbers and kind of look at the crude piece, the overall strength and the overall portfolio is driven by the supporting pieces of the balance of hereon (ph) RBOB as well. So really good story on gasoline with volumes up 10% this year.

The other side of the shop on natural gas, another story, just continued low price environment. This was -- we had a spectacularly volatile gas season last year, this year was relatively quiet, we're seeing prices stabilize back lower again. That's another market and challenging macro trends were actually seen us outperform in that market. That's a market where we're still -- we are actually up to 82% market share of the Henry Hub Futures market. So we're pleased that in a challenging market, we're continuing to grow customer base and outperform and managed to retain those businesses.

Where we are seeing strengths and this has been a continued theme, the overall narrative a structural change in a globalizing crude oil market and now increasingly globalizing natural gas market, that narrative is still strongly in place. You see that in our energy volumes are actually up 3% in Asia in the first quarter. You've heard us talk about the increased demand and the expansion of exports, the US about 43.5 million barrels a day of crude oil and you're seeing that reflect both in the Asian demand for our products and the growth of the innovative new products that we put out there, for example, the Houston Physical Crude contract Terry referenced at the top of the call. That's a market that we launched back in November, and we've got about a 72% market share of volumes and about a 65% market share open interest, hitting regular volume and open interest records along the way.

So in a challenging environment, we're focused on the end-user customer focused on the global participation, that's where we're seeing the opportunity, that's where we're putting our resources and we're pleased with the results on the energy side. On ags.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah on the ag side, again, that actually while we're seeing all the markets down, hit every asset class in Q1, ags was our best performer down the lease. That's also a market when you look at our comps or CBOT lead (ph) complex when compared to the combined volumes of Euronext and Minneapolis Grain Exchange. We also increased our market share there from 88% to 91%. Where we are seeing a lot of volatility and Terry mentioned this at the top of the call is livestock, you saw hogs, cattle reacting very strongly to what we're seeing in terms of the continued trade talks and sanction China and the swine fever around the livestock market.

So when there are events and when there is risk, we continue to be in the place that draws customers to manage their risk. And we saw a number of volume and open interest records in both cattle and hogs, futures and options over the course of the first quarter. So we'll continue to build and focus on our commercial customers there and do some innovative work around broadening our participation globally.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

That answer your questions, Mike?

Michael Carrier -- BofA Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks a lot.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Alex Blostein from Goldman Sachs.

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hey guys, good morning. Quick question around some of the licensing expense and I mean it looks like because of the investment you guys are making (inaudible) that as a percentage of kind of overall equity, transaction revenues continues to tick up -- I am not sure that's the best way to sort of think about the margin on the equity business, if you may. But maybe help us think through, how that will play out over the next couple of quarters maybe year or so out as your equity business evolves there.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Thanks. Thanks, Alex. So when you take a look at our licensing fees, we don't give out specifics in terms of our license agreements and each agreement is unique. So when you take a look at the license fees, there tends to be an annual adjustments to the fees paid to our IP providers. So that gets adjusted at the beginning of the year. Also it's important to note that while the majority of the license fee line relates to equities, it also includes fees related to other asset classes like energy and interest rates.

So about 80% to 85% of the license fee line is related to equities, the balance is related to other asset classes. So when you take a look at the relationship between the equity revenue and the license fee expense, you got to take that into the -- into account. Also when you look at the interest rate component, the interest rate product component in that line, we did see a step-up in terms of the revenue share that we have with our partner banks. And it was -- our best volume that we've had in the interest rate swaps since 2015. So that impacted that, that line as well.

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful color. Thanks.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thank you.

Operator

We'll go next to Chris Harris from Wells Fargo.

Christopher Harris -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. I wanted to follow-up on the commentary regarding the energy complex, the price differential between Brent and WTI has widened out now about $10, it's not as wide of a disparity as it was back in 2011 and 2012, but pretty wide. And I guess what I'm wondering is, does this create a potential problem for the complex. And the reason I say that is, is in the past when we've seen a wide disparity like that, it end up being a negative for WTI volumes relative to Brent. And just wondering if there is a risk of that going forward if this price disparity continues?

