Chief Financial Officer at Intercontinental Exchange
Thanks, M. C. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I'll begin on Slide 4 with some of the key highlights from our fourth quarter results.
Adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.34, up 17% year-over-year, marking the best quarter in our company's history. Net revenues totaled a record $1.8 billion and increased 10% versus last year. Total transaction revenues grew 11%, while total recurring revenues, which account for nearly half of our business, increased by 10%. Fourth quarter adjusted operating expenses totaled $749 million, slightly higher than expected driven by additional severance as well as higher performance-based compensation due to the strong results to finish the year.
Adjusted operating income increased by 14% totaling a record $1.1 billion. This strong operating performance contributed to a record full year free cash flow of over $2.8 billion of which we returned $1 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks, while also reducing our gross leverage to 3 times EBITDA, nearly a full year ahead of schedule.
Now let's move to Slide 5, where I'll provide an overview of the performance of our Exchange segment. Fourth quarter net revenues totaled $1 billion, an increase of 17% year-over-year. This strong performance was driven by a 71% increase in our interest rate business and a 29% increase in our energy revenues, both driven in part by rising inflation expectations. Revenues within our global oil complex increased 29% year-over-year, while natural gas and environmental products, which represent approximately 40% of our energy revenues, increased by 36% in the quarter and were up 20% for the full year. Recurring revenues, which include our exchange data services and our NYSE listings business increased by 8% year-over-year, including 10% growth in listings.
Turning now to Slide 6, I'll discuss our Fixed Income and Data Services segment. Fourth quarter revenues totaled a record $480 million, a 7% increase versus a year ago. Recurring revenue growth, which accounted for nearly 90% of segment revenues also grew 7% in the quarter. Within recurring revenues, our Fixed Income Data and Analytics business increased by 6% year-over-year, including another quarter of double-digit growth in our index franchise, while other data and network services grew 7% driven by continued demand for ICE Global Network and consolidated fees offering. For the full year, data services revenue increased by 6%, and importantly, annual subscription value or ASV enters the first quarter, up 5.5% setting us up for yet another strong year of compounding revenue growth.
Let's go next to Slide 7 where I will discuss our Mortgage Technology segment. Fourth quarter Mortgage Technology revenues totaled $346 million. Recurring revenues, which accounted for over 40% of segment revenues totaled $149 million and grew 26% year-over-year. While total Mortgage Technology revenues declined slightly down 1% in the fourth quarter, we outperformed an industry that experienced a roughly 30% decline in origination volumes. For the full year, Mortgage Technology revenues grew 17% on a pro forma basis reaching $1.4 billion, well ahead of our initial expectations and on track to achieve our target of more than doubling revenues over a 10-year period.
I'll conclude my remarks on Slide 8 with some additional guidance. We expect full-year total recurring revenues to be between $3.68 billion and $3.75 billion. This includes approximately $30 million of headwinds related to FX, the planned phase-out of Sterling LIBOR, and Euronext post-Brexit decision to migrate certain connectivity services away from our UK data center and onto the continent. It's worth noting that the majority of Euronext connectivity revenues are expected to be offset by a related reduction in costs.
Adjusting for these items, we expect core growth in our recurring revenues, which again account for half of our business to be approximately 68% for the full year. This strong growth, which is on top of 10% growth last year is expected to once again be led by our Mortgage Technology business, which we expect will grow in the low to mid-teens, and importantly, is on top of an exceptional 30% growth in 2021. In addition and supported by an ASV that exits the fourth quarter, up 5.5%, we anticipate another year of 5% to 6% growth in our Fixed Income and Data Services recurring revenues.
Moving to expenses. We expect 2022 adjusted operating expenses to be in the range of $2.99 billion to $3.04 billion. Consistent with prior years, we reward our employees for their contributions to our strong results, and therefore, expect compensation expense, net of synergies, and the resetting of 2021 performance awards to increase by $25 million to $35 million. Expenses tied to revenues are also expected to increase by $25 million to $35 million, driven by higher license fees as well as investments in business and product development across all three of our segments.
In addition, we expect an incremental $40 million to $60 million in support of productivity and efficiency initiatives across our technology and operations groups, a portion of which we are electing to fund through the net operating savings we realized following the IPO of that. Lastly, and similar to last year, we expect roughly $30 million of incremental G&A expense related to purchase accounting and the rebuild of Ellie Mae capex. Please see Slide 12 and the appendix for a bridge reconciling our expense guidance for 2021.
Moving next to capital allocation and consistent with our track record of growing our dividend as we grow, we plan to increase our quarterly dividend by 15% year-over-year from $0.33 per share to $0.38 per share. In addition, and now that we are within our targeted leverage range, we expect to deploy approximately $475 million towards share repurchases in the first quarter, representing a nearly 20% increase versus the second quarter of 2020, the last full quarter of buybacks prior to our acquisition of Ellie Mae.
In summary, we delivered a record finish to another record year. We delivered double-digit growth in revenue, operating income, and earnings per share. We also invested in an array of future growth initiatives, increased our dividend double-digits, and achieved our leverage target a year earlier than originally planned. As we kick off 2022, we're focused on once again delivering growth and creating shareholder value against what is an ever-evolving macro backdrop.
I'll be happy to take your questions during Q&A but for now, I'll hand it over to Ben.