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On July 7, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released several reports addressing climate-related financial risks. The FSB Roadmap for Addressing Climate-Related Financial Risks noted that a growing number of international initiatives are underway that address financial risks resulting from climate change. “Effective risk management at the level of individual companies and financial market participants is a precondition for a resilient financial system,” the report stated, adding that the “interconnections between climate-related financial risks faced by different participants in the financial system reinforce the case for coordinated action.” Among other things, the FSB set out a roadmap that focuses on four interrelated areas: (i) firm-level disclosures that should be used as the basis for pricing and managing climate-related financial risks at the level of individual entities and market participants; (ii) consistent metrics and disclosure data that can “provide the raw material for the diagnosis of climate-related vulnerabilities”; (iii) an analysis of vulnerabilities to provide the groundwork for designing and applying regulatory and supervisory framework and tools; and (iv) the establishment of regulatory and supervisory practices and tools to allow authorities to effectively identify climate-related risks to financial stability. FSB also released the Report on Promoting Climate-Related Disclosures, following a survey of members which explored national and regional current or planned climate-related disclosures. FSB presented several high-level recommendations, including, among other things, that financial authorities use a framework based on recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) across both non-financial corporates and financial institutions to propose a more consistent global approach. FSB issued another report entitled, The Availability of Data with Which to Monitor and Assess Climate-Related Risks to Financial Stability, that suggested various priorities to address climate-related data gaps “to improve the monitoring and assessment of climate-related risks to financial stability.”
Additionally, Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair for Supervision, Randal K. Quarles, spoke before the Venice International Conference on Climate Change on July 11, in which he discussed the work of the TCFD and stressed the importance of improving data quality and addressing data gaps, as well as ultimately establishing "a basis of comprehensive, consistent, and comparable data for global monitoring and assessing climate-related financial risks."
On June 2, the Financial Stability Board released an updated version of the Global Transition Roadmap for LIBOR, which is intended to advise those with exposure to LIBOR benchmarks of some of the steps they should take now and over the remaining period to LIBOR cessation dates to successfully mitigate risks. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Financial Stability Board released the roadmap last October to outline the steps financial firms and their clients should take “in order to ensure a smooth LIBOR transition” from now through 2021. According to the recent announcement, “transition away from LIBOR requires significant commitment and sustained effort from both financial and non-financial institutions across many LIBOR and non-LIBOR jurisdictions.” In addition to identifying actions that should already be complete, the roadmap details the following steps:
- ISDA Fallback Protocol Effective Date. Firms should adhere to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association’s (ISDA) IBOR Fallback Protocol and IBOR Fallback Supplement, which were launched last October and took effect in January 2021 (covered by InfoBytes here).
- By mid-2021. Firms should have identified which contracts can be amended and contact other parties to prepare for the use of alternative rates. Firms should also execute formalized plans to covert legacy LIBOR contracts to alternative rates.
- By the end of 2021. All new business should be conducted in, or capable of switching immediately to, alternative rates.
- By June 2023. Firms should “be prepared for all remaining USD LIBOR settings to cease.”
On November 15, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a letter from their Chair, Randal K. Quarles, ahead of the G20’s November summit. In the letter, Quarles explains that, while financial conditions are easing, global economic outlook remains uncertain. He also notes that the challenges posed by Covid-19 have not yet dissipated and that continued efforts are required to support financial resilience and to ensure a sustained flow of financing to the real economy. Finally, he states that, despite the pandemic, the FSB with support from G20 leaders must continue to press forward with priority reforms, such as developing more efficient cross-border payment services, addressing risks from stablecoins, assessing climate-related financial stability risks, strengthening cyber resilience, and facilitating a smooth transition away from LIBOR in order to strengthen the global financial system.
On October 16, the Financial Stability Board released a “Global Transition Roadmap for LIBOR,” which details the steps financial firms and their clients should take “in order to ensure a smooth LIBOR transition” from now through 2021. In addition to identifying actions that should already be complete, the roadmap details the following steps:
- ISDA Fallbacks Protocol Effective Date. Firms should adhere to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association’s (ISDA) IBOR Fallback Protocol and IBOR Fallback Supplement, which will be launched on October 23 and take effect on January 25, 2021 (covered by InfoBytes here).
- By the end of 2020. Lenders should be able to offer non-LIBOR products to customers.
- By mid-2021. Firms should have identified which contracts can be amended and make contact with other parties to prepare for the use of alternative rates. Firms should execute formalized plans to covert legacy LIBOR contracts to alternative rates.
- By the end of 2021. All new business should be conducted in, or capable of switching immediately to, alternative rates.
For continuing InfoBytes coverage on the LIBOR transition see here.
On October 13, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report providing high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision, and oversight of “global stablecoin” (GSC) arrangements. FSB defines “stablecoins” as a “specific category of crypto-assets which have the potential to enhance the efficiency of the provision of financial services, but may also generate risks to financial stability, particularly if they are adopted at a significant scale.” GSCs are those with multi-jurisdictional reach that “could become systemically important in and across one or many jurisdictions, including as a means of making payments.” The report, Regulation, Supervision, and Oversight of “Global Stablecoin” Arrangements, follows an analysis of financial stability risks raised by GSCs as well as a survey of FSB and non-FSB members’ approaches to stablecoins. Prior to issuing the report, FSB also conducted several outreach meetings with representatives from regulated financial institutions, fintech firms, academia, and the legal field. The October report, which takes into account public feedback received earlier in the year, outlines 10 high-level recommendations that “call for regulation, supervision and oversight that is proportionate to the risks, and stress the value of flexible, efficient, inclusive, and multi-sectoral cross-border cooperation, coordination, and information sharing arrangements among authorities that take into account the evolving nature of GSC arrangements and the risks they may pose over time.” However, the report stresses that because these recommendations primarily address financial stability risks, issues such as anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, data privacy, cyber security consumer and investor protection, and competition are not covered. These issues, which may present consequences for financial stability if not properly addressed, should be incorporated as part of a comprehensive supervisory, regulatory, and oversight framework, the report states.
