ARRC issues updated guidance on the scope of Term SOFR
The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) issued updated guidance regarding the scope of use for Term Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) derivatives. This is a positive development for financial institutions that intend to use Term SOFR as an alternative rate as they transition away from LIBOR.
There are various non-LIBOR rate alternatives to consider, and Chatham does not recommend a particular alternative. Each financial institution should evaluate and determine which non-LIBOR alternative is best for their institution.
On July 29, the ARRC officially recommended Term SOFR and released best practices related to its use. At that time, the ARRC stated that, pursuant to the Financial Stability Board mandate to increase robustness in the risk-free rate market, the use of Term SOFR derivatives should be limited to end-users hedging cash products. This limited endorsement raised concerns for community and regional financial institutions that could be at a competitive disadvantage if customers sought Term SOFR financing with a Term SOFR swap to fix the debt service, but the institution could not undertake an equal and offsetting hedge with a dealer.
Chatham immediately collaborated with individuals from the ARRC, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Federal Reserve Board, and various market participants to ensure that attention was given to this lack of clarity in the endorsement and to advocate on behalf of our financial institution clients. We are pleased by this announcement and hopeful that it clears an obstacle for those institutions planning to implement Term SOFR.
The revised scope of use reiterates that end users may wish to hedge cash products that reference Term SOFR with Term SOFR derivatives and that the ARRC supports such use. Relative to this recommendation, an end user is described as any party to the underlying cash product, such as a borrower, lender, or guarantor. These parties may then enter into Term SOFR swaps, caps, swaptions, or other derivatives to hedge cash product exposure or a portfolio of exposures and may also adjust or unwind these exposures, including by way of novation. Importantly, a financial institution that is not a CFTC-registered Swap Dealer or interdealer market maker in interest rate derivatives may also offset such exposure with an upstream dealer.
The ARRC re-emphasized that it does not endorse the use of Term SOFR derivatives for most of the market, including CFTC-registered Swap Dealers, and encourages the use of derivatives based on SOFR overnight and SOFR averages where possible, even for end users. The ARRC is not a supervisory body and it is important that you remain in communication with your regulators to determine the permissible rates for your financial institution.
The ARRC previously selected the CME to be the administrator of Term SOFR, and use of Term SOFR in this manner shall also be in accordance with the CME’s licensing terms. You can find information regarding these terms here which are subject to change.
Today, it is not possible to execute a Term SOFR derivative in the marketplace. The original endorsement and this updated guidance, combined with the SOFR First Initiative, should allow for this market to develop. We cannot address, however, how quickly Term SOFR swaps will be provided by swap dealers at this time.
We will continue to advocate for our clients and assist them in the evaluation process of these alternative rates.
Please contact us to discuss this or any other LIBOR discontinuation topic in more detail.
Chatham Hedging Advisors, LLC (CHA) is a subsidiary of Chatham Financial Corp. and provides hedge advisory, accounting and execution services related to swap transactions in the United States. CHA is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a commodity trading advisor and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA); however, neither the CFTC nor the NFA have passed upon the merits of participating in any advisory services offered by CHA. For further information, please visit chathamfinancial.com/legal-notices.
Transactions in over-the-counter derivatives (or “swaps”) have significant risks, including, but not limited to, substantial risk of loss. You should consult your own business, legal, tax and accounting advisers with respect to proposed swap transaction and you should refrain from entering into any swap transaction unless you have fully understood the terms and risks of the transaction, including the extent of your potential risk of loss. This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Chatham Hedging Advisors and could be deemed a solicitation for entering into a derivatives transaction. This material is not a research report prepared by Chatham Hedging Advisors. If you are not an experienced user of the derivatives markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, then you should not rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions. All rights reserved.21-0223
Our featured insights
ARRC issues updated scope of use for CME Term SOFR derivatives
On April 21, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) issued an update to their scope of use and best practices for CME Term SOFR.
Derivatives Market Update for Financial Institutions
We are excited to share market insights, best practices, and product enhancements from our advisory teams focused on community and regional financial institutions. Topics will include borrower swaps, balance sheet risk management, hedge accounting, and regulatory compliance, among others.
S&P Global talks with Ben Lewis and Chris Funck about why customer hedging programs may accelerate this year
In a conversation with S&P Global Market Intelligence, Ben Lewis and Chris Funck explained why back-to-back swaps, a type of hedging program that allows banks to offer commercial borrowers fixed-rate payments while simultaneously laying off the interest rate risk, could accelerate this year after...
In American Banker, Todd Cuppia notes community and regional banks progress on LIBOR transition
Todd Cuppia shares his perspective with American Banker on the LIBOR transition and how community and regional banks responded to the December 2021 deadline on new LIBOR issuance.
S&P Global speaks to Matthew Tevis about banks' focus during the LIBOR transition
S&P Global examined the choices banks face after the December 2021 deadline, recommending against new LIBOR transactions. Matthew Tevis provided insight on how Chatham's bank clients view the transition and what their focus has been at the start of 2022.
American Banker asks Matthew Tevis about LIBOR alternative rates
As SOFR gains ground with community and regional banks, Matt Tevis discusses with American Banker what will happen with leading LIBOR alternative rates.
ECB hikes 25 bps while BoE keeps rates steady
The Bank of England (BoE) announced it would keep rates on hold at today's meeting, following 14 consecutive rate hikes that have taken borrowing costs to 5.25%, the highest level since 2007. A 25-basis-point rate hike was expected at the start of the week, but the release of August inflation...