Derek Sammann -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities and Options Products

Yeah, Chris. It's Derek again, thanks for the question. No, I think when you look at the market structurally back in 2000 -- kind of '11 to '14 versus where we are now, there a number of different factors, both in our own business and on our own commercial focus as well as the broader market. I think what you saw back in 2000 -- kind of pre-2014 on our side, we had more of a focus on the financial players and we didn't have as strong a footprint with the commercial community, that was reflected in the kind of the open interest levels that we saw in WTI. We made a very specific focus pivot in 2014 to make sure that we are focused on the end-user commercial customers and that we were very much making sure that if we were focused on the end-user commercial customers, the open interest producers and the holders and that meant that we are in the best position to draw the financial players along the way.

The significant change and the structural piece I referenced just a moment ago, was in December, 2015, when Congress lifted the export ban. That as you've heard us say continually has put in place the narrative rate global oil market with WTI at the center of that. So when you look at the response to the participation and commercial participation in our market now, at just under 2.2 million contracts open interest versus where we were kind of pre-2014, significantly higher and a significant amount of our sales resources have been focused for the last four years now on those end user commercials and participants. We also had a much smaller proportion of our business that was taking place in Europe and Asia, driven by both our commercial focus and the structural shift that has really positioned WTI as the global benchmark.

So those are probably the two biggest drivers, the structural shift, coupled with our commercial focus and the resource that we put in to place. And Bryan, I think can talk about some of the very specific areas on our international front, that's driven the kind of outpaced performance in our energy business in Europe and Asia. Asia specifically it is up this quarter.

Bryan T. Durkin -- President

Just to reinforce Derek's point, and I think you've been hearing me speak to this over the last probably year, year and a half, in terms of the tremendous growth we're seeing in the energy complex, particularly out of the Asia Pacific region, we're very proud of that continued trend this past quarter. So Derek alluded to the crude oil being up, I think it's approximately 15% alone and that's a third highest record out of Asia Pacific. We're seeing nice growth coming out of Hong Kong, South Korea as well as China, driving the demand for their product.

He alluded to earlier also the growth that we've seen in RBOB futures, it's up about 9% and we're seeing again nice growth coming out of our commercials, commercials are up for our crude oil up about 9%, commercials are up about 22% for RBOB. So as we're driving to those end users, reaching out to them, we have the benefits of the export capabilities coming into these regions, this will be a continued area of emphasis for us and growth.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

And just let me, just pile on a little bit here for good measure. You know, Derek said something earlier, which I think is really important, when you look at the open interest of the different crude products, they basically are down identical numbers. So if in fact the volume numbers are different, you'd see a bigger skew in that particular number and you're not seeing it. And just to reemphasize, I think that when you're calculating volumes from spreads that happened several years ago and the factors that have changed from today, this being global markets, it's really hard to make them applicable to today's marketplace.

So I think, hopefully, that was a good color for, you can see that, you can't use the same measures that you used a few years ago when these spreads widened.

Christopher Harris -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

It is helpful. Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Our next question is from Chris Allen from Compass Point.

Chris Allen -- Compass Point -- Analyst

Good morning guys. Just want to ask, real quick on other revenues, if you back out the NEX related revenues, it's about a $5 million jump, I mean, kind of the $40-ish million run rate, we saw the CME for the 2018 and then the NEX revenues had a nice jump for 4Q annual -- if you annualize 4Q levels to the $51 million this quarter, almost like $5 million as well. Really there is a lot of moving parts in there. I wondering if you could give us any color on that?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Chris, this is John. I'll start, in terms of the -- if you take a look at NEX was up about $5 million, CME Group was up about $5 million in that line. There were two items that I wanted to point out, one was on the NEX side, there was about a $2 million relocation of rent revenue, used to be at NEX netted in rent -- netted with rent expense and now it's being -- that rent revenue is being booked in the other revenue line. And that's about $2 million.

And then, when you take a look at the CME side, every year we've got an adjustment to the -- our contract with BM&F, it's an inflation adjustment it gets recorded at the beginning of the year and it resets the baseline for the following year. And that was about $2 million, so that's about $4 million of the $10 million adjustment that you're seeing, increases that you're seeing on that line.

