OTC Derivatives Regulation – Ready or Not?
8 things you need to worry about now
With the passage this summer of
sweeping regulatory reform in the US, there’s been a lot of discussion around the impact on the over the counter (OTC) derivatives market. There are a number of challenges we think many market participants will face as they get ready for the move of more
OTC derivatives transactions to the exchanges, particularly around back offices processes like reconciliation.
How ready are most market participants to handle this new load? Before contemplating back office automation around OTC derivatives, firms that today trade derivatives on exchanges (CME, Eurex, LCH Clearnet, etc.) are taking a closer look at their existing
systems and processes. Are they ready to handle big increases in volume and complexity? Many that we talk to acknowledge that their existing systems and processes are creaking at the seams, and would admit that today they would struggle to take on more.
Most rely on a hodgepodge of manual, unconnected processes that are inefficient and often error prone.
In our view, here are eight key areas of focus that we encourage market participants to consider, in determining how well they are handling existing exchange traded reconciliation, and how easily they could manage more.
Eight key considerations in evaluating derivatives reconciliation processes
- Costs associated with developing and maintaining a large number of dynamic exchange feeds
- Costs and operational risks associated with manual processes
- Ability of current systems to cope with the increasing volumes
- Access to a consolidated view for exchange reconciliation
- Adequacy of audit control
- Ability to meet existing client demands for real time margining and reporting
- Need to integrate or replacing disparate, unconnected regional systems
- Transparency around collateral
Not all firms suffer the above equally – so it’s worth taking clear stock of current processes and capabilities of existing staff and systems, in order to assess where the greatest pain – and the greatest gain – can be found within the current infrastructure.
And the challenges don’t stop there. Many market participants lament that price transparency will ultimately squeeze profit margins on these transactions. However, many market analysts postulate – and we agree - that the operational efficiency gains of
automation in trade execution, trade processing and related back office functions should outweigh the margin loss. Further, the counterparty risk reduction and increased ability to get near or real time views of trades and positions will be transformational
to the markets. Standardization will be a first important step towards achieving gains from operational efficiency, but hurdles will be significant. What are your views?