Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

CME Group inc (CME) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers – Oct 27, 2021 at 4:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

CME earnings call for the period ending September 30, 2021.

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

CME Group inc (CME 0.31%)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Oct 27, 2021, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day and welcome to the CME Group Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to John Peschier. Please go ahead, sir.

10 stocks we like better than CME Group
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.* 

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and CME Group wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of October 20, 2021

John Peschier -- Managing Director, Investor Relations

Thank you and good morning everyone. I hope you're all doing well. I'm going to start with the safe harbor language and then I'll turn it over to Terry and our team for brief remarks, followed by your questions. 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. They 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 statement. Detailed information about factors that may affect our performance can be found in the filings with the SEC, which are on our website. Lastly, on the final page of the earnings release, you will see a reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures. With that I'd 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 this morning. We released our executive summary as John says, which provided extensive details on the third quarter of 2021. I have John, Sean, Derek, Sunil, Julie Winkler on the call this morning and we all look forward to addressing any questions you have. Before I begin, in addition to John who will discuss the financial results, I'm going to have Sean and Derek make some comments. With all the recent news associated with interest rates and energy, I thought it was important that they present this morning.

With that, we delivered solid volume during the third quarter of this year, as we averaged 17.8 million contracts per day, which was up 14% versus third quarter last year. We saw year-over-year strength in our interest rates and energy businesses and saw significant options growth of 45% during Q3. Rates average daily volume rose 53% including 78% growth in Eurodollars and 41% growth in treasuries. As the expectations of future rate hikes has increased, we continue to launch innovative new products, tools and services to support customer needs, including additions to our suite of micro-sized contracts that allow market users to customize their trading and hedging as well as ESG-focused futures contracts that help manage climate-related risk.

In terms of specific products and services, we had two consecutive quarterly ADV records in SOFR futures in Q2 and Q3 as the market continues to manage their interest rate risk ahead of key transition deadlines. Bitcoin futures ADV increased 170% compared with the third quarter last year. Ether futures are also off to a good start since their launch in the first quarter of this year. In September, we launched the derivatives industries first ever sustainable clearing service to help market participants track and report and how their hedging activities are advancing their sustainable goals.

Finally, Micro WTI and Micro Treasury yield contracts again, trading in July and August, respectively. The Micro WTI contract represents the most successful commodity product launch in our history with over 1 million contracts traded within the first 20 days and a total of 4.3 million contracts traded since July 12th launch. Most importantly, this innovative new contract is attracting new customers to our energy market as evidenced by the fact that almost 10,000 Micro WTI market participants have not traded any other CME Group crude oil product in 2021. You'll hear more about this in a moment from both Derek and Sean respectively.

In the third quarter, non-U.S. ADV was up 13% to 5 million contracts per day. We saw 15% growth in Europe, 8% growth in Asia, 32% growth in Latin America, and 10% growth in the U.S. Also, during the quarter, we completed our joint venture with IHS Market and together, launched OSTTRA, a leading provider of progressive post-trade solutions for the global OTC market across interest rates, equities FX and credit asset classes.

Turning to Q4, we have had a strong so -- start so far in October, averaging more than 20 million contracts which is an increase of 35% month-to-date, compared to the same point in October last year. Interest rates in energy are up double-digits, with rates up 90%. With that let me turn it over to Sean to give you more flavor as it relates to interest rates.

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

Thank you very much, Terry. As Terry said the financials unit saw a number of significant developments in the third quarter, particularly regarding SOFR, the overall rates market and our crypto business. Our Silver futures saw average daily volume grow to 124,000 contracts per day in the third quarter, up over 180% year-over-year, and our open interest grew to over 1 million contracts, up 140% year-over-year. Additionally, in the month of October, we're seeing average daily volume of 227,000 SOFR futures contracts, and open interest of 1.2 million contracts. Over the last 60 days, our SOFR futures ADV made up over 78% of the global SOFR futures volumes and our open interest represents approximately 95%.

Further, on July 29, the alternative reference rate committee of the Federal Reserve endorsed CME's one-month, three-month and six-month term SOFR rates. And on September 19, CME began publishing a 12-month term SOFR rate as well. Demand for access to our term SOFR rate is very high, as we have already executed more than 100 term SOFR licenses to market participants, and we are currently working with an additional 300 firms who are also interested in licensing. Our fall backs for Eurodollar futures and options have also been a very strong success since we finalized our rule book back on March 29. SOFR linked open interest includes SOFR futures as well as Eurodollar futures and options that reference a LIBOR rate, which will be set after June 30th, 2023. Those contracts have grown from 11.8 million open interest on March 29, to 16.3 million open interest as of October 25, up 38%.

Further, the average daily volume of our SOFR linked futures and options in Q3 was 1.6 million contracts, representing 52% of CME's total short-term interest rate ADV. In addition, our long-held view regarding the rates market environment continues to gain veracity. Using CME's FedWatch Tool, we can see the market is now pricing in a 60% chance of tightening by June 2022, up from just 17% just one month ago. Our FedWatch Tool also now indicates an 87% chance of at least two Fed tightenings by the December 2022 FOMC meeting.

