As financial benchmark reform looms, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is calling on investment firms to ensure they’re prepared.
The CSA reminded the industry in a notice that various interest-rate benchmarks are facing revamps in the year ahead. For instance, the administrator of the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR), Refinitiv Benchmark Services (UK) Ltd., will stop publishing the six-month and 12-month CDOR as of May 17, 2021.
While the majority of products that reference CDOR are geared to the one- and three-month benchmarks, which Refinitiv will continue to publish, the CSA said that firms should plan now for the change if they’re affected.
“We encourage market participants to consider the use of a replacement rate if they were planning to use the six or 12 month tenors of CDOR [for new products],” the regulator said.
For existing securities, derivatives or loan agreements that are geared toward the affected benchmarks, the CSA advised firms to make “appropriate transition arrangements well in advance” of their discontinuation.
Among other things, firms could consider adopting a replacement rate, reviewing the contractual terms that apply when the benchmarks cease, and disclosing changes to investors.
The notice also details planned changes to global benchmarks, such as the London inter-bank offered rate (LIBOR), and other key inter-bank offered rates, which are scheduled for replacement with alternative risk-free reference rates by the end of 2021.
Here too, the CSA calls on firms to plan ahead.
Earlier this month, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report on implementation of major benchmark reforms, which also set out a transition timetable for firms.
“With only one year left, all market participants – both financial and non-financial firms across the globe – must now ensure they follow the necessary steps to avoid disruption to the performance of their contracts,” the FSB said.
Among other things, it advised that firms stop using LIBOR as a benchmark in new products “as soon as possible”, calling this action “a key priority for the months ahead.”
“The message that all market participants should take from this report […] is that we need to be prepared for the end of LIBOR. Everyone needs to be ready,” said the co-chairs of the FSB official sector steering group, Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, and John Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a statement.
The global benchmark reform effort follows a market manipulation scandal that involved various versions of LIBOR.