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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal U.S., European and global financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates.

  • Financial Stability Board Makes Recommendations to Support LIBOR Transition
    07/09/2020

    The Financial Stability Board and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision have published a report to the G20 on supervisory issues associated with benchmark transition. The report focuses on the transition away from using LIBOR, but is relevant to other Interbank Offered Rates. The report presents the findings of a survey on the status of the move from using LIBOR, whose usage U.K. regulators are attempting to cease from the end of 2021, and sets out recommendations for relevant authorities and supervisors. 

    Read more.
  • UK Resolution Authority Provides Clarity on Impact of LIBOR Transition on Bail-In and Stays Clauses
    07/07/2020

    Following the letter published on December 18, 2019, to the Chair of the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates, which provided clarification on the impact that the LIBOR transition is likely to have on the prudential requirements for banks, the Prudential Regulation Authority has published a statement providing clarity on the implications of LIBOR transition for contracts in scope of the PRA’s rules on Contractual Recognition of Bail-In and Stay in Resolution. The PRA states that, where the sole purpose of an amendment to a liability or a financial arrangement is to cease using LIBOR, the amendment should not be considered a material amendment under the PRA rules. 

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Statement on COVID-19 Impact on Benchmark Reform
    07/01/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has published a statement on the impact of COVID-19 on global benchmark reforms. Although the FSB acknowledges some aspects of benchmark reform will be delayed due to the effects of COVID-19, many areas can go on as planned and the FSB considers that firms should continue to make wider use of risk-free rates to reduce reliance on IBORs. Firms should also ensure their transition programs facilitate a transition away from LIBOR before the end of 2021. The FSB will publish a report on the remaining challenges for benchmark transition later in July.

    View the FSB's statement on the impact of COVID-19 on LIBOR benchmark reform.
  • EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates Publishes Recommendation on Voluntary Compensation for Swaptions
    06/16/2020

    The EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates has published its recommendation on voluntary compensation for swaptions affected by the CCP discounting transition from EONIA to €STR. The recommendation follows the Working Group’s March 2020 consultation on the topic. The Working Group recommends that counterparties exchange voluntary compensation for relevant legacy swaption contracts and that market participants contact their swaption counterparties promptly to determine whether compensation is required. 

    Read more.
  • FICC Markets Standards Board Publishes Case Studies for Managing LIBOR Transition Conduct Risks
    06/11/2020

    The FICC Markets Standards Board has published a Spotlight Review on case studies for navigating conduct risks during the LIBOR transition, which is due to be completed by the end of 2021. The Review will be of interest to all market participants, including sell-side, buy-side and corporates. It is intended to assist in the identification and management of conduct risks related to the LIBOR transition. The Review assesses risks to market fairness and effectiveness that could arise during the LIBOR transition and discusses how market participants could tackle these risks. Using practical case studies, the Review draws attention to how uncertainties might lead to decision-making challenges for market participants offering new products to clients or changing performance benchmarks.

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority published a statement in November 2019 setting out its expectations of firms relating to governance and accountability, replacing LIBOR with alternative rates in existing contracts, offering new products with alternative rates, communicating with customers about the transition from LIBOR and best practice for firms investing on behalf of clients.

    View the FMSB Spotlight Review on case studies for navigating LIBOR transition conduct risks.

    View the FCA's statement on conduct risks.
  • Bank of England Confirms Daily Compounded SONIA Index
    06/11/2020

    Following the discussion paper published on February 26, 2020, the Bank of England has announced that it will begin publishing a daily compounded Sterling Overnight Index. It is expected that this will start in early August, although the BoE will confirm the date in due course. The daily compounded index would represent the return on an investment earning daily interest at the SONIA rate; market participants could calculate the interest payable on their instruments by reference to the change in the index between two dates. The BoE has decided not to proceed with publishing the proposed SONIA period averages due to lack of industry consensus on the usefulness of such data and the underlying conventions. The BoE will consider producing this data if market participants are able to reach a more united view.