In Q3, the improving rates environment, as Terry said, led to a 53% growth in our interest rates ADV versus third quarter of 2020. Nonetheless, rate volatility while higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was in recent quarters remained historically quite low. For example, in the eighth quarterly Eurodollar futures, it achieved just the 37th percentile of volatility versus the history going back to 2007. And our 10-year note futures achieved only a 25th percentile volatility rank showing the current volatility, even in Q3, was very low.

Regarding CME Group's crypto offering, first, let me say, the recent approval of ETFs based on CME Bitcoin futures is not only an important milestone for futures contracts but also a positive development for the broader Bitcoin ecosystem. This is a direct reflection of the strong growth in client demand or exposure to Bitcoin via CME's transparent, deeply liquid and regulated Cryptocurrency futures contract. The launch of ETFs based on CME's Bitcoin futures' validation from the industry of what we've known for some time, attaining Bitcoin futures are the leading source a Bitcoin price discovery in the industry.

Two new Bitcoin ETFs were launched just last week and another this morning, both of which are based on -- or all 3 of which are based on CME's Bitcoin futures. On the back of those launches, our Bitcoin futures' October ADV has risen to over 12,000 contracts. We're over 60,000 equivalent Bitcoin with a record 3.5 billion per day, up 57% over September. Additionally, average open interest in our Bitcoin futures has grown to a record 17,433 contracts, up 70% versus September. Our Micro Bitcoin futures volume is also up 33% month-over-month and our average open interest is up 97% month-over-month. With that, I'll turn it over to Derek.

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

Thanks, Sean. As Terry mentioned at the top of the call, we have seen a strong return of activity in our Global Energy business in the second half of this year, with both crude oil and natural gas prices hitting multiyear highs. Overall, this has helped our Global Energy business to deliver average daily volume growth of 18% in the third quarter, led by energy options up 26% year-on-year. WTI futures reached the $84 barrel mark earlier this month for the first time since 2014, as OPEC maintained caution on production increases and as U.S. shells steadily recovers from the 2020 decline. Prices were further boosted from returning global demand as economies reopened. In the U.S., gasoline consumption reached 10 million barrels a day in July, marking an all-time monthly high.

Activity in WTI crude-oil futures saw a 26% jump in average daily volume in the third quarter and 990,000 contracts. The WTI options average daily volume jumping 45%, 129,000 contracts. This helped us to deliver strong daily volume growth in our refined products portfolio as well with our gasoline product volume up 20% to 196,000 contracts and our heating oil products daily trading volume up 10%, to 154,000 contracts. This has helped set the stage for the significant success that we've delivered with our Micro WTI futures contract. Launched on July 12th of this year, as Terry mentioned, we surpassed 1 million contracts traded in the first 20 trading days, we've already traded more than 4.3 million contracts since launch. Most importantly, this innovative new contract is attracting brand new global customers to our energy market, as evidenced by the fact that almost 10,000 Micro WTI customers have not traded any other CME Group crude oil product in 2021. These new customers come from 118 different countries and represent over 50% of our Micro WTI customer base. So, this has been a significant source of new clients acquisition for us.

At the same time, we have also seen the natural gas market experience the highest price level in over 13 years, with U.S. Henry Hub futures hitting the high price of $6.45 earlier this month, more than tripling in price than the COVID-driven March 2020 lows. The resulting increase in volatility has boosted our Henry Hub futures business with September average daily volume of 496,000 contracts up 11% year-on-year. Henry Hub options were particularly strong in the third quarter with average daily volume of 18% to 124,000 contracts, achieving our best months of August and September ever. Participation has been strong from our commercial customers and we've seen our natural gas futures and options open interest up to 6.2 million contracts in September, which is the highest level we've seen since January 2018.

So, overall, we're seeing that the investments we're making in our product portfolio, our global client developments and our technology pay strong dividends as market volatility returns, as our customer base manages their energy risk in CME Group's global benchmark products.

With that, I'll turn it over to John to discuss the financial results.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Derek. During the third quarter, CME generated more than $1.1 billion in revenue with average daily volume up 14% compared to the same period last year. Expenses were very carefully managed and on an adjusted basis were $412 million for the quarter and $355 million, excluding license fees. CME had an adjusted effective tax rate of 23.3% which resulted in adjusted diluted EPS of $1.60, up 16% from the third quarter last year.

Capital expenditures for the quarter were approximately $33 million. CME paid out more than $300 million of dividends during the third quarter and cash at the end of the quarter was approximately $1.6 billion. At the start of September, CME and IHS Market launched OSTTRA, our post-trade services joint venture. As a result, CME will no longer be recording revenue and expenses associated with our post-trade businesses, but will be recording our share of the joint venture earnings in the equity and net earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries line of our income statement. For the month of September, CME would have recorded approximately $22 million in revenue and $11 million in expenses but instead, recorded approximately $8 million in our share of the adjusted earnings of the joint venture. When you take into consideration tax implications and providing support services for the joint venture, there was essentially no impact to our overall earnings.