The balance of the increase really is among a whole host of different businesses that are in there. We're particularly excited about the way the optimization businesses have performed excluding the market, the transaction fee related businesses, which are in the markets line. So I'll turn over to Bryan to make a comment there.

Bryan T. Durkin -- President

I would just say on the optimization side of the equation, we had very strong performance across our triResolve, our reset in our Traiana businesses, which again goes to the commentary that both Sean and I referenced earlier, there's a strong demand for these capabilities. And we're excited about the robust diversity of product that we offer. Go back to John.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, so one thing I did want to point out, Chris. Bryan talked about it at a question earlier in the call. And that's the collateral fee line, the collateral fee change, I did want to make a point that the collateral fee change that's going to go into effect in July will be booked in other revenue not in investment income. So I just want to make that point, so you'll see this line, you get adjusted midyear.

Chris Allen -- Compass Point -- Analyst

So this is a good run rate going forward from here, and then adjust for any growth we expect in kind of the optimization business and then obviously the collateral change coming in 3Q, is that fair?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So I would say that the one thing, the adjustment I talked about from the inflation, that's an annual adjustments, so that would increase the run rate about $400,000 per quarter going forward rather than the $2 million, that was adjusted this quarter. It makes sense?

Chris Allen -- Compass Point -- Analyst

Thanks guys. Yup.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Kyle Voigt from KBW.

Kyle Voigt -- KBW -- Analyst

Hi, good morning.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Good morning Kyle.

Kyle Voigt -- KBW -- Analyst

Good morning. There's been recent -- some recent press in Bloomberg and other publications regarding the reduction in capital allocated to trend following strategies and some meaningful outflows from CTAs in 2018. Do you believe that this is having any impact on the softer volume start to 2019? And then secondly, is there any way you could help frame the approximate size of CTAs and trend-following strategies in context of CME's total volume or total revenues?

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I would just speak to the breadth of the products that we offer. As we look at the buy-side community in particular and the opportunities and challenges that they face with their strategies. It's incumbent upon us to be able to provide them with the products and solutions and the opportunities from a liquidity perspective that they need to shift their trading strategies in to other venues and having the broad swath of product that we represent. I mean, I continue to look at -- we see growth continuing across all of our regions particularly across that buy-side community within our hedge funds, as well as our asset managers. So will be a continued focus.

Derek Sammann -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities and Options Products

Let's say, on the commodity side what -- one of the important -- that most important way that we can attract business that are looking to get fund inflows into the commodity side is making sure that our businesses as we grow our volumes in open interest that has a direct impact on the weightings that they have in the various commodity indices at the Bloomberg Commodities Index, MSCI et cetera. So as those get reweighted every year, the continued growth that you hear us talk about both in absolute, but equally importantly for the indexes on the relative side as well that reweights our products at a higher percent of the total proportion of those indices.

So the trend followers and then come to CTA community, you're talking about that might not be directly in futures, but pile on the indexes, that index back to our footprint in those respective products. So the growth and focus in growing our volumes in open interest puts us in a higher weighting proportion of CME Group products in those indices, which ends up giving us those traded hedged volumes back into our future. So we can't directly control for, but as we see those flows increase, put ourselves in the best position by getting our products reweighted at a higher percent in each of those indices.

Operator

Our next question is from Ken Worthington from JPMorgan.

Ken Worthington -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. In terms of the investment income, can you indicate how the FCM and clients are changing allocations in collateral between cash and non-cash at CME. Maybe also highlight which is more profitable for CME cash or non-cash. It seems like cash I think is much more profitable. And then can you talk about where the spread earned on customer collaterals stood this quarter versus last? Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Ken, this is John. I'll walk you through kind of what we've seen over the last couple of quarters in terms of the average cash balances that we have at the clearing house. So we saw in the first quarter of '18 about $39.6 billion in average balances. It's gone down to around $28 billion in the first quarter of '19. So it trended downwards. The return that we receive on those average cash balances has gone from about 28 basis points in the first quarter of '18 to about 33 basis points in the first quarter of '19.