    Read more.
  • UK Working Group Publishes Paper on Identifying Tough Legacy Issues in the LIBOR Transition
    05/29/2020

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has published a paper on the identification of tough legacy issues. The paper concerns those instances where a contract cannot be amended to reference a suitable alternative rate to LIBOR or use a robust fallback so that the contract moves to a suitable alternative rate on the occurrence of certain events. The Working Group is advocating for the U.K. Government to consider legislation to address tough legacy exposures in contracts governed by English law that reference LIBOR (in sterling or other LIBOR currencies) that remain in operation when LIBOR is proposed to be phased out at the end of 2021. The recommendation is similar to the proposed solution of the Alternative Reference Rates Committee under New York law. The Group advises that other steps should also be taken, including the methodology for LIBOR being modified by either an administrator or official intervention. The latter option of official intervention is controversial, in that the benchmark administrator and its committees would lose control over how the benchmark operates, yet remain liable to regulators for its operation and face other legal risks resulting from external decisions. In the Group's view, the only path for certainty over contracts is for market participants to proactively transition away from LIBOR before the end of 2021.

    The paper also sets out the Working Group's analysis of whether tough legacy issues exist for certain types of contracts, covering derivatives, bonds, mortgages and loans.

    View the RFRWG paper on tough legacy issues.
  • Revised ISDA 2006 Definitions Implementing Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Expected in July 2020
    05/14/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has published a summary, prepared by the Brattle group, of the responses to the ISDA 2020 consultation on how to implement pre-cessation fallbacks in derivatives. Pre-cessation triggers would cause LIBOR-based derivative contracts to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority deemed LIBOR no longer to be representative. ISDA sought views as to whether provisions should be included in its standard documentation specifying that rate options for LIBOR in USD, GBP, CHF, JPY and EUR all contain fallbacks that would apply upon the earlier of: (i) a permanent cessation trigger; and (ii) a 'non-representativeness' trigger.

    The report confirms the preliminary findings, published by ISDA on April 15, 2020. The majority of respondents are in favor of including the pre-cessation fallbacks in ISDA documentation via either an amended version of the ISDA 2006 definitions (for new contracts) or a protocol (for legacy contracts).

    In July 2020, ISDA intends to publish the amended 2006 ISDA Definitions to incorporate the fallbacks for new trades. The protocol will be published at the same time. Both the revised Definitions and the new protocol will come into effect before the end of 2020.

    View the report.

    View ISDA's press release.
  • UK Working Group Updates LIBOR Expectations in Wake of COVID-19
    05/13/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has announced a series of updates to the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates’ proposed implementation of LIBOR reforms. In March 2020, the RFRWG published a roadmap for the discontinuation of new sterling LIBOR lending by the end of Q3 2020. The FCA, Bank of England and RFRWG now acknowledge that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will no longer be feasible to transition away from LIBOR across all sterling LIBOR-linked loans by this proposed deadline.

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Weighs in on LIBOR Transition with a mandatory additional LIBOR collateral haircut
    05/07/2020

    The Bank of England has published a market notice on risk management approaches to collateral referencing LIBOR for use in the Sterling Monetary Framework. The market risk notice applies to GBP LIBOR, USD LIBOR, EUR LIBOR, JPY LIBOR and CHF LIBOR. It states that from April 1, 2021, a haircut add-on will be applied to all LIBOR Linked Collateral maturing after December 31, 2021. LIBOR Linked Collateral is LIBOR Linked Loan Portfolios, Collateral Securities where the coupon pays interest calculated by reference to LIBOR, Collateral Securities where embedded swap payments are calculated by reference to LIBOR and Collateral Securities backed by loans where one or more loans in the portfolio is a LIBOR Linked Loan. The add-on will be 10% from April 1, 2021, 40% from September 1, 2021 and 100% from December 31, 2021.

    The market notice also stipulates that from April 2021, LIBOR Linked Collateral that matures after December 2021 will be ineligible for use in the Sterling Monetary Framework.