Turning to guidance, we now expect total adjusted operating expenses for 2021, excluding license fees, and reflecting the impact of our joint venture to come in at approximately $1.5 billion, down about $30 million from our guidance at the start of the year. All other guidance remains unchanged.

Finally, we are very pleased to say we achieved our planned $200 million in cumulative run rate expense synergies related to the NEX acquisition this quarter. Please refer to the last page of our executive commentary for additional financial highlights and details. We would like to now open the call -- up the call for your questions. Based on the number of analysts covering us, please limit yourself to one question and then feel free to jump back into the queue. Thank you.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] We'll go ahead and take our first question from Rich Repetto with Piper Sandler.

Richard Repetto -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Yeah, good morning, Terry and good morning John and team. And thanks for the macro update because there's certainly a lot of things going on. But on the Bitcoin futures ETF, Terry, besides this industry validation, I think it was regulatory validation about the CFTC in your regulatory regime you had for the product as well. So, I guess my question is what kind of precautions are you taking -- I'm talking to position limits basically, to ensure that the role and -- is as efficient as possible? And we know there's some volume being generated by these ETF manufacturers.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey Rich, thank you. It's a great question, I appreciate you asking it. But the -- the ETFs as Sean stated in his comments, I think are very exciting for to be based on CME futures. I think that in of itself lends to credibility of our product as a listed futures exchange and the regulation thereof. To get more directly to your question around position limits associated with it, they are an important component to any credit -- market when you have highly regulated entity like CME. So, the existing position limits in our Bitcoin futures today as you may or may not know is 2,000 per spot. And then we have accountability levels going back in the deferred months that are much larger than that. But the spot month will go to 4,000 in November, and we feel very confident from a risk perspective that we are not being reckless in any which way, shape or form, that this has been vetted to our entire team here and with the agency. So, we've filed for those changes. We're confident that the product is mature enough now to increase the size of the limit. So, again, we'll be careful here, Rich. This product -- we launched in 2017 not 1917. So, this is a newer product, a newer asset class and we will be very, very cautious here, but again we're excited by the uptake and the credibility associated with power shares and some of the other ETFs that decided to benchmark against our futures contract.

Richard Repetto -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Thank you. Very helpful, Terry. Thanks.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Rich.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We'll go ahead and take our next question from Dan Fannon with Jefferies.

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company, Inc., -- Analyst

Thanks, good morning. Was hoping to get a little bit more color on expenses, John. So, the implied guidance with the adjustments assume some pick-up in the fourth quarter could maybe explain a little bit just in terms of the ramp in the 4Q. But then, given all the moving parts as we think about next year, I know it's a bit early, maybe give us some framework to think about with the the JV coming out, the synergies being realized, then the broader inflationary pressures we're hearing across the employment and other costs, that factors to think about as we think about '22 and beyond.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Dan. Appreciate the question. So, in terms of our expense guidance, we did reduce our expense guidance after you adjust for the OSTTRA joint venture by an additional $15 million. So, we're about $30 million down from our original guidance at the start of the year. When you think about what we've done on the expense side, this entire CME team has done an excellent job managing our costs. We continue to have that as a strong focus. And to put our expense management into perspective, after adjusting for the creation of OSTTRA we're about $12 million down from last year's adjusted expenses at almost a $100 million down below 2019 levels.

When you look at our reduction of the $15 million, about half of that reduction reflects lower expected travel and in-person events. As you recall, at the beginning of the year, we had about $20 million we put in the back half of the year, assuming that we would be able to have additional travel. But as you can see, it's -- there's still limitations on travel, especially international travel. We have been seeing additional pickup and meetings, especially in Europe and London in particular, but still international travel is still a little bit tough. And the balance is really of our reduction in terms of our guidances. Yeah, just excellent continued expense controls by the entire team including careful hiring and careful use of contingent labor.

When you take a look at 2020's fourth quarter and 2021's fourth quarter, yeah, we do see a pickup in costs, the fourth quarter is traditionally our highest expense quarter. Historically marketing and advertising spend to be -- tend to be highest in the fourth quarter along with higher project spending as we wind up the current year and prepare for the next year. The spending this year reflects that same pattern and we anticipated a higher than normal proportion of spend when we built out our spending plans at the start of the year. We expect higher levels of spend in marketing and advertising, including targeting a portion of that spend on our successful micro products and anticipation of a more open operating environment in 2022.

We're also investing in system projects including the migration of EBS and streaming services, which would lead to more technology-related costs. Also, our incentive compensation is anticipated to be higher in the fourth quarter of this year than the fourth quarter of last year. So, those are some of the items, which are causing the fourth quarter of this year to be higher than the fourth quarter last year. But overall, for the entire year some really impressive expense controls by the entire organization.

