Following the discussion and status set out in our September 2020 blog post, Proposal for a Governmental IBOR Transition in the European Union, the proposed amendment to the EU Benchmark Regulation (“BMR”) has been developed further and a consolidated version published reflecting the text agreed by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

Continue Reading Update on the Proposal for a Governmental IBOR Transition in the European Union

Following the implementation of the EU Benchmark Regulation (“BMR”), the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (“EURIBOR”) was modified to a hybrid methodology that relies on a three-level waterfall that prioritises the use of real transaction data when available from a group of 18 quoting European banks. As a result, EURIBOR is considered compliant under the BMR, and its administrator, the European Money Markets Institute (“EMMI”), is authorized and registered under Article 34 of the BMR. Therefore, the use of EURIBOR is expected to continue, subject to periodic reassessment in accordance with the BMR, and the financial and capital markets do not need to transition to a replacement benchmark, as is the case with many other IBORs.

Nonetheless, in January 2019 and November 2019 the Working Group on Euro Risk-Free Rates (“Euro Working Group”) published general principles and recommendations to the market with respect to the inclusion of fallback provisions in contracts that reference EURIBOR, to mitigate the risks of a temporary or permanent cessation and to make these contracts future proof. This action was in line BMR requirements that EU supervised entities provide robust written plans to address the unavailability of benchmarks including EURIBOR and implement such plans in new contracts.


Continue Reading In Search of a Common Market Standard for EURIBOR Fallback Clauses

Many IBOR remediation projects raise a basic question: How do you find, collect, review, and remediate the right contracts? A company might have thousands of contracts that need to be repapered, and those contracts might be scattered throughout electronic file systems and hardcopy records.

Fortunately, litigators have spent the past few decades wrestling with very similar questions, which crop up in the discovery process in any large-scale modern litigation. As the number of discoverable electronic documents exploded over time, litigators began developing sophisticated processes for finding, collecting, and reviewing them so that they could be produced to opposing counsel or used at trial. Those time-tested e-discovery techniques can be applied to IBOR remediation projects.


Continue Reading e-Discovery and IBOR Remediation: Similar Techniques, Different Goals

In response to the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s proposed discontinuation of LIBOR, Japan, like other countries that rely on LIBOR as the preferred reference rate, has had to consider alternatives for its reference rate that uses USD LIBOR as a component.

In 2019, the Cross Industry Committee on Japanese Yen Interest Rate Benchmarks, together with

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) is the front-line regulator for licensed banks and deposit-taking companies (“AIs” or “authorised institutions”) in Hong Kong. LIBOR is used extensively in the Hong Kong banking sector. According to survey results released by HKMA in July 2020, LIBOR-linked products represented 30% and 11% respectively of the banking system’s total assets and total liabilities denominated in foreign currencies as of March 2020. In addition, there were about HK$35 trillion worth of derivative contracts referencing LIBOR.

The reform of the benchmark interest rate has significant implications for AIs in Hong Kong. HKMA has issued a number of Circulars to AIs regarding benchmark rate reforms since March 2019, requiring AIs to get ready for the transition. Similar to the regulators in other jurisdictions, HKMA mainly focuses on bank conduct and treat-customer-fairly principles, and readiness of systems and operations ahead of the transition.


Continue Reading IBOR Transition – Hong Kong Regulatory Guidance

On November 30, 2020, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“IBA”) announced its intention, in early December 2020, to consult on the proposed cessation of the publication of:

  • the one-week and two-month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021; and
  • the overnight and one-, three-, six- and 12-month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on June 30, 2023.

IBA expects to close the consultation for feedback by the end of January 2021. IBA also noted that any publication of the overnight and one-, three-, six- and 12-month USD LIBOR settings based on panel bank submissions beyond December 31, 2021, will need to comply with applicable regulations, including as to representativeness.


Continue Reading ICE Benchmark Administration to Consult Regarding Cessation of 1-Week and 2-Month USD LIBOR by December 31, 2021, and of Other Tenors by June 30, 2023

The Bank of Thailand currently administers and publishes two reference rates:

  1. the Thai Baht Interest Rate Fixing (“THBFIX”), which uses USD LIBOR as a component, and is more widely used as a reference rate for (a) derivatives, notes and loans, and (b) market-to-market valuations; and
  2. the Bangkok Interbank Offered Rate (“BIBOR”), which is a forward

The Steering Committee for the Singapore Dollar Swap Offer Rate (“SOR”) transition to the Singapore Overnight Rate Average (“SORA”) has actively facilitated the transition from SOR to SORA. Singapore has been leading the charge in Asia on LIBOR transition matters, with many industry leaders making early shifts towards SORA as the new interest rate benchmark to replace US Dollar LIBOR-linked SOR, which traditionally has been used to price bonds and loans to large institutions.

Continue Reading Transition from Singapore Dollar Swap Offer Rate to Singapore Overnight Rate Average – An Update

On November 18, 2020, ICE Benchmark Administration (“IBA”), the authorized administrator of LIBOR regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), announced that it will consult on its intention to cease publication of all tenors of euro, sterling, Swiss franc and yen LIBOR after December 31, 2021, subject to confirmation following IBA’s consultation and any rights of the FCA to compel continued publication by IBA. IBA is still in discussions with the FCA, official sector bodies, and panel banks regarding the future of US Dollar LIBOR.

Continue Reading “The End is Nigh”: UK FCA Issues Consultations Regarding Expected New Benchmark Powers in Response to ICE Benchmark Announcement; ISDA Issues Related Statement

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the “Agencies”) released an Interagency Statement on Reference Rates for Loans on November 6, 2020, in which they reiterated that they do not endorse SOFR—the Secured Overnight Financing Rate—or any other specific replacement rate for the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), for use in loan transactions.

Continue Reading “To SOFR or Not to SOFR?”: Prudential Banking Regulators Encourage Fallback Provisions to an “Appropriate” LIBOR Replacement Rate