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    ISDA Publishes First Issue of ISDA Quarterly in 2020

    January 30, 2020

    The ISDA Quarterly or IQ, which examines the issues driving the adoption of technology and explores initiatives to establish standards that will help facilitate full-scale automation across industry, has been published. This year has several urgent to-do items and unmissable deadlines, with the next 12 months being crucial for benchmark reform, Brexit, and the roll out of initial margin requirements. Another key area with ongoing developments is the implementation of the final Basel III reforms as standards on market risk, counterparty credit risk, and credit valuation adjustment are expected to be transposed and implemented in many Basel jurisdictions.

    ISDA is also working to ensure legal standards keep pace with the 21st century. This includes the development of a taxonomy and clause library related to the ISDA Master Agreement, along with a project that will increase standardization and make it easier to capture key legal data and share that information consistently across the institution. In ISDA Create, ISDA and Linklaters have developed a tool that will allow that documentation to be negotiated and executed online. The platform is up and running for initial margin while other documents will be added over time. ISDA Create is a new platform that allows firms to produce, deliver, and negotiate derivatives documentation completely online. The system captures, processes, and stores data from these documents, providing users with a complete digital record.

    This year, ISDA will publish amendments to the 2006 ISDA Definitions that will incorporate fallbacks into new derivatives referencing certain interbank offered rates (IBORs). A protocol will also be launched to enable firms to embed the new fallbacks into legacy trades as well. Both will take effect approximately three months after publication, significantly reducing the systemic risk posed by continued exposure to LIBOR and other key IBORs. From a derivatives perspective, reaching long-term equivalence and recognition of central counterparties and trading venues during this period will be vital to avoid potential market disruption after the transition. This is also a crucial time for the rollout of the initial margin requirements, with thousands of new counterparty relationships coming into scope of the rules from September. Last year saw an extension of the phase-in schedule for the smallest firms until 2021, which will help reduce a potential compliance bottleneck—but the September 2020 phase-in is still expected to pose a huge challenge for the industry. 

    IQ presents a bird's eye view  of the outstanding issues related to the implementation of Basel III standards. It is believed that the next phase of Basel III looks set to be more challenging, as regulators, legislators, and market participants grapple with more technical, granular changes to the capital framework. In some cases, such as credit valuation adjustment, or CVA, capital requirements, the Basel Committee has recognized the need to consult on targeted revisions. In other cases, concerns will need to be addressed at the national level when the standards are transposed into law.


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    Keywords: International, Banking, Insurance, Securities, ISDA Quarterly, Benchmark Reforms, Brexit, ISDA Create, Common Domain Model, OTC Derivatives, Fintech, Basel III, FRTB, CVA, SA-CCR, ISDA

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