So, in terms of thinking about modeling for next year, we're going through the budgeting process now. So it's really too early to provide guidance. We are hopeful for a more normalized environment which will be positive for our business. When looking at 2022, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. We did postpone salary increases in 2021 for our staff and we don't anticipate doing the same this year for 2021-- I mean sorry, for 2022. Also, in an open business environment which is obviously extremely fluid, we would anticipate increased travel, both regionally and globally and more in-person events which we would view as positive from a business perspective. But again, in November it's a little tough to see that in 2022 yet. So, we'll provide some additional guidance when we do our earnings in February.

We are starting to see some of that open up, like I mentioned before in Europe. We'll continue to invest in our systems and technology capabilities with an eye toward accelerating growth globally. It is our intention that we will continue our excellent expense management as we build out our plans for next year. So, that should give you a little bit of a flavor in terms of 2022.

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company, Inc., -- Analyst

Great, thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Dan.

Operator

Alright. We'll go ahead and take our next question from Alex Blostein with Goldman Sachs.

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Thanks guys. Good morning, thanks for taking the question. I wanted to dig into market down a little bit. It's been flattish over the last three quarters. I think there were some pricing adjustments that should have resulted in a slightly better near-term trends. So, maybe walk us through what's been going on behind the scenes on market data, and how you're thinking about growth in that business going forward. Thanks.

Julie Winkler -- Chief Commercial Officer

Thanks for the question, Alex. The data business has really been quite stable as you point out. So this quarter, coming in at a $145 million, we were up 4% where we were in Q3 of 2020. So, the number of professional subscribers that we're seeing for our real-time business which is the bulk of the revenue has been steady, and the price increase that we saw $5 per user has been realized. The big difference that we saw between Q2 and Q3 results were really audit findings were down about $2 million, which again, is quite difficult to forecast and one that is really just the timing of audits that we have underway with our clients.

So, Sean had mentioned too at the beginning of the call that a lot of the focus for the team, particularly the data sales team has been on the term SOFR rate. We've got a tremendous amount of client engagement going on there with a 100 licenses already done within the last quarter and 300 more in the queue. We are also continuing to see great uptake of those non-display policies and pricings that we introduced at the beginning of the year as well as our derived business performing very strongly. And lastly, just continue to see adoption of our cloud offering with Google on Smart Stream. So, I think the growth is still there, it's just -- again the real difference in Q3 was based on the audit.

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

Alright. We can go ahead and take our next question from Ken Worthington with JPMorgan.

Kenneth Worthington -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you for taking my question. I wanted to ask about open interest in the aggregate. Open interest is still hovering around a 100 million contracts, more or less, and it's been anchored there for a little while. And CME is been highlighting all these great things that have been happening. We've got a ton of innovation, a LIBOR build in SOFR, the build out at the micro products, with strength in energy. And in the macro, you've seen some rate movements at the 10-year and anticipation of higher rates at the short-end of the curve, and the commodity super cycle and the huge debt that issuance you guys have highlighted. When do you think CME will start to see all these good things start to flow into the open interest growth? What's the outlook? When does the good translate into a OI?

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Alex, it's Terry. Oh, it's Ken, I'm sorry. Ken, it's Terry Duffy. I'm going to let Sean comment maybe Sunil as well. But let me give you a broad comment here. The open interest of 100 to 109 million contracts of them, which I think is what you're referring to the trend over the last several, probably a year or so, since we came off of the high of 150. A lot of this reflected in the interest rate business. We're going through a massive transition that Sean pointed out earlier from LIBOR to something else, we suspected SOFR and people are trying to adjust associated with that.

We're also seeing the low volatility that's -- even though we've seen an uptick in some of the things that you're referencing, the volatility is still significantly lower not only in interest rates but FX, I'm talking from a historical standpoint. That is changing, you're correct in your comments. The question is, when does it reflect in open interest. We believe there is open -- the participants are in there participating, but you got to remember our open interest today is a little bit different than it was just a couple of years ago. We didn't have weekly options on a lot of these products. We didn't have some of the exploration constantly coming on and off. So, people are taking exposures versus projected periods of time. Might be days versus quarters, like the -- it was historically.

So, we're seeing people manage their risk in a little bit different way and I think that's reflective of the open interest as well. So, I think those are all a lot of factors going into it, fundamental being the main one. But a lot of it is, some of the products, the way we offer people to manage risk right now, which I don't see that as a bad problem. I see that as a good problem because open interest we don't get paid for. We get paid for transactions in the way we're structuring and now I think that's a much more powerful offering. But the open interest is a reflection of future trade. We've always said that to people, and we still believe in that. But at the same time, we're seeing people participate in the market, because of what I just outlined a moment ago, with options and other products to transition from one rates to another, the fundamentals and foreign exchange being extremely quiet and we're also seeing massive directional changes in energy, as Derek pointed out earlier, we went from just a year and a half ago to minus $37.50 to $84 a barrel.

