(Bloomberg) – For a man who turned a few dollars into a company that oversees everything from the New York Stock Exchange to LIBOR, Geoffrey Spresher was remarkably unknown outside of Wall Street, and may have stayed that way except for his wife, Kelly Loeffler, appointed to a seat on the board American senators from Georgia to fill a vacancy late last year, and within months, the couple faced public disdain over a series of stock trades that took place before the outbreak of the Coronavirus in global markets. Their wealth now becomes a focal point in the January 5 run-off election between Loeffler and Raphael Warnock, a Democrat – one of two Senate races on that day that will determine control of the room. His company’s pool of 22% this year helped him succeed. Sprecher, 65, is a billionaire, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and cemented Loeffler’s position as the richest member of Congress. An unlikely trip to the top of American finance. Intercontinental Exchange Inc. ICE, as it is called, is now a $ 63 billion giant that supports much of the global financial system. It’s built on the foundation of Sprecher’s contract deals, the right timing, and an intense sense of where the world is headed. “I never thought ICE would own the New York Stock Exchange, be a leading provider of fixed-income market data and seek to automate the entire mortgage process,” said Rich Repetto, an analyst at Piper Sandler & Co., who has covered the company since its initial public offering in 2005, Through an ICE representative, he declined to be interviewed or comment on his net worth, which largely consists of his roughly 1% stake in the company. He hasn’t spoken publicly about his wife’s bid, but he’s donated to numerous Republican lawmakers and PACs in recent years, including at least $ 5.5 million to the PAC super committee that supports her. Loeffler, 50, has been a CEO of ICE for more than a decade and is now in a poor race with Warnock amid an early record turnout. Her campaign has not been commented on her campaign. Pricher, who worked as a salesman out of college, entered the energy industry in 1983. In search of a way to hedge fuel prices, he founded ICE in the 1990s by purchasing a failed Atlanta company, called Continental Power Exchange, which he penned into EBay for energy companies looking to buy Or sell excess electricity. He paid $ 1 or $ 1,000 for the work – he said two years ago he couldn’t remember the exact amount – and kept him afloat with his savings. ICE was launched shortly before its biggest competitor, Enron Corp., went bankrupt. And Precher went on to make an astonishing number of deals. It has bought rival exchanges and has also expanded ICE to areas such as commodity futures, fixed income, and clearinghouses, which are in the middle of each trade. The purchase of the NYSE Euronext, which included the booming New York Stock Exchange, gave ICE control over London-based Liffe, which offered to trade interest rate derivatives. An integral part of a host of financial contracts, ranging from credit card pricing to derivative pricing. And this year, Ellie Mae Inc. , Which processes more than 40% of all new residential mortgages in the United States, is now a booming company with borrowing costs falling to record levels. At the heart of the company is data, which it collects from customers, of some sort and analytics, and then sells it back to the same customers. It supports benchmark indices for everything from crude oil derivatives to interest rates. “If I were starting this company today, I would probably call it the Intercontinental Massively Scalable Network and Database Company, because that’s what we are now,” Sprecher said in a call in February, “Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is competing with ICE to provide Financial analyzes, fixed income data and information. Loeffler arrived at ICE in 2002 to lead investor relations, and later also took on communications and marketing – responsibilities usually between three jobs. She and Sprecher got married in 2004. They’ve turned themselves into workaholics and have no children. Loeffler had been active in Republican circles for many years but had never run for public office. But when senior Senator Johnny Isaacson stepped down from the state in 2019 for health reasons, she sought and won the temporary appointment from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, her gender and financial well-being likely played a role in his decision. In a 99-page financial disclosure form listing everything from rental properties to private jets, she came under scrutiny after she revealed a series of stock trades that began the day she and other senators got a confidential briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. He said that the couple’s independent financial advisors conducted the deals without their knowledge, and that the investment portfolio would be liquidated. The Justice Department dropped the investigation into the transactions she and some other lawmakers had conducted, and the Senate Ethics Committee acquitted her of any wrongdoing, and she is a member of four Senate committees, including the Agriculture Committee, which oversees the CFTC. The agency regulates the derivatives market, including many aspects of ICE’s growing business. Precher gave no idea that the company had been built. In February, he dropped an offer with eBay, which puzzled analysts. The Ellie Mae acquisition was announced just six months later, when he said on a radio show in May, “I really don’t know how to run a company that isn’t growing.” “Part of running a growing company is like a duck moving your legs underneath it very quickly. I really don’t know how to get around.” For more articles like this one, please visit us at bloomberg.com. Subscribe now to stay on top of the most trusted business news source. © 2020 Bloomberg LP
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