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I understand the basic trade lifecycle but I can't find more information on how clearing and settlement works. To my knowledge, if I buy VOD LN executed on LSE - this will be cleared by LCH which is owned by LSE? Does this not defeat the purpose of having an independent Central Clearing Party in the first place?

Investopedia mentions clearing houses and CCP's only in relation with Futures and options, does this mean that cash equities are cleared differently? What are General Clearing members etc.

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If you are buying VOD LN you are buying a cash equity (did you mean as a single stock future?), therefore you can hold this securtity in any custodian, or just as a certifcate under your bed.

Futures are cleared by many different firms as long as they are members of the exchange of which the future is offerred on. A future cannot exist outside of the exchange from which it is offerred.

Other derivatives deals that are struck OTC (like swaps) CAN be centrally cleared and may be required to do so by regulators, but it is possible to do a swap deal with another counterparty and simply leave it as an open contract with that firm, no 3rd party required.

Finally, this is standard practice all over the world. There is no special treatment of futures in Europe.

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