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22nd July 2021 | Press Releases

Banks fear unlevel playing field over SA-CCR implementation

Download the report at: https://www.acuiti.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/SA-CCR-Impact-and-Implementation.pdf

Acuiti study finds capital costs for corporates, pension funds and some asset managers set to soar under new derivatives capital rules

London – 22 July 2021: Over 80% of senior derivatives executives from global banks are concerned that differing approaches to the implementation of SA-CCR will create an unlevel playing field, a study by Acuiti has found.

The study, which was commissioned by multilateral optimisation provider, Quantile, was based on a survey and series of interviews with over 40 banks and financial intermediaries, and found that 82% of respondents, including all of those based in the EU, were concerned about the different timelines and approaches from regulators when it came to implementing SA-CCR.

SA-CCR, or the Standardised Approach for measuring Counterparty Credit Risk, is the new framework for assessing capital requirements relating to counterparty risk for banks with derivatives exposures.

The new framework will replace the existing non-internal model approaches – the Current Exposure Method (CEM) and the Standardised Method (SM) – and is designed to be a more risk-sensitive framework for measuring capital exposures relating to derivatives trades.

SA-CCR is now live in several jurisdictions including the EU, where it came into force last month. The US and UK will bring in SA-CCR in January 2022, although in the US firms have the option of adopting it prior to that date.

Respondents to the Acuiti study generally welcomed the move to a more risk sensitive methodology. However, key concerns were raised over the “alpha factor”, an add-on to capital charges for all trades, and the treatment of initial margin, which under SA-CCR moves to a non-linear calculation and away from the dollar-for-dollar risk reduction methodology under CEM.

In addition, the Acuiti study found that SA-CCR will result in large increases in capital requirements for bank portfolios with corporates, pension funds and asset managers. Portfolios with options trading firms and hedge funds on the other hand will see significant reductions in capital exposures relating to their derivatives books.

In response to these concerns, US regulators have effectively eliminated the alpha factor for derivatives trades with commercial end-users. However, European and Asian regulators to date have not followed suit, raising the concerns over an unlevel playing field.

Other findings in the study were:

  • Banks are split on whether SA-CCR will benefit or hinder their derivatives business with clearing businesses generally, but not universally, expecting benefits
  • FX and commodities face significant increases in capital requirements under SA-CCR
  • Benefits of clearing are more pronounced, so rates and FX are expected to be the main beneficiaries
  • Some US banks may still shift to SA-CCR ahead of regulatory implementation
  • Agreeing approach, gathering the data and developing technology have been the major hurdles for banks
  • SA-CCR will increase incentives for active risk and portfolio management

Tobias Becker, Head of Risk Capital Optimisation of Quantile, said, “Now more than ever it is essential that participants proactively optimise their portfolios to reduce the consumption of critical financial resources. At Quantile, we are working closely with market participants to help them navigate the new SA-CCR framework and improve their capital efficiency.”

He continued, “While the study identifies some of the challenges of common models such as SA-CCR, it also cements the need for the market to adopt multilateral optimisation services that are beneficial and find efficiencies for all participants.”

“SA-CCR certainly addresses many of the criticisms levelled at the Current Exposure Method but it also introduces new challenges,” says Will Mitting, founder and managing director of Acuiti.

“Small changes to how SA-CCR is implemented can have a disproportionate impact on banks’ ability to service certain clients or asset classes. While there are some areas of the new rules that will need to be tweaked to ensure stable and functioning markets, it is essential that these changes are made at a global level to ensure a level playing field for all.”

To download the full report, visit https://www.acuiti.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/SA-CCR-Impact-and-Implementation.pdf


For more information, contact Will Mitting

Tel.: +44 (0) 203 998 9190

Email: willmitting@acuiti.io


About Acuiti

Acuiti is a management intelligence platform designed to provide Senior Industry Professionals in the Derivatives Industry with high-value insight into industry-wide performance and business operations. Acuiti provides a platform through which our exclusive network of Senior Industry Executives can share and source information on day-to-day operational challenges, providing them and their management teams with increased transparency and in-depth analysis to make more informed decisions and benchmark company performance. Financial Institutions benefiting from our services include Banks, Non-bank FCMs, Brokers, Proprietary Trading Firms, Hedge Funds and Asset Managers.

About Quantile

Quantile exists to reduce the size, risk and complexity of the derivatives market. Powered by market leading technology and driven by a deep understanding of industry challenges, Quantile increases the efficiency and liquidity of markets, improves returns for clients and helps make the financial system safer. Since launching its first services in 2017, Quantile has eliminated over $275 trillion of gross notional through interest rate compression and billions of dollars in margin through initial margin optimisation. Clients include all of the G15 top tier global banks, regional banks and other large institutional market participants. Quantile is headquartered in London and has offices in New York and Amsterdam.