So, you think about the massive directional participation in the marketplace has been truly one way and a lot of people just don't believe you can go from minus $37 a barrel to $84 a barrel in a year and a half. So, I think there -- it's just an adjustment to the world that we live in today and people will, again, participate in holding more and more open interest. But right now, I don't see it as a bad problem because of what we -- what I just outlined. And I'll ask Sean to comment more.

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

Yeah, thank you, Terry, and thank you, Ken for the question. Just very briefly in terms of the numbers. Year-over-year, the open interest interest rates is up 14%, in equities it's up 13%, in the foreign exchange it's up 22%, so very strong year-over-year growth. In addition to that, another number you know we track very closely, is the number of large open interest holders as reported by the CFTC.

You look at the second quarter of this year and you look -- if you look across the financials products, rates, equities, foreign exchange, the average large open interest holder number across the second quarter was an all-time record high for the combined three asset classes. If you look at the third quarter, we beat the second quarter. So, I've had two back-to-back all time record numbers of large open interest holders on average. If you look at our interest rates business, the most recent numbers from the CFTC indicate the rates business is just 1% below its all-time high and larger holders, and the foreign exchange business, similarly, is just a couple of percentage points below it's all-time high. So, I think overall the marketplace is extremely healthy and doing well. I don't know if...

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, and I don't want you to think we're dodging the question because I think your question, Ken, is based on $150 million OI, which was a record open interest several years ago. So, I think what Sean is giving you is coming off of a different base obviously and so, we don't want to be disingenuous either, but they are what they are. We've gone through a lot here in the last couple of years with pandemics, uncertainty, people not sure how they're going to manage risks, but I think we're starting to see a return to that. And Sean's numbers are reflective of that and I think that's what's positive as far as the open interest story goes.

Kenneth Worthington -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Great. Thank you very much.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Alright. We'll take our next question from Chris Allen with Compass Point.

Christopher Allen -- Compass Point Research -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone. I was hoping to get a little bit more color on OSTTRA, just in terms of maybe what would the revenues that were included in the P&L for 3Q before separations in September? And also, what were the year-to-date expenses, trying to think about what's the adjusted starting point for -- as we contemplate for next year?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks for the question. This is John. So yeah, we're very excited about the launch of OSTTRA. We think it's going to be very positive for our customers. It will -- we'll be able to offer them new and innovative products, improved workflow and analytics. And also, we're going to be well-positioned that really support the global banks in particular. So, very excited about OSTTRA. We've, like I said, launched it in early September. We've got an integration plan that is being executed right now, and so far, we've been very pleased with the leadership there and working with our partners at IHS Markit.

So, in terms of -- on the breakdown and into more detail, the impacts for the month of September and -- is which will be helpful. And then we can talk a little bit about what it looks like going forward. So, in terms of revenue, like I said in my prepared remarks, was about $22 million in revenue for the month of September, we would have booked had we not launched OSTTRA. Of that, $7 million is in transaction fees and $15 million is in the other revenue line.

From an expense perspective, it was about $11 million for the month of September. About $7 million of that was in compensation and the rest was split between technology, other and pro fees. In the equity and earnings section, equity in net earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries was $8 million in that line. Now, that $8 million is net of tax. And then, we had $1 million in the other line in that section of our income statement. Obviously, when we had the company before the formation of OSTTRA, you'd have the tax affect the $11 million in operating income. So, when you net all that out, it's really no impact for the month of September.

Now looking at the expense level. The expense levels have been very constant in the $11 million range. So, there is very little in the way of volatility over the last several quarters. So, $11 million per month is a good run rate. And then when you look at the revenue, if you looked at for a full quarter, if you took the $22 million multiplied by 3 to give yourself a quarterly range, quarterly amount of $66 million. If you look over the last several quarters, the revenue has been in the $64 million to $66 million range per quarter. So those are -- those would be the numbers that I would work with in terms of run rates.

Christopher Allen -- Compass Point Research -- Analyst

Thank you.

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Okay. Thanks, Chris.

Operator

And we'll take our next question from Owen Lau with Oppenheimer.

Owen Lau -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Good morning, and thank you for taking my question. So, the volume of Bitcoin futures has been very strong. OI has been increasing, but there will be more Bitcoin futures tradings annual coming up. Could you please remind us the value proposition of CME Bitcoin futures franchise and why ETF and other institutional investors will continue to go to CME instead of other trading venues? Thank you.

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

Sure, this is Sean jumping in. Thank you for the question. You may recall, it was back in 2017 that CME Group deviced its new Bitcoin reference rate which has become an essential reference rate for the industry. We also created a reference rate for Ether. So, these reference rates are highly used by the world now, and again, were created by CME in conjunction with partners. So, that's one of the unique value propositions.