    View the market notice.
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Announces Preliminary Results of LIBOR Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Consultation
    04/15/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has announced the preliminary results of its consultation on pre-cessation fallbacks for LIBOR-referencing derivatives. The consultation was launched in February 2020, and sought industry responses on ISDA’s proposals to add a pre-cessation trigger to the LIBOR cessation fallbacks ISDA is proposing to implement in its standard documentation. The trigger would cause LIBOR-based derivative contracts to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority deemed LIBOR to be no longer representative.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Writes to G20 on COVID-19 Response
    04/14/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has published a letter from Randal K. Quarles, the FSB Chair, to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The letter highlights that the financial sector needs to respond to a "twin challenge": the increased demand for credit throughout the global economy and the uncertainty around the value of assets. The letter describes how the FSB and its member jurisdictions have responded to the pandemic to support local and global market functioning, discussing in particular, the steps taken to maintaining financial stability and supporting the real economy during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter also outlines the work to promote a global financial system that supports a strong recovery, including the FSB's prioritizing of certain areas, namely non-bank financial intermediation, the orderly transition away from LIBOR, utilizing technological innovation to assist in cybersecurity and promoting efficient and resilient cross-border payments.

    View the FSB's letter.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • UK Conduct Regulator: COVID-19 Will Not Impact LIBOR Deadline
    03/25/2020

    On March 25, 2020, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that COVID-19 is not expected to affect LIBOR preparations and the target date for LIBOR cessation of the end of 2021 still stands. The FCA does acknowledge, however, that some interim LIBOR milestones may not be met as a result of the pandemic, and it will continue to monitor the impact on such timelines carefully.
     
    View the FCA's statement on COVID-19 and LIBOR.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available at our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates Consults on Voluntary Compensation for Legacy Swaptions
    03/13/2020

    The EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates has launched a consultation on a proposed recommendation for voluntary compensation for legacy swaptions impacted by the CCP discounting transition to Euro Short-Term Rate (€STR). A Swaption is a type of interest-rate derivative contract. The CCP discounting switch from EONIA to €STR is planned for June 2020. The Working Group has identified that if the exercise date of swaptions is after the CCP transition date, the valuation of the products may change because of the discounting switch from EONIA to €STR. However, because the contracts are bilateral, the CCP compensation mechanism will not apply. The Working Group is seeking feedback on whether it should issue recommendations on the voluntary exchange of a cash compensation between bilateral counterparties to swaption contracts.

    The consultation closes on April 3, 2020.

    View the consultation paper.
  • Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates Publishes Roadmap for Ceasing New GBP LIBOR Lending by Q4 2020
    03/10/2020

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has published two documents relevant to the transition away from the use of LIBOR. The first is a statement on bond market conventions and the second is a path for discontinuation of new GBP LIBOR lending by the end of Q3 2020.

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Announces LIBOR Initiatives and Publishes Discussion Paper on Risk-Free Rates Transition
    02/26/2020

    Andrew Hauser, the Executive Directive of Markets at the Bank of England, today announced the launch of two significant initiatives to boost the U.K.’s transition away from sterling LIBOR. Firstly, the BoE intends to begin publishing a compounded Sterling Overnight Index Average index from July 2020, enabling market participants to construct compounded SONIA rates which can be used as a replacement reference rate for term LIBOR-linked instruments. Secondly, from October 2020, the BoE will progressively increase the haircuts applied to LIBOR-linked collateral placed with the BoE as security against central bank loans, with a final haircut of 100% by the end of 2021.

    Read more.
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Announces Results of LIBOR Fallbacks Consultation and New Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Consultation
    02/24/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has published the results of its consultation on fallbacks to be introduced into standard ISDA documentation based on alternative risk-free rates for EUR LIBOR and EURIBOR. The fallbacks would apply if the relevant IBOR were to be permanently discontinued. Respondents to the consultation agreed with ISDA’s proposed approach of adopting a compounded setting in arrears rate with a backward-shift adjustment and historical median over a five-year lookback period approach to address technical issues associated with the fallback rates. ISDA therefore intends to develop fallback provisions on this basis. It will publish an anonymized summary of the consultation feedback in the coming weeks.

