Regulators slate financial firms for poor counterparty risk measures

Regulators slate financial firms for poor counterparty risk measures

Five years after the financial crisis, progress on timely and accurate counterparty risk measures has been largely unsatisfactory, reports the Financial Stability Board.

Many firms discovered during the financial crisis that they could not aggregate counterparty exposures quickly and confidently, resulting in confusion and panic across the marketplace.

In response, the national supervisory authorities sponsored a new counterparty exposure data collection programme - known as the Top 20 Counterparty project - during the crisis. The project began in late 2008 and continued through the financial crisis and the recovery, before being handed over to the Bank for International Settlements in March 2013, where it was expanded into a more comprehensive Top 50 Counterparty report.

In a letter presenting the results to FSB chair Mark Carney, Sarah Dhalgren, chair of the supervisory group, says: "Firms' progress toward consistent, timely, and accurate reporting of top counterparty exposures fails to meet supervisory expectations as well as industry self-identified best practices."

While some firms have developed their information technology infrastructure to support improved counterparty reporting, many still rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual processes, the report notes.

Data quality is of particular concern, says Dhalgren, particularly given the reliance on accurate data collection and reporting by regulators and firms for stress-testing and collateral management.

"We believe that the supervisors of these firms must prioritise the effort within the scope of their own work and commit to impressing upon firms the importance of being able to quickly and accurately aggregate top counterparty exposures" she adds.

Read the full report:

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 January, 2014, 11:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It is not surprising to see the Financial Stability Board turning its attention to this issue. Without a firm grip on data management, investment management firms will struggle to comply with new regulatory reporting requirements and manage counterparty risk effectively. Too little attention has been paid to the practical demands that now exist post-financial crisis, with many companies remaining reliant on spreadsheets and manual processes which are inadequate for proper risk management. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, we were aware of market participants that took weeks to calculate their exposure to the bank – and some are still in that position today should another major market player collapse. That is an unacceptable state of affairs for end investors, and it would not be surprising to see regulators begin to force firms to remedy this if they do not seek to address it.