You are correct, the non-cash collateral, we earned less on the non-cash collateral than we do have on the cash collateral. So that -- but that, you know, when you take a look, we are making that adjustment in July, which will have an impact on the amount that we earn on that collateral. So if you take a look at our take on the return in the first quarter of 2019, it was about $23 million. That's the net earnings that we received on the cash collateral and as we talked about previously, the non-cash collateral be adjusted in July.

Ken Worthington -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Great. Thank you very much.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

All right. Thanks, Ken.

Operator

And we'll take a follow-up question from Brian Bedell from Deutsche Bank.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

Great, thanks very much. Maybe just a couple of questions on products. So just in the equity indices, obviously that's been weak with low volatility in the market. Maybe some perspective of, to what extent you think (technical difficulty) that are starting to launch can meaningfully impact, or meaningfully boost the equity industry trends if volatility remains light. And then within interest rates, just some perspective on what kind of RPC capture you're getting on the new SOFR volumes and also the invoice spreads obviously really rich capture there, whether you see that continuing to trend, I know you made some comments earlier in the Q&A on that.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Brian. Great question. Thank you very much. We are very excited about the May 6th launch of our Micro E-mini futures. As a reminder to folks, this is across the four major indices, so across the S&P, Dow, NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices. And why are we excited about this? We currently have about 50,000 accounts utilizing the E-mini futures. So this will give them greater granularity, so contract is one-tenth the size of our existing E-mini, giving them greater granularity in order to optimize their exposures to the futures contract relative to CTAs. And the question earlier, this will also allow them to optimize their exposure to those marketplaces with a much finer contract size than they had in the past.

If you think about the E-mini, they were launched in 1997. So since then -- since the indices have grown dramatically. The size of the contract has grown and this allow us to better penetrate those accounts. In addition to those 50,000 existing E-mini accounts, there are approximately 250,000 current dormant CME futures accounts. We do believe that some significant portion of those users that contract size may have gotten too large for them, and this will allow us to better penetrate them. Much more importantly, if you look at external numbers in the marketplace that are available in terms of active retail traders, there are on the order of 10 million to actually we see numbers as high as 14 million active retail traders globally. So we are very hopeful that dividing the contract size by 10 that we will see very good uptake.

We've had very positive feedback from all of our retail distribution channels. We are working with 80, 8-0 different introducing brokers as well as retail brokers. And we believe that on the order of 90% of them will be ready in week one to start offering their product to their clients. So we are very excited about the opportunity. I won't size it right now, but we think it's a great idea. We're seeing very, very positive feedback from those distribution channels and we're expecting a very positive launch. Now in terms of other innovations that we've launched, we're about to hit our one-year anniversary of our SOFR futures. We're very excited there about that contract, we recently had a record of 83,000 contracts traded in a single day. And if you look at the one-year anniversary, this is one of the fastest growing products we've ever had in the interest rate complex and I think anywhere at CME Group.

So putting it in perspective, we had about 3.2 million contracts traded in the first 12 months that equates to about (inaudible) trillion worth of notional. And in the month of March, we reached a new all-time monthly record of 38,000 contracts with more than 130 different participants. So we're very excited about the continued -- the continued traction there. You know, I could keep going on relative to innovations, total return features, we adjusted those products on the equity side back in December, right. So total return features you may recall, this is constantly focused on margin capital efficiencies, the changing in regulatory environment and how to help clients.

So those are being offered to the marketplace as an alternative to total return equity swaps, especially under the uncleared marginal. It is considered the third largest category of pain point after rates and foreign exchange. We've seen very good uptake there and we saw a record recently of 280,000 contracts open interest. And in addition to that, the growth this year, we had about 1,600 contracts a day last year, we've seen about 2,600 contracts a day this year. So very nice growth. I think actually the actual growth rate is 47% year-over-year. And in addition to that, with the extensions that we made in December, particularly we took the S&P's and we only had in our 5 quarters. We now go out 5 years and when we go out 5 years, that RPC is over $5 a contract.