    Read more.
  • EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates Publishes Report on Liquidity in EONIA transition
    02/19/2020

    The EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates has published a report setting out recommendations for the transition of financial products from EONIA to the Euro Short-Term Rate (€STR). The recommendations aim to ensure liquidity in €STR cash and derivatives products and include practical recommendations, such as replacing EONIA with €STR products at the earliest opportunity and communicating with customers and other market participants about the transition.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Highlights Vulnerabilities in Global Financial System
    02/18/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has written to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors outlining the key focus areas for the FSB’s work ahead of the next G20 summit in Saudi Arabia in November 2020. The communication builds on certain areas highlighted as priorities in the FSB’s 2020 Work Program, published in December 2019.

    Read more.
  • Further Consultation on Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Announced
    02/05/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has announced that it will be issuing later in February 2020 a further consultation on how to implement pre-cessation fallbacks. A “pre-cessation” trigger in derivative contracts would cause LIBOR-based contracts to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority deemed LIBOR no longer to be representative. 

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Outlines Priorities for Supervising Benchmark Administrators
    01/24/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has written to the CEOs of benchmark administrators that it supervises. In the letter, the FCA sets out its supervisory strategy as well as the potential harms that benchmark administrators pose to their customers and to the financial markets. The FCA is asking all benchmark administrators to consider the harm that their firm may present and to consider how those could be mitigated. The FCA intends to focus over the next two years on the following areas to ensure that its supervision of benchmark administrators mitigates the identified risks:
    • Quality of standards: the quality of an administrator's governance and controls, the information provided in their Benchmark Statement, their recalculation and cessation policies, their outsourcing arrangements and their approach to operational resilience; and
    • Excessive fees and costs: the FCA is concerned that competition may not be working well in the provision of benchmarks following the feedback received to its Wholesale Sector Competition Review and Asset Management Market Study. The FCA intends to carry out a Call for Input on access to data in wholesale markets so that it can gain a better understanding of the issues and determine whether any action is needed.
    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Wants Asset Management Sector to Reflect on Risks to Customers and Markets
    01/22/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published two letters addressed to the CEOs of firms in the asset management and funds sectors. The first letter is addressed to CEOs of FCA-authorized firms directly managing mainstream investment vehicles or advising on mainstream investments, excluding wealth managers and financial advisers. The second letter is addressed to CEOs of FCA-authorized firms managing alternative investment vehicles, such as hedge funds or private equity funds, or managing alternative assets directly or advising on these types of investments. The letters follow the FCA's report on its review of how firms in the asset management sector selected and used risk modeling and other portfolio management tools.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Clarifies Rules on Publication of Non-Representative LIBOR
    01/20/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has responded to a request from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association for clarification on the expected timeframes for publication of a non-representative LIBOR. The FCA (in conjunction with the Financial Stability Board) had previously requested ISDA to introduce “pre-cessation” triggers in its derivative contracts, causing LIBOR-based contracts to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the FCA deemed LIBOR to no longer be representative. ISDA requested clarity about the length of the period during which such a non-representative LIBOR might be published prior to its total cessation.

    Read more.
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Consults on Fallbacks Based on Alternative Risk-Free Rates For Derivatives Referencing EUR Libor and EURIBOR
    12/18/2019

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has launched a consultation in which it proposes to amend its standard documentation to implement fallbacks based on alternative risk-free rates for certain key Interbank Offered Rates - EUR LIBOR and EURIBOR. ISDA states that the back-ups will apply if the relevant IBOR is permanently discontinued, based on defined triggers. Responses to the consultation should be submitted to ISDA by January 21, 2020.
    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulatory Authority Responds on Prudential Impediments for Banks Arising from the LIBOR Transition
    12/18/2019