In addition to that, we offer as you know, our asset classes across the spectrum, across the entire commodities spectrum, across the entire financials spectrum, across equities, rates and foreign exchange. So, I think the combination of all of the products that we offer is enormous. In addition to that, we are highly regulated, we are highly transparent and we have an enormous distribution out to our partners. CME Group, you, I'm sure know, has a 170-year history of being the most reliable exchange in the United States to offer partners. So, I hope that, that helps to understand some of the value propositions.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Owen, let me just add to what Sean said, because I think it is important. He referenced the reference rates and Julie Winkler and her team constantly are looking at different ways to bring value to the company, and this is just another example of maybe to further the prior question that you don't have to have transactable ideas in order to generate revenue in the future. And these reference rates are something that have been very, very helpful for CME going forward. And as Sean touched on, what I think is really important to highlight is the regulatory aspect of CME's business especially its crypto offering.

You can imagine there's many people that are now more and more every day looking for some form of exposure as cryptos are becoming more and more acceptable. They -- the -- maybe the problem with that would be also the appreciation of the price of the product, people are maybe a little bit more concerned about where they go to get that risk and they want to make sure they're at a regulated platform. Another reason the credibility of having a highly regulated platform is a benefit not only to our crypto franchise, but the entire CME Group. Sunil?

Sunil Cutinho -- President, CME Clearing

One thing we want to add is that we have a very strong record of risk management, especially for both Bitcoin and Ether. And we manage that through extreme periods of volatility seen even early this year. So we, this is true with every product that we bring to the market. We have a strong risk management experience and Sean pointed that out. We have over 100 years experience clearing product, as seen.

Owen Lau -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Got it. That's very helpful. Thank you.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Kyle Voigt with KBW.

Kyle Voigt -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. So, you spoke a bit about the LIBOR transition and the record activity in SOFR trading. But Terry, it sounded a bit like the transition might be negatively impacting short-hand interest rate open interest at the moment. So, I guess I'm just wondering as the transition continues over the next couple of years, do you expect this to be a headwind to OI or volume over that period of time? Or is this just a near-term impact? And the second part of that question, maybe for John, do you expect any impact on net fee capture to your short-end complex through the transition to SOFR? And maybe you could talk about if there are any fee holidays or incentives in place for SOFR trading at the moment, and how long those will last.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So Kyle, I think there was about 3 or 4 questions embedded in your question between open interest cost, plan. So I may track down Sean. If that isn't enough for you, there's John and then I will also -- I'll give you my opinion.

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

Yeah, so thank you Kyle. In term -- right now, with huge growth in our SOFR futures and as I said, we're also seeing enormous growth in our Eurodollar future options. So we're seeing both marketplaces grow in parallel side-by-side. So that's actually a very exciting development. As you go into the next couple of years, that will also increase and we expect to see an increase in the spread trading between the Eurodollars and the SOFR futures. In addition to that, you may recall we launched BSBY futures not too long ago, where we're also doing about 70,000 contracts a day depending upon the time frame. So, the transition of the short-term interest rate business to a new rate, whether it is the BSBY or the Term SOFR, or SOFR is actually very positive thing in regards to the inter-commodities trading between -- or the spread trading between the different instruments. So that's actually a very positive development.

I also remarked earlier that we've seen enormous growth in SOFR-linked products. Again, with an ADV of more than 1.6 million contracts a day in the third quarter. So, that's growing very strongly. In terms of incentives, yes, we have had incentives, as anyone who follows us closely knows, whenever we start a market. And so, we have had a significant incentives in our SOFR futures over the recent quarters. The good news there is, that means that, that's already priced in to our revenues to a large extent. So we will expect to continue those incentives for a period of time.

But as you can imagine, as we have with all of our products, you know the history, I'm sure of our Bitcoin futures and how we've reduced incentives there, our Micro E-minis and how we reduced incentives there and how those RPCs grew pretty dramatically once those marketplaces got up and running. So, we would expect that as we get greater adoption of SOFR relative to Eurodollars, that the incentives in SOFR would decline on a relative basis. So, again we're already spending a lot of money on incentives. That's already baked-in in the last 12 months. And yes, we will continue to have some incentive spend, but I don't expect any kind of a significant increase.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

John?

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks, Kyle. And just to echo what Sean said, I think over time, the -- we believe that with the value proposition that we have and -- we've already seeing significant amount of trading happening in Eurodollars post the transition dates. So, I think our clients are very comfortable with our -- with the conversion program that we've got in place and in the fall backs we've got set up. So very, very excited about the -- where -- what the team has done in terms of preparing us for the transition. I think they've done a remarkable job in working closely with our clients to ensure that, that happens in a very orderly fashion.

