Wall Street firms seek safety net through clearinghouse

Investment banks, brokerage firms and futures exchanges are stepping up efforts to create a clearing entity that would function as the middleman between firms on both sides of a credit-default swap. More than a dozen firms are pushing for the clearinghouse that would guarantee payment on the contracts it handles. The system, backers say, would reduce the risk of a catastrophic ripple effect if one or more firms were unable to make good on their trades.

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