    The Prudential Regulation Authority has published a letter addressed to the Chair of the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates. The letter responds to the Working Group's letter in October 2019 requesting regulatory forbearance or clarification from regulators on the impact that the LIBOR transition is likely to have on the prudential requirements for banks. The main issues raised by the Working Group include: (i) the potential for certain capital instruments to no longer qualify as regulatory capital; (ii) the potential for securitizations and MREL-eligible instruments to be considered as "new contracts" as a result of changes to contractual terms, leading to the need to insert bail-in or other bank recovery contractual terms; and (iii) that many banks will need to obtain regulatory approvals for alterations to the models used to determine their regulatory capital arising from their exposures and risks.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Calls for Sustained Efforts to Migrate From LIBOR
    12/18/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published a progress report on reforms to major interest rate benchmarks. The report provides the FSB's annual update on progress taken by the official sector and market participants to move from interbank offered rates to overnight risk-free rates by the end of 2021 in line with the FSB's 2014 recommendations. The FSB highlights that the continued reliance by global financial markets on LIBOR poses significant financial stability risks and urges all participants to continue with their efforts to transition to the alternative risk-free rates. The FSB also warns regulated firms to expect increased examination from regulators of their efforts to transition as the end of 2021 approaches.

    View the report.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes 2020 Work Program
    12/17/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published its work program for 2020. The FSB confirms that it will continue to monitor developments to identify and manage new and emerging risks, work to finalize the outstanding components of the post-crisis reforms and assess the implementation of reforms as well as their effects. Key areas of focus will be:
    • LIBOR transition: the FSB will monitor implementation of the benchmark reforms and report on outstanding issues.
    • Global stablecoins: the FSB will launch a consultation on global stablecoins in April 2020.
    • Global payment systems: the FSB will work with other international bodies to develop and deliver a roadmap for using digital innovations to improve global cross-border payments.
    • FinTech: the FSB will report on the perspective of emerging market and developing economies.

    View the FSB work program for 2020.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Sets Out Conduct Expectations of Firms For LIBOR Transition
    11/19/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement on conduct risk during the LIBOR transition, which is due to be completed by the end of 2021. The statement is in the form of questions and answers and sets out the FCA's expectations of firms relating to governance and accountability, replacing LIBOR with alternative rates in existing contracts, offering new products with alternative rates, communicating with customers about the transition from LIBOR and best practice for firms investing on behalf of clients.

    View the FCA's statement.
  • Financial Stability Board’s LIBOR Steering Group Encourages ISDA to Roll Out Pre-Cessation Trigger
    11/15/2019

    The co-Chairs of the Financial Stability Board’s Official Sector Steering Group, whose work focuses on interest rate benchmarks that are deemed to play a critical role in the global financial system, have written to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association requesting that it includes a “pre-cessation trigger” alongside the cessation trigger in its standard language in derivatives contracts, via either definitions for new contracts or in a single protocol (without embedded optionality) for outstanding contracts. The pre-cessation trigger would cause a LIBOR-based contract to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, as the regulator of LIBOR, deemed that LIBOR was no longer representative. 

    Read more.
  • Working Group on Euro Risk-Free Rates Makes Recommendations for €STR Fall-Back Arrangements
    11/12/2019

    The European Central Bank has published a report by the working group on euro risk-free rates on €STR fall-back arrangements. The EU Benchmark Regulation requires regulated entities to have put in place written plans on the steps that they would take should a benchmark used in their contracts be materially amended or ceases. The Working Group recommends that instead of selecting an alternative rate, regulated entities should take into account the ECB's regular review of €STR's methodology and the policies and procedures for the possible cessation of €STR, together with the use of contractual fallbacks.

    View the report.
  • EU Recommendations on Financial Accounting Implications of Transition to €STR
    11/05/2019

    The European Central Bank has published a report by the working group on euro risk-free rates on the financial accounting implications of the transition from EONIA to €STR and the introduction of €STR-based fallbacks for EURIBOR. 

    Read more.
  • Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates Asks Regulators to Act on Prudential Impediments to LIBOR Transition
    10/23/2019

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has written to the Prudential Regulation Authority raising issues in the banking prudential regulation regime that, in its view, will require changes and/or regulatory forbearance if a smooth transition from LIBOR to SONIA is to be achieved. Although the letter focuses on the U.K. regime, the issues are likely to be relevant globally.