In terms of fees, Sean is right, we do have some in -- market maker programs in place, it's embedded in the revenue that we've got right now. Over time, we would view SOFR being treated just like the rest of our short-term interest rate products. So, I don't see there being any unusual headwinds because of SOFR versus any of our other short-term incentive products. And this is something that we as a team Julie, Sean, myself and Derek and others, we look at our pricing all the time to ensure that we are pricing our products appropriately to maximize our top line in to create as much liquidity as we can across our platform 24 hours a day.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Kyle, let me just wrap it up by saying it's really fascinating to me that when you look at the trillions of dollars that is benchmarked to LIBOR today, and we are asking the world to transition in a very short period of time into something else. You can now -- you can imagine -- just to use an example, look at the automobile industry, we're going to convert that, but we're talking about a 30-year conversion possibly. We're talking about -- in just a couple of years we're going to convert trillions of dollars of assets benchmarked to LIBOR into something else, which we believe we're in the strongest position of anybody to capture that risk offset. And that is with the products that Sean outlined.

Now that will not be just a measure of open interest. It will be a measure of many things as we go through this transition. To me this might be the most exciting time in the history of interest rate trading that I've ever seen in my 41 year here at the CME. So to me, I'm very optimistic about it, but I will not judge it on open interest alone, I won't judge it on one particular issue alone. There's many factors are going to go into this and Sean outlined some of the things that we have right now, not only on incentives but with the BSBY product, with Bloomberg, with the short-term SOFR rate and with the SOFR futures and options. We think we're in a really strong position and one of the benchmarks is open interest, Sean gave it to you. We are the leader in that one by a long shot. So, I'm very pleased with this transition.

Kyle Voigt -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you very much.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We'll go ahead and take our next question from Brian Bedell with Deutsche Bank.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Great. Great, thanks for taking my question. Just wanted to go back to the micro-sized contracts and retail participation broadly. I think a while back, it was -- I think retail generated low double digits percentage of revenue. Just wanted to see if there was an update on that and maybe how that's trended over the last couple of years since the creation of all the micro-sized contracts. And then, I would imagine ETFs are considered an institutional customer given that's who is actually trading. But I don't know if you would put ETF usage and the underlying futures as part of retail or maybe if you could talk about it on a pro forma basis I guess if that's possible. And then just how you think broadly about that success in launching more micro contracts across the franchise.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, it's a great question, Brian, let me ask Julie Winkler to make a few comments on that and the rest of the team may play along as well. So, Julie, go ahead.

Julie Winkler -- Chief Commercial Officer

Yeah, thanks. No, you are correct. Retail is a single-digit contribution from a customer segmentation standpoint. So, still a very -- we're on path for a very strong year in retail, it's looking to be the second highest revenue year on record for us. I think the participation there is definitely strongest in the equity suite of those micro products. And performance was a bit subdued through some of the quarter until volatility started to pick up a little bit in mid-September and since then, we've definitely seen further uptick in the business.

But it also speaks to just the diversity of our suite. Right? So, the retail adoption of things like our agricultural products has never been stronger than what we've seen this year. So, AG revenue for retail in APAC, it was up 86% North American up 30%. So, overall participation to just is very, very strong. We're on pace to about 375,000 traders in our markets this year. Likely only surpassed by where we ended last year which was a record year. And we talked quite a bit as well about the new client acquisition in the space that has been strong as well. We've brought on 134,000 new retail traders and really looking -- specifically when we looked at June, July and August, in 2021, we outpaced those levels that we saw in 2020 during those exact same months.

How we're doing that continues to be the same thing that we've talked about before, it's really about driving that retail traffic to our digital properties there. We saw that activity more than doubled from where we were last year. And also, just the interest in our educational materials. We've had about 1 million retail traders visit those properties through Q3, which is great.

And our partnership, those global broker partners that we have, the educational, the outreach efforts that they make a huge part of this. In Asia alone our broker partners have reached about 1.7 million active traders year-to-date, and we've seen our digital educational events activities up over 178%. So I think it's that continued focus on really that retail go to market that has kept the activity very strong. You want to add anything?

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

Yeah, no, I don't think I have much to add. Right? We've seen very good, we've got good growth in our micro treasury yields futures in about 8,000 a day. Our Micro E-minis month-to-date doing about 2.4 million a day. So, nothing really to add.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Brian, did that kind of address all your concerns?

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yeah, just on ETFs. Those are considered institutionalized, right? Or is there any way to think about just with the Bitcoin usage on the ETFs. I'm thinking you might get more retail participation de facto in that as well. I don't know if there's any way to perform...

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The only way to get more retail participation from that Brian, you're correct, they are institutionally driven products, the ETFs. But the more liquidity that's pumped into the system by the institutional players always attracts to retail participants. And conversely, the same way that the larger pool of retail participants can attract institutional participants. So, we see it going both ways and we see this as an example of that. So, hopefully I -- hopefully that answered your question, but I think you're right on. Sean?