So we're constantly innovating, we're constantly looking at attracting new clients. And other thing I might bring up is not just the new product innovation, but we're continuously optimizing the existing contracts. And another thing I just might note is, our two-year note futures as well as the two-year note cash. So back in November, BrokerTec reduced the minimum pricing in the two-year note cash. And in January, we took a similar action in our two-year note futures. Why is this important? This is important because while we're in a difficult volatility environment, actually there was a Fed research paper that was published about a week and half ago saying that the reduction in those minimum price increment massively increased the health of those marketplaces, and increased volumes.

So if you look at the increase in volume, on both the BrokerTec side as well as the CME side, the two-year notes went from being about 13%, and I'm approximating here, about 13% of the overall treasury complex on each platforms to about 16%. On the futures side that equates to an addition of about 122,000 contracts a day. So a very positive result there. Invoice spreads, as I said earlier, seeing very good growth, from 89,000 contracts a day last year to 180 -- 118,000 excuse me so far this year $1.92 RPC. And this is really again taking advantage of the portfolio margining, they also mentioned earlier where we're seeing huge growth and people adopting and taking advantage of that.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks John.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

Very helpful. Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And we have another follow-up question from Alex Kramm from UBS.

Alex Kramm -- UBS Investment Research -- Analyst

Hey, thanks again. Just two quick follow-ups with the things that were asked before. On the other revenue line, just to clarify, you said the run rate is good, but we don't have any sort of quarterly history, so is there any seasonality in that kind of optimization business that we should be aware of, customers doing more in a certain quarter or the beginning of the year. So just anything to call out there.

And then on the expenses, I think that was asked earlier. Do you actually -- I don't know if you gave the kind of incentive comp or bonus target for the year. Can you just give us a little bit of the range there and what it would take to be at the low end and the high-end given that volumes obviously can bounce around and performance can bounce around? Thanks.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks. In terms of -- just to be clear, we talked a little bit about the other revenue, the information or the revenue that goes into that line on the NEX side tends to be more subscription-based. So it should be less volatile than the transaction-based revenue. So when you're thinking about that line, it tends to be much more stable line. As I did mention there are a couple of things that are going to be rolling in there. One is the change in the collateral fee, which will impact that line. Also there is -- as we move our staff into a consolidated office space, we'll be sub-leasing that office space. There will be some impact in that line as well. So that's a couple of points to think about as you model out the other revenue line.

In terms of the expenses, when you look at the compensation specifically on the CME side, there is a range of outcomes when it comes to the bonus. Really when we look at it, we look at bonus plus stock-based compensation as being kind of performance-based comp. So to the extent that there is a -- there is a cap and there is a cliff in terms of our bonus, so we don't hit a certain targeted, we call it AIP or cash earnings target, that bonus can go all the way down to zero depending on how we do. And we don't, obviously, we don't disclose that range. Although in the proxy, you can see what it has been in the past.

So that is -- that's what can happen in terms of the bonus, obviously it's stock-based compensation is relative to our margins compared to peer set and also our total return compared to the entire S&P 500.

Alex Kramm -- UBS Investment Research -- Analyst

All right. Thanks for clarifying. Take care.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And that's all the time we have for questions today. Speakers, I'll turn the conference back to you for additional or closing remarks.

John Peschier -- Managing Director of Investor Relations

Well, we appreciate very much the opportunity to answer your questions today. We look forward to talking to you in the next quarter. Thank you.

Operator

And that does conclude our conference today. Thank you for your participation, you may now disconnect.

Duration: 55 minutes

Call participants:

John Peschier -- Managing Director of Investor Relations

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Rich Repetto -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sean Tully -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Financial and OTC Products

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company -- Analyst

Ben Herbert -- Citi -- Analyst

Bryan T. Durkin -- President

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank Securities -- Analyst

Alex Kramm -- UBS Investment Research -- Analyst

Michael Carrier -- BofA Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Derek Sammann -- Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities and Options Products

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Christopher Harris -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Chris Allen -- Compass Point -- Analyst

Kyle Voigt -- KBW -- Analyst

Ken Worthington -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

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