    Read more.
  • European Central Bank Publishes Report on the Risk Management Implications of the Euro Risk-Free Rates Provisions
    10/17/2019

    The European Central Bank has published a report on the risk management implications of the upcoming move away from the Euro Overnight Index Average (the overnight reference rate for the euro) and EURIBOR (the term reference rate for the euro) to alternative risk-free rates. Both EONIA and EURIBOR were identified as critical benchmarks for the purposes of the EU Benchmarks Regulation. 

    Read more.
  • Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates Publishes Summary of Responses to Discussion Paper on SONIA Referencing Conventions
    08/07/2019

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has published a summary of the responses it received to its March 2019 discussion paper on conventions for referencing SONIA in new financial contracts.

    Read more.
  • European Central Bank Announces Publication Time for Euro Short-Term Rate
    07/26/2019

    The European Central Bank has announced the publication time for the new Euro short-term rate (or €STR) that will come into effect from October 2, 2019. €STR will represent the wholesale euro unsecured overnight borrowing costs of banks located in the euro area. The ECB has also published the final version of its Guideline in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Guideline is addressed to all Eurosystem central banks and will govern the rate and establish the responsibilities of the ECB and national central banks in determining and administering the rate.

    Read more.
  • Reformed EONIA Publication Times Confirmed
    07/24/2019

    The European Money Markets Institute has announced that EONIA will be published daily at or soon after 9:15 CET, as from October 2, 2019.

    Read more.
  • EURIBOR Benchmark Statement Published
    07/17/2019

    The European Money Markets Institute has published a Benchmark Statement on the administration of Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). Earlier in July this year, the EMMI obtained authorization as the administrator of Euribor, which is a critical benchmark under the EU Benchmark Regulation. EMMI has made reforms to Euribor in order to ensure it meets the requirements of the Regulation, including adopting a new hybrid methodology, the phased implementation of which will be completed by the end of 2019.

    View EMMI's announcement and the Benchmark Statement.
  • Recommended Legal Action Plan for Transition from EONIA to €STR
    07/16/2019

    Following its consultation earlier this year, the working group charged with implementing the European market's move away from EONIA, has published a recommended legal action plan for new and legacy contracts referencing EONIA. The implementation of the recommended legal measures is intended to address issues arising from the transition from EONIA to the euro short-term rate (known as €STR). €STR is a risk-free rate and, with a fixed spread, will replace EONIA as a reference rate in a variety of euro-denominated financial contracts, including derivatives, collateral remuneration for derivatives and cash products such as commercial paper, repurchase agreements and default interest payable under syndicated loans.

    Read more.
  • European Central Bank Requests Benchmark Transition Plans from Large Eurozone Banks
    07/03/2019

    The Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, Andrea Enria, has written a "Dear CEO" letter to the larger Eurozone banks on their preparation for the transition from interest rate benchmarks to risk-free-rates. The ECB is responsible for direct prudential supervision of certain significant banks based in the Eurozone as part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism. The ECB is seeking assurance from these banks that they have plans in place to address the transition from interest rate benchmarks to risk-free-rates, focusing on the transition from the Euro overnight index average, EONIA, to the Euro short-term rate - €STR - as a euro risk-free rate. EONIA will be calculated as €STR plus a fixed spread, from October 2, 2019, which is when €STR will be launched. EONIA is due to cease entirely from the beginning of 2022.

    The ECB is requesting the significant Eurozone banks to provide: (i) a summary of the key risks to the reform of benchmarks; (ii) a detailed action plan on how to address those risks and pricing issues as well as implement process changes; and (iii) contact details for those at the firm overseeing the transition.

    View the letter.

    View details of the new EONIA methodology.
  • UK Regulator Publishes Findings from LIBOR Review
    06/05/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a report summarizing the preparations that firms are making for the market transition away from LIBOR to alternative risk-free rates by the end of 2021. The report is based on feedback from firms in response to the joint Dear CEO letter sent to major banks and insurers by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority, which sought information on the action firms were taking to prepare for the phase-out of LIBOR. The report also includes suggestions for how firms might enhance their preparations.