Among other things, the report also provides regulatory authorities a guide “of relevant international standards and potential tools to address vulnerabilities arising from GSC activities,” and outlines a timeline of actions that will build a roadmap to ensure “any relevant international standard-setting work is completed.”
On October 10, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report, which asserts that although “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time,” there may be implications for financial stability in the future as market developments evolve. The newest report, “Crypto-asset markets: Potential channels for future financial stability implications,” follows a July report discussing the FSB’s framework for monitoring and assessing vulnerabilities in the financial system resulting from developments in the crypto-asset markets. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) According to the October report, the FSB conducted an assessment which considered the primary risks present in crypto-assets and their markets, such as “low liquidity, the use of leverage, market risks from volatility, and operational risks,” and determined that, “[b]ased on these features, crypto-assets lack the key attributes of sovereign currencies and do not serve as a common means of payment, a stable store of value, or a mainstream unit of account.” However, the October report discussed challenges to assessing and monitoring potential risks and commented on the following implications that may arise from the evolving use of crypto-assets: (i) reputational risks to financial institutions and their regulators; (ii) risks from direct or indirect exposures of financial institutions; (iii) risks resulting from the use of crypto-assets in payments and settlements; and (iv) risks from market capitalization and wealth effects.
On July 16, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report, which asserts that, while “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time,” there exists a need for “vigilant monitoring in light of the speed of developments and data gaps.” According to “Crypto-assets: Report to the G20 on work by the FSB and standard-setting bodies” (the Report), the FSB and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) have developed a framework to monitor and assess vulnerabilities in the financial system resulting from developments in the crypto-asset markets. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the FSB earlier released a letter to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in March noting that “[c]rypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing.” The Report specifically discusses actions being undertaken by international regulatory bodies, including (i) the CPMI’s investigation into distributed ledger technologies and monitoring of payment innovations; (ii) the International Organization of Securities Commissions creation of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Consultative Network, development of a framework for members to use when dealing with investor-protection issues stemming from ICOs, and exploration into regulatory issues regarding crypto-assets platforms; and (iii) the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s assessment of the materiality of banks’ crypto-asset exposures, exploration of appropriate prudential treatment of those exposures, and monitoring of crypto-asset and other financial technology developments. The Financial Action Task Force is also working separately on a report to the G20 on crypto-asset concerns regarding money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
On March 18, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a letter previously sent to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on March 13, which set forth priorities designed to “reinforce the G20’s objective of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.” Among other things, FSB presented its initial assessment that “crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time” due to their “small size” and “limited use for real economy and financial transaction”; however, FSB stressed that this assessment is subject to change should crypto-assets become more widely used or integrated within the regulated financial system. “Crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing,” the letter stated. “At the same time, the technologies underlying them have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of both the financial system and the economy.” The letter also described priority deliverables FSB planned to implement, such as (i) Basel III banking reforms; (ii) policy to de-risk correspondent banking; (iii) a toolkit on governance measures to address misconduct risk; (iv) evaluations of certain financial reforms; and (v) a financial sector cybersecurity lexicon. The FSB also noted that it would continue to shift away from policy development and instead focus on the transparency and efficiency of its existing programs.
On March 9, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced the release of its Supplementary Guidance to the FSB Principles and Standards on Sound Compensation Practices (Supplementary Guidance) relating to FSB’s Principles and Standards published in 2009. The Supplementary Guidance arises out of a 2015 workplan implemented to address concerns about compensation practices that could create misaligned incentives within financial institutions. The Supplementary Guidance, which does not contain new or additional principles and standards, provides recommendations presented in three parts: (i) “governance of compensation and misconduct risk”; (ii) “effective alignment of compensation with misconduct risk”; and (iii) “supervision of compensation and misconduct risk.” The Supplementary Guidance notes that “inappropriately structured compensation arrangements can provide individuals with incentives to take imprudent risks,” which may lead to potential harm for financial institutions and their customers or stakeholders. The Supplementary Guidance suggests that financial institutions use compensation tools as part of an overall strategy to limit risks and address misconduct, and cautions that “compensation should be adjusted for all types of risk.”
House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Explores Dodd-Frank’s “Too Big to Fail” Designation Process
On March 28, the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing that examined the processes used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council to designate nonbank financial companies under Section 113 of Dodd-Frank. As discussed in a memorandum issued prior to the hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, the hearing was also scheduled to go over the findings of a recent Financial Services Committee Staff Report, including concerns over whether FSOC has acted inconsistently in exercising its power to designate certain nonbank companies as “too big to fail.” During the hearing, the subcommittee heard from the following witnesses:
- Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
- Dr. Paul Kupiec, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
- Professor David Zaring, Associate Professor, Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
- Mr. Alex J. Pollock, Distinguished Senior Fellow, R Street Institute
In a press release available on the Financial Services Committee webpage following the hearing, the majority members of the subcommittee identified the “Key Takeaways from the Hearing,” as: (i) “[t]he Dodd-Frank Act created an arbitrary threshold that the FSOC uses to designate systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs); (ii) “FSOC’s process for designating SIFIs in essence codifies "too big to fail" and poses a threat to the U.S. economy”; (iii) “[t]he Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican plan to replace Dodd-Frank and promote economic growth” would “end ‘too big to fail’ and bank bailouts.”
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