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Exploring Credit Sensitive Alternatives to SOFR

A Conversation between Mayer Brown's Partner Paul Forrester and Morae's Heidi Rudolph

Summary

The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) has selected Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as the replacement for LIBOR in the US. However, a group of US banks — primarily non-money centers have expressed concerns about the use of SOFR as the replacement benchmark for LIBOR. They argue that during times of economic stress, SOFR would decrease as their cost of funds increase, eroding the return on SOFR-linked loans. These banks have championed a more credit sensitive approach or a credit sensitive supplement to SOFR. In response, the New York Fed created a Credit Sensitivity Group and have convened four meetings of the group to date in 2020 to (i) understand of the challenges that banks of all sizes, and their borrowers, may face in transitioning loan products from LIBOR to SOFR and (ii) explore methodologies that consider a credit sensitive rate/spread that could be added to SOFR. Join Mayer Brown Partner Paul Forrester and Heidi Rudolph, Managing Director at Morae Global, as we discuss topics including: Why is there a need for credit sensitive rate? What are the “credit sensitive” alternatives to SOFR? How can banks use modelling techniques to identify, quantify and mitigate credit (?) exposures (and preserve their profit margins?) across their portfolios? How can banks ensure that these modelling techniques are transparent so that borrowers can anticipate and manage their borrowing cost?

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