BIS Considers Strengthening OTC Derivatives Market

The Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) of the Bank for International Settlements have issued two consultative reports containing proposals aimed at strengthening the OTC derivatives market.


According to the committees, the financial crisis highlighted a severe lack of market transparency in OTC derivatives markets. As an important step in addressing this issue, OTC derivatives market participants, with the support of the regulatory community, are committed to establishing and making use of trade repositories. A TR in OTC derivatives markets is a centralised registry that maintains an electronic database of open OTC derivative transaction records.


In response to the recent financial crisis, authorities in many jurisdictions have set out important policy initiatives encouraging greater use of CCPs for OTC derivatives markets. Recently, several CCPs have begun to provide clearing and settlement services for OTC credit default swaps. A CCP interposes itself between counterparties to financial transactions, acting as the buyer to every seller and the seller to every buyer.


The first report, "Guidance on the application of the 2004 CPSS-IOSCO Recommendations for Central Counterparties (RCCP) to OTC derivatives CCPs," presents guidance for central counterparties (CCPs) that clear over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives products.


The second report, "Considerations for trade repositories in OTC derivatives markets," presents a set of considerations for trade repositories (TRs) in OTC derivatives markets and for relevant authorities over TRs.


The committees argue that a well-designed CCP can reduce the risks and uncertainties faced by market participants and contribute to financial stability. As the greater use of CCPs for OTC derivatives will increase their systemic importance, it is critical that their risk management should be robust and comprehensive. Moreover, because of the complex risk characteristics and market design of OTC derivatives products, clearing them safely and efficiently through a CCP raises more complex issues than the clearing of exchange-traded or cash products does.


These issues were not fully discussed in the 2004 report of the existing RCCP. Consequently, the CPSS and the Technical Committee of IOSCO have identified such issues and developed international guidance tailored to the unique characteristics of OTC derivatives products and markets. The aim is to promote consistent interpretation, understanding and implementation of the RCCP across CCPs that handle OTC derivatives.


Recognising the growing importance of TRs in enhancing market transparency and supporting clearing and settlement arrangements for OTC derivatives transactions, the CPSS and the Technical Committee of IOSCO have developed a set of factors that should be considered by TRs in designing and operating their services and by relevant authorities in regulating and overseeing TRs.




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