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

And may be one additional comment. In terms of the Micro Bitcoin futures, we are seeing huge growth on the back of the ETFs. So greater interest in our Micro Bitcoin futures. So, month-to-date more 27,000 contracts, average daily volume significantly up from the year-to-date of 21,000 as I mentioned earlier and open interest now at over 65,000 contracts that our Micro Bitcoin. So, we've seen enormous growth in our micro products, not just our institutional Bitcoin futures, mostly ETFs.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So, not to counter my colleague, because it's not the proper thing to do on an earnings call, but I also would attribute a lot of that the fundamentals in the marketplace. We also know crypto made an all time high last week of 60 plus at -- from a 1,000, which could be driving some of those micro retail numbers. But we do believe, as I said earlier they work in unison together to bring more volume on both sides.

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Great, great. Super helpful comments. Thank you.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Alright, we'll take our next question from Michael Cyprys with Morgan Stanley.

Michael Cyprys -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great, thanks for taking the question. Good morning. I was hoping you could update us on your ESG and sustainability products. What sort of traction and use cases are you seeing there? And maybe you could talk a little bit about the new product roadmap, what that looks like? And if you could also elaborate on the new sustainable clearing services that I think you launched and made available in September.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, great questions, I'm going to ask Derek to touch on the product side, and I'll ask Sunil to touch on the clearing side. So, Derek?

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

Yeah so, appreciate the question, Michael. So I think probably the easiest way to start in our material that we pre-circulated on Slide 4, you'll notice, some very detailed comments about some of the products that we've launched and what those mean to our franchise. Specifically, on the environmental product side, as you know, we've launched in August are Nature-based GEO contracts. GEO is the global emissions offset contracts that complements the GEO contracts we launched earlier this year. And we continue to see significant traction there, not just in terms of the traded volumes, but more importantly, the open interest that we're accruing, and then the deliveries that we're seeing with these contracts as well so.

So, since launch, we've actually now seen a peak -- we hit a peak open interest record of just over 10,000 contracts on December 21, we hit a new record just on Friday. And what's important about that is, while these contracts are now seeing record open interest terms, we're also seeing record amounts of physical deliveries of these offset certificates as well. So, we've now facilitated the physical delivery of 146,000 offset credits across four separate delivery cycles.

And just to put that in to context for what that means for customers that are taking delivery of these certificates, that's the equivalent of 146 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. So, this is a market that started really about two years ago. We partnered exclusively, as we shared with you on previous calls, with CBL expanse of the largest spot platform and the voluntary offset market and the carbon markets. And we now are delivering record amounts of volume through the platform and deliver these certificates through four delivery cycles. We have another one this week. So, this is a new market. We just launched our nature-based contracts in August of this year. So, that's pretty significant traction early on. There is a lot that's expected out of this conference in Glasgow COP26. And as we continue to work with the markets and connect where we are now on the global basis of where these credit go, it's a complement to the work that we've already done and continue to do.

On the equity side where we host the world's largest ESG contract by nominal value our S&P of 500 ESG Index futures, which has been open interest above $4 billion notional value, which is pretty significant. So, when you look at the space whether it's on the environmental product side, the traction that we're seeing in a market that we are at the cutting edge of developing a voluntary carbon market side or we're servicing the needs of customers that are looking for ESG compliance, investment vehicles, we're leaders in both of those spaces.

So, we're happy with our positioning, feel like we've chosen good partners, and I think the market as it adapts to a new world of carbon neutrality, we feel like we're in a strong position there with the success we've already had.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Derek. Sunil, on clearing?

Sunil Cutinho -- President, CME Clearing

Yeah. So thank you, Terry. So, on sustainable clearing we've seen a keen interest from our clients to actually track their hedges. They use our entire complement of products. Not just what Derek went through, but they also use our interest rate and FX and equity products to hedge their exposure. So, what is important for these clients is to track their activity used to hedge their green investments as an example. And we in clearing, we provide them a mechanism to actually track those exposures and report on them. This is a novel service. We have just started with a group of clients, and we look to expand it to our product line.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hopefully, that gave you a little bit of color on that, Michael.

Michael Cyprys -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great, thanks so much.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And we'll take our last question from Simon Clinch with Atlantic Equity. Or, never mind. It appears there are no further questions at this time, I would like to turn the conference back over to management for additional or closing remarks.

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. We thank you all very much for taking time out of your busy schedules. Once again, we wish that you and your families be safe and healthy during these very difficult days that we're all dealing with, and we look forward to talking to you next quarter. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 55 minutes

Call participants:

John Peschier -- Managing Director, Investor Relations

Terrence A. Duffy -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

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

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

John W. Pietrowicz -- Chief Financial Officer

Julie Winkler -- Chief Commercial Officer

Sunil Cutinho -- President, CME Clearing

Richard Repetto -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Dan Fannon -- Jefferies & Company, Inc., -- Analyst

Alexander Blostein -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Kenneth Worthington -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Christopher Allen -- Compass Point Research -- Analyst

Owen Lau -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Kyle Voigt -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods -- Analyst

Brian Bedell -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Michael Cyprys -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

More CME analysis

All earnings call transcripts

AlphaStreet Logo

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

The Motley Fool recommends CME Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.