FCMs have net capital requirements. ON CFTC.gov, there's a file listing all FCMs, cust equity, net capital requirements, etc. http://www.cftc.gov/files/tm/fcm/tmfcmdata0508.xls This is the same file that Futures mag uses for its annual rnaking of FCMs. The interesting thing to note, is that the ranking by Futures mag, does not incude excess capital (diff between adj net capital and net capital). The non-investment banking big four as I call them (Calyon, FIMAT, Man Financial & REFCO) have suprisingly very low excess capital. If you calculate excess capital as a %age of the net capital requirement, you find that REFCO had the highets %age (among the "Big Four") as of Aug 2005 (though all four of them have relatively very low percentages). The big investment banks rank best using this measure; Morgan Stanley, CSFB, Deutsche Bank, Lehman, UBS, Bear Stearns. GS & Citigroup's net capital requirments ar enot stated but I assume they would also be quite high. Given this, I wonder about 2 things: 1. IS this excess capital %age measure of any value as to a predictor of a FCM's stability? 2. Are Man, Calyon or FIMAT or IB able to acquire REFCO, given their own relatively weak position by this measure. It seems a major PE fund (like JC Flowers) or a big Ibank like CSFB, DB, UBS or Lehman would be a viable acquirer of REFCO. Any thoughts???