    Read more.
  • EONIA Methodology and One-Off Spread Confirmed
    05/31/2019

    The European Money Markets Institute has adopted the EONIA working group's proposed methodology for calculating EONIA's replacement rate. The new methodology, dubbed "€STR" (or the "Euro short term rate"), will take effect as of October 2, 2019. In line with the adoption of the €STR, the European Central Bank has calculated the average risk spread between the new €STR and the existing EONIA rate as 0.0085% (8.5 basis points). The spread will be used for a limited period to calculate an adjusted EONIA rate for all existing contracts which continue to reference EONIA following the introduction of the €STR in October 2019.

    Read more.
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Consults Further on Fallbacks for the Cessation of Benchmarks
    05/16/2019

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has published two consultation papers on fallbacks for benchmarks. The first consultation paper concerns proposed amendments to ISDA's standard documentation to implement fallbacks based on alternative risk-free rates for certain key Interbank Offered Rates (USD LIBOR, Hong Kong's HIBOR, Canada's CDOR and Singapore's SOR), should the relevant IBOR be permanently discontinued. ISDA is intending to amend and restate the rate options in the 2006 ISDA Definitions to ensure that a fallback will apply to derivative transactions entered into on or after the effective date of the amendments and incorporate the 2006 ISDA Definitions. ISDA also intends to publish a protocol to help ensure inclusion of the fallbacks in pre-existing derivative transactions. This consultation follows ISDA's consultation last July on these changes for GBP LIBOR, CHF LIBOR, JPY LIBOR, TIBOR, Euroyen TIBOR and BBSW. ISDA confirms that the feedback to that July 2018 consultation indicates that market participants prefer the "compounded setting in arrears rate" to address the difference in tenors, and the "historical mean/median approach" to address the difference in risk premia. Based on the feedback to both of these consultations, ISDA intends to implement fallbacks for the relevant benchmarks by the end of 2019.

    Read more.
  • EONIA Working Group Seeks Feedback on Implementation of Euro Risk-Free Rates
    05/15/2019

    The working group charged with implementing the European market's move away from EONIA, the current reference rate used in euro-denominated financial contracts, has published a consultation paper setting out its "Legal Action Plan" for transitioning to the chosen new euro short-term rate. The current consultation paper focuses on how the new rate should be incorporated into both new and existing financial contracts so as to ensure a swift and smooth transition from EONIA. The paper seeks feedback from market participants on its proposals. Responses should be sent by June 12, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Rates Publishes Discussion Paper on SONIA Referencing Conventions
    03/18/2019

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Rates has published a discussion paper aimed at raising awareness for market participants of the conventions for referencing SONIA in new financial contracts. The paper focuses on the most significant conventions for contracts that reference SONIA directly. The paper concludes with a series of questions for market participants, who should submit responses by April 30, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Working Group on Euro Risk-Free Rates Publishes Guiding Principles for Fallback Provisions in New Non-Derivative Contracts
    01/21/2019

    The European Central Bank working group on euro risk-free rates has published guiding principles for fallback provisions in new contracts for euro-denominated cash products. Noting the work that is being undertaken by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association on fall-backs for derivatives referencing EURIBOR and other IBOR rates, the guidelines focus on non-derivative “cash products”, such as mortgages, loans, securitizations, covered bonds and secured finance transactions.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Progress Report on Reforming Major Interest Rate Benchmarks
    11/14/2018

    The Financial Stability Board has published a progress report on ongoing reforms to major interest rate benchmarks. The FSB has been co-ordinating international reform work, through its Official Sector Steering Group, since 2014, when it made several recommendations aimed at addressing cases of attempted manipulation in relation to key IBORs and the decline in liquidity in certain interbank unsecured funding markets. The OSSG launched a third major initiative in 2016, to improve contract robustness to address risks of discontinuation of widely-used interest rate benchmarks. That initiative is being led by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, which launched a consultation on fallback rates in July 2018.

