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Paul Forrester is a respected corporate finance and securities lawyer whose practice is especially focused on structured credit, including collateralized loan obligations, energy (including oil and gas, utilities, shipping, refinery and pipeline) financings and project development, and financing (especially concerning renewable energy, industrial, petrochemical, power and transportation projects and infrastructure).

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Despite recent regulatory “encouragement” to adopt SOFR as “preferred” by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), we continue to observe credit agreements in the US loan markets that use a credit-sensitive alternative rate (CSR) to SOFR.

In fact, a recent check of public filings showed eight reported credit agreements that used a CSR, specifically the

On 21 July 2021, the U.S. Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) announced the publication of conventions and use cases for employing Term SOFR, as produced by CME Group, in transitioning loan products away from LIBOR. Although the ARRC has not yet recommended the use of Term SOFR, it published these new resources in anticipation of announcing shortly a formal recommendation for the use of Term SOFR “across financial markets.”

While generally helpful to support a smooth transition, the ARRC noted that Term SOFR will be especially helpful in the business loans market, particularly multi-lender facilities, middle market loans, and trade finance facilities, as well as in limited cases of hedges and securitizations tied to term rates.


Continue Reading Almost Time for Term SOFR

On July 6, 2021, the Financial Stability Board released its latest Progress Report to the G20 on LIBOR Transition Issues. The report finds that, given the extent of risks associated with a failure to prepare adequately for the transition, the onus of action is on market participants. The FSB believes that the tools necessary to complete the transition are currently available, and have been for some time. Over the past several years, market participants have established mechanisms to use compounded risk-free rates (RFRs) not only in derivative markets, where use of RFRs was already common, but also in the cash markets. Firms now have certainty about the cessation timeline, and the fixing of spread adjustments by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) creates a clear economic link between LIBOR and selected RFRs, providing clarity for market participants to engage in discussions about active transition of LIBOR referencing contracts that expire after end-2021.

Continue Reading Financial Stability Board Releases Latest Progress Report on LIBOR Transition, Urging Action to Complete Transition by Year-End and Calling Out the Loan Markets

By now most, if not all, financial market participants know that the recommended alternative for the London InterBank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) for U.S. Dollars is the Secured Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”). Many also are aware that, in addition to SOFR, five additional benchmark rates and/or spread adjustments have been proposed to replace LIBOR. These alternative benchmarks generally capture the cost of unsecured bank borrowing, which is the cost that LIBOR also reflects and which is a rate that is more relevant to the way many banks fund themselves than SOFR, which is a secured overnight rate based on transactions in U.S. Treasury securities.

Continue Reading Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Muse; Which LIBOR Alternative Shall I Choose?

Testimony at a virtual hearing on Thursday, April 15, 2021, of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets of the US House Committee on Financial Services reinforced regulatory support for federal legislation to facilitate the transition from LIBOR.

Continue Reading Recent Congressional Hearing Indicates that Federal LIBOR Transition Assistance Law Increasingly Likely

On April 7, 2021, the proposed New York “legislative solution” for legacy USD LIBOR contracts became Article 18-C of the New York General Obligations Law. Article 18-C is primarily aimed at USD LIBOR contracts, securities or instruments (e.g., floating rate notes (“FRNs”), loans, securitizations and mortgages) with the 2006 ISDA Definitions LIBOR fallbacks, or no fallback provisions at all, and which are governed by New York law. This article focuses on the law’s effect on USD LIBOR FRNs.

Continue Reading The New York LIBOR Legislative Solution Becomes Law

In a flurry of legislative activity on 24 March 2021, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed bills that, once signed by Governor Cuomo, will facilitate the transition from LIBOR of “tough legacy” contracts that are governed by New York law and that do not include adequate interest rate fallback provisions that contemplate a

On March 9, 2021, the US Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“FRB”) issued SR 21-7, Assessing Supervised Institutions’ Plans to Transition Away from the Use of the LIBOR, providing guidance to its bank examiners on how to assess the progress of supervised institutions in preparing to transition away from U.S. dollar (USD) LIBOR as a reference rate.[1] This guidance is intended to complement the Interagency Statement on LIBOR Transition that FRB issued in November 2020, which encouraged supervised firms to cease entering into new contracts that reference LIBOR as soon as practicable and noted that entering into such contracts after December 31, 2020, would create safety and soundness risks.

Continue Reading US FRB Issues Examiner Guidance for Assessing LIBOR Transition Progress

On 5 March 2021, ICE Benchmark Administration (“IBA”), the administrator of LIBOR, released the much anticipated feedback statement (“Cessation Statement”) reporting the results of its 4 December 2020 Consultation on Potential Cessation. IBA consulted on the issue of LIBOR publication cessation because “a majority of LIBOR panel banks had communicated to IBA that they would not be willing to continue contributing to the relevant LIBOR settings after [the proposed cessation] dates.” Pursuant to the Cessation Statement, IBA intends to cease publication of (i) all GBP, EUR, CHF and JPY LIBOR settings, and the 1 Week and 2 Month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on 31 December 2021, and (ii) the Overnight and 1, 3, 6 and 12 Month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on 30 June 2023, subject to any rights of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), the regulatory supervisor of IBA, to compel IBA to continue publication using a changed methodology. Individual non-confidential responses to the consultation, of the 55 responses received, can be viewed on the IBA website.

Continue Reading IBA Sets LIBOR Publication Cessation Dates and Triggers a LIBOR Transition Event

In testimony on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Jerome Powell, responded to questions regarding LIBOR transition from Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman of the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets Subcommittee. Sherman had asked Powell: “In your view, is it necessary to have federal legislation to have a smooth transition after June 2023 when LIBOR is no longer published?”

Continue Reading US FRB Chair Powell Signals Support for Federal LIBOR Transition Assistance Legislation