Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Two Quick Clearing Follow-ups on Last Week's Post

I wanted to make two quick follow-ups to last week’s post on FTX’s proposed new clearing model for retail customers.  First, I highly recommend reading the recent FT Alphaville piece Did a major financial institution kinda maybe slightly default in March 2020? (FT subscription required) Among other things, it highlights remarks made by some participants during last week's CFTC Staff Roundtable on Disintermediation relating to the potential cost of largely removing human discretion from the clearing risk management process (thanks to today’s Money Stuff by Matt Levine for bringing this piece to my attention!).  Second, a recent article by Rebecca Lewis and David Murphy, What Kind of Thing Is a Central Counterparty? The Role of Clearinghouses As a Source of Policy Controversy, does an excellent job of discussing clearing for BLPB readers who want to learn more about this area.  Murphy was among the participants in the CFTC Staff Roundtable!  I highly recommend this piece!  Here’s the abstract:

"Public policy surrounding central counterparties (‘CCPs’) is beset by conflicts between stakeholders. These turn on who bears which risks, who profits from clearing, and who has what say in CCP governance. They involve CCP equity holders, clearing members, clients, regulators, and taxpayers, among others. In order to probe them, three stylized edge case models of the role of the CCP are introduced: utilities, for-profit corporations under shareholder primacy, and clubs. The governance of each edge case is discussed and compared to the current situation in clearing and its framing in regulatory requirements. The risks in central clearing, who bears them, and the policies surrounding them, are surveyed. The paper argues that stakeholder risk-bearing affects CCP governance because risk bearing should, in equity, be accompanied by governance rights. Each edge case model suggests a different resolution to the key conflicts but none of the models are sufficient to explain existing CCP practice, and the resolutions suggested are unsatisfactory. This insufficiency suggests that the current policy conflicts are rooted in fundamental disagreements about the role of the CCP and thus in whose interests the CCP should act. Stakeholder theory is presented as a model which explains the nature of these conflicts and their persistent character, and which can provide an equitable setting for their continuing re-negotiation."

Colleen Baker, Financial Markets | Permalink


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