    The progress report provides an update since the FSB's progress report in October 2017 and covers:
     
    1. Developments in Interbank Offered Rates, including discussion of the future of LIBOR.
    2. Identification of and transition to risk-free rates, where appropriate, for transactions denominated in USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CHF, AUD, BRL, CAD, HKD, MXN, SGD and ZAR.
    3. The development of fallback rates to enhance contractual robustness.

    The FSB proposes to publish a further progress report in late 2019.

    View the progress report.

    View details of the October 2017 progress report.

    View details of ISDA's July 2018 consultation on fallback rates.

    View FSB statement welcoming ISDA's July 2018 consultation.
  • European Money Markets Institute Launches Second Consultation on Hybrid Methodology for Euribor
    11/12/2018

    The European Money Markets Institute has published a second consultation paper (dated October 17, 2018) on its proposals to introduce a hybrid determination methodology for the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). EMMI is the administrator for Euribor, a major euro interest reference rate for unsecured interbank short-term lending and borrowing. Euribor was classed as a critical benchmark of systemic importance for financial stability by the European Commission in 2016.

    The consultation paper sets out a summary of EMMI's findings during the testing phase for the newly proposed hybrid methodology, which took place between May and July 2018, and provides details on EMMI's proposals for the different methodological parameters that were yet to be specified when EMMI's first consultation was issued in March 2018. The consultation paper seeks feedback from market participants on a number of questions on aspects of the proposed methodology.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulators Ask Large Banks and Insurers for LIBOR Transition Plans
    09/19/2018

    The Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority have published letters addressed to the CEOs of the largest banks and insurers supervised in the U.K. asking for confirmation of each firm's preparations for transition from LIBOR to risk-free rates. The regulators are requesting these firms to provide the following by December 14, 2018:
    • A summary of the firm's assessment of key risks relating to LIBOR discontinuation and details of actions the firm intends to take to mitigate those risks, approved by the board; and
    • The names of the Senior Manager(s) responsible for the provision of the firm's response to the letter and for implementing its transition plans.

    The letter relates to the ongoing global benchmark reform effort instigated by the Financial Stability Board, in particular, the transition from LIBOR to alternative rates by the end of 2021. Firms that have not received the letter are not subject to the information request, but the regulators ask those firms to nevertheless consider their LIBOR transition plans, where relevant.

    View the letters.
  • Working Group Recommends Replacement of EONIA With New Euro Short-Term Rate
    09/13/2018

    The European Central Bank has announced its recommendation of the Euro short-term rate - STR - as a euro risk-free rate by a private sector working group. The group also recommends that €STR replaces the Euro overnight index average, EONIA, because EONIA no longer complies with the EU Benchmark Regulation and will be restricted from January 1, 2020. The recommendations of the working group are not legally binding.

    Read more.
  • UK Working Group Outlines Risk Mitigation Considerations for Bond Market Participants During Transition From LIBOR
    07/23/2018

    The U.K. Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has published a paper to raise awareness among market participants of some of the current market uncertainties surrounding issuance of long-dated bonds referencing LIBOR. The Working Group is tasked with helping to bring about broad-based transition to the Sterling Overnight Index Average rate by end-2021 across Sterling bond, loan and derivative markets. SONIA has been selected as the preferred alternative risk-free rate for Sterling and, among other work, the Working Group is in the process of developing market conventions for SONIA-linked bonds. A key milestone for the Working Group will be its publication, later in 2018, of best practice for referencing SONIA in bond markets.

    In the paper, the Working Group outlines some of the risks faced by bond market participants who are continuing to issue, offer and purchase new Sterling bonds referencing LIBOR, in particular where those bonds are long-dated. "Long-dated" refers to bonds set to mature beyond the end of 2021, when banks' commitments to submit data for purposes of LIBOR are due to end. The Working Group suggests certain steps market participants could take to mitigate some of the risks arising where LIBOR continues to be referenced in new Sterling bonds issued in the interim period before market conventions and infrastructure for referencing alternatives to LIBOR are fully developed.

    View the paper.
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