Message from Executive Chairman and President
Terrence A. Duffy
The year 2015 was a time of dynamic changes in the global marketplace. Oil prices dropped to a 12-year low, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in seven years, and equity markets declined as China's economic challenges intensified. During this period of global volatility, a larger number of market participants turned to CME Group's deep and liquid markets to manage their risk exposure. This propelled our volume and revenues to record levels in a year that many considered to be a challenging environment for financial services companies. Full-year 2015 average daily volume was approximately 14 million contracts and total trading volume for the year surpassed 3.5 billion contracts.
This historic performance demonstrated the value of our broadly diversified product suite. We saw significant year-over-year revenue growth in five of our six product lines, led by annual volume records for energy, up 21 percent, and agricultural commodities, up 13 percent. Our options business continued to thrive, with total options up seven percent and electronic options up 15 percent. Clearing and transaction fee revenue and market data revenue were up significantly compared with the prior year.
The increasingly competitive financial marketplace demands that we accelerate our new product innovation and expand our global partnerships, which we continued to do successfully in 2015. For example, we secured the long-term rights to the FTSE Russell Indexes, which have more than $10 trillion of assets under management benchmarked to them. Together, we are providing market participants with the capital efficiencies of trading multiple indexes via one platform and clearing house.
Regarding new products, one standout within our interest rate franchise is our recently launched Ultra 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note product. The design, which was based on extensive customer collaboration, more precisely reflects exposure of 10-Year Treasury Notes, the benchmark for U.S. Treasury securities. It best serves the risk management needs of the marketplace, and has been the most successful new contract launch in our history.
Given the company's underlying strength, we declared dividends during 2015 of $1.6 billion, including the annual variable dividend for 2015 of $977 million, which was paid in January 2016. We are continuing to move forward and have seen record monthly volume in the first two months of 2016. As a result, we announced a 20 percent increase in our regular quarterly dividend to 60 cents per share. In each of the prior four years, our total dividend yield has exceeded five percent. Cumulatively, the company has returned more than $5.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends since the implementation of the variable dividend policy in early 2012.
On the regulatory front, our markets are always evolving. We work closely with regulators and legislators here and abroad to ensure that any changes are fair and robust – without undermining competition, innovation and economic growth.
All of our efforts are designed to enhance the long-term value of CME Group as we expand further globally, operate even more efficiently and continue to serve our customers worldwide in innovative new ways – while increasing the returns to our shareholders.
Terrence A. Duffy
Executive Chairman and President