Financial Regulatory Forum

Clearinghouses’ default “waterfall” offers no panacea against their potential failure

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Apr. 10, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The push of derivative contracts into central counterparties (CCP) – also known as clearinghouses — has been underway for more than five years, yet it remains unclear how these entities would fare under stressed market conditions in the U.S. (more…)

EXCLUSIVE: Credit derivatives market can expect specific rules, says regulator

By Rachel Wolcott, Compliance Complete

LONDON, Oct. 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Credit derivatives dealers can expect to see specific rules and regulations to address some of the peculiarities of that market, said Edouard Vieillefond, director in charge of regulation policy and international affairs at French regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). Despite the huge amount of regulation already aimed at the broader derivatives market, there is concern that it will be insufficient to cover continuing questions that regulators have about its functioning.

“The question is will the reform currently under finalisation or implementation, such as EMIR in Europe, be enough? Credit default swaps are derivatives on credit that look like insurance products. They are so specific they may deserve specific treatment and additional regulatory requirements or perhaps a better harmonisation of the prudential and the traditional market conduct regulation,” Vieillefond told Compliance Complete. (more…)

Short-selling and CDS regulation in EU: Less to nakedness than meets the eye, funds and firms argue

By Peter Elstob

LONDON/NEW YORK, March 5 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Regulators and market participants continue to differ fundamentally over when a credit default swap should be deemed to be uncovered, or ‘naked’, and when investors are using CDS as a legitimate hedge. If a sovereign CDS can be demonstrated to be hedging counterparty or systemic risk, it can be exempted from the provisions of the proposed European short-selling regulation, which is aimed at abusive use of sovereign CDS by financial institutions to bet against countries’ debt.

Trade bodies argue that regulators should recognize various forms of ‘proxy’ hedging, including buying CDS for the debt of countries other than the one where the institution’s exposure lies — so-called ‘cross-border’ hedging’ — and ‘tail-risk’ hedges that may or may not turn out to have been necessary over a given period. They believe that the short-selling regulation (level 1) does not ban these strategies, and they should therefore be permitted (and so qualify for exemptions) in the detailed rules (level 2) that the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is still drawing up. (more…)

Cost-benefit lawsuits snarl Dodd-Frank implementation

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A financial industry lawsuit seeking to block new U.S. rules on commodity position limits on the grounds that they lack an adequate cost-benefit analysis could cause regulators to slow their implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul and be an indicator of more such challenges. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is saying it will resist efforts to block the law.  (more…)

Links to CDS measures growing common in bank credit deals (Westlaw Business)

The American International Group (AIG) building is seen in New York, March 24, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonBy Erik Krusch

Jan. 10 (Westlaw Business) –  Credit terms are loosening, but lenders are still after their proverbial pound of flesh. Consider AIG and AT&T’s recent credit agreements, which link each loan’s interest rate to the corporations’ credit default swaps (CDS). Lenders are also insulating themselves from risk with London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) floors, such as the one undergirding healthcare technology company MedAssets’ recent term loan. In a similar vein, bankers installed an original issue discount (OID) in construction materials maker Armstrong World Industries’ recent term loan. Lenders are doing their due diligence and weighing risks in order to concoct the right mix of interest rate terms in hopes of protecting their capital going forward. (more…)

LCH highlights challenge in derivatives regulation

By Huw Jones

LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) – LCH.Clearnet moved to reassure markets on Tuesday that its capital base was adequate despite a ratings downgrade at a time when regulators are finalising laws to force banks to clear vast numbers of derivatives.

Standard & Poor’s placed LCH.Clearnet’s rating on “negative credit watch” last week after one of its biggest customers, the transatlantic exchange NYSE Euronext said it would stop using the Anglo-French clearer from late 2012.

“The clearing activity itself is not dependent upon the creditworthiness of the clearing house,” LCH.Clearnet Chief Executive Roger Liddell told an industry conference.

SNAP ANALYSIS – Goldman charges give lift to Lincoln US swaps bill

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) – Bombshell fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, one of the largest swaps dealers on Wall Street, give new impetus to a tough derivatives reform bill proposed by Senate Agriculture Chairman Blanche Lincoln on Friday.

The bill must be meshed with other proposals that are part of Congressional efforts to reform the financial regulatory system. But Lincoln is now placed to play a leading role in the debate on how the final package will impact on the $450 trillion over-the-counter swaps market.

With one eye to the November mid-term elections, the bill could find support from lawmakers keen to take a stand against excess on Wall Street. But it is unclear whether the White House would support going this far.

Japan’s FSA to regulate CDS clearinghouse participation-Nikkei

   April 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) plans to introduce a capital requirement for credit default swap clearinghouses and an accreditation system for their major shareholders, the Nikkei business daily reported. (more…)

U.S. trial over credit-default-swaps tests laws on insider trading

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK, April 7 (Reuters) – Were conversations between a bond salesman and a trader over credit default swaps a case of illegal insider trading? Or were they just part of the sharing of information that typically occurs in negotiations over high-yield bonds?

That depended on who was arguing in court on Wednesday as a trial began of Deutsche Bank AG bond salesman John-Paul Rorech and former Millennium Partners hedge fund portfolio manager Renato Negrin on civil insider trading charges.

The trial is a signature case for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, its first enforcement involving credit default swaps, financial instruments used to insure against the default of debt issuers. Legal experts consider the case a test of whether regulators can make insider trading cases in the unregulated market for the swaps.

FACTBOX – How does the EU plan to shake up financial services?

BRUSSELS, April 7 (Reuters) – The European Union (EU) is embarking on an overhaul of financial services that politicians hope will send bankers back to their roots of no-frills lending to households and business.

Michel Barnier is the EU commissioner in charge of the shake up on regulations ranging from curbs on banker pay to a clampdown on speculators betting on government debt.

Here is a guide to the overhaul:

* One of Barnier’s priorities is writing a rule book for trading derivatives, a financial instrument whose value is linked to an asset such as a government bond or currency.

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