Part 1: The Liquidity Coverage Ratio
- The Committee has developed the LCR to promote the short-term resilience of the liquidity risk profile of banks by ensuring that they have sufficient HQLA to survive a significant stress scenario lasting 30 calendar days.
- The LCR should be a key component of the supervisory approach to liquidity risk, but must be supplemented by detailed supervisory assessments of other aspects of the bank’s liquidity risk management framework in line with the Sound Principles, the use of the monitoring tools included in Part 2, and, in due course, the NSFR. In addition, supervisors may require an individual bank to adopt more stringent standards or parameters to reflect its liquidity risk profile and the supervisor’s assessment of its compliance with the SoundPrinciples.
- This standard aims to ensure that a bank has an adequate stock of unencumbered HQLA that consists of cash or assets that can be converted into cash at little or no loss of value in private markets, to meet its liquidity needs for a 30 calendar day liquidity stress scenario. At a minimum, the stock of unencumbered HQLA should enable the bank to survive until Day 30 of the stress scenario, by which time it is assumed that appropriate corrective actions can be taken by management and supervisors, or that the bank can be resolved in an orderly way. Furthermore, it gives the central bank additional time to take appropriate measures, should they be regarded as necessary. As noted in the SoundPrinciples, given the uncertain timing of outflows and inflows, banks are also expected to be aware of any potential mismatches within the 30-day period and ensure that sufficient HQLA are available to meet any cash flow gaps throughout the period.
- The LCR builds on traditional liquidity “coverage ratio” methodologies used internally by banks to assess exposure to contingent liquidity events. The total net cash outflows for the scenario are to be calculated for 30 calendar days into the future. The standard requires that, absent a situation of financial stress, the value of the ratio be no lower than 100%4 (ie the stock of HQLA should at least equal total net cash outflows) on an ongoing basis because the stock of unencumbered HQLA is intended to serve as a defence against the potential onset of liquidity stress. During a period of financial stress, however, banks may use their stock of HQLA, thereby falling below 100%, as maintaining the LCR at 100% under such circumstances could produce undue negative effects on the bank and other market participants. Supervisors will subsequently assess this situation and will adjust their response flexibly according to the circumstances.
- In particular, supervisory decisions regarding a bank’s use of its HQLA should be guided by consideration of the core objective and definition of the LCR. Supervisors should exercise judgement in their assessment and account not only for prevailing macrofinancial conditions, but also consider forward-looking assessments of macroeconomic and financial conditions. In determining a response, supervisors should be aware that some actions could
4 The 100% threshold is the minimumrequirement absent a period of financial stress, and after the phase-in arrangements are complete. References to 100% may be adjusted for any phase-in arrangements in force.
be procyclical if applied in circumstances of market-wide stress. Supervisors should seek to take these considerations into account on a consistent basis across jurisdictions.
- Supervisors should assess conditions at an early stage, and take actions if deemed necessary, to address potential liquidity risk.
- Supervisors should allow for differentiated responses to a reported LCR below 100%. Any potential supervisory response should be proportionate with the drivers, magnitude, duration and frequency of the reported shortfall.
- Supervisors should assess a number of firm- and market-specific factors in determining the appropriate response as well as other considerations related to both domestic and global frameworks and conditions. Potential considerations include, but are not limited to:
- The reason(s) that the LCR fell below 100%. This includes use of the stock of HQLA, an inability to roll over funding or large unexpected draws on contingent obligations. In addition, the reasons may relate to overall credit, funding and market conditions, including liquidity in credit, asset and funding markets, affecting individual banks or all institutions, regardless of their own condition;
- The extent to which the reported decline in the LCR is due to a firm-specific or market-wide shock;
- A bank’s overall health and risk profile, including activities, positions with respect to other supervisory requirements, internal risk systems, controls and other management processes, among others;
- The magnitude, duration and frequency of the reported decline of HQLA;
- The potential for contagion to the financial system and additional restricted flow of credit or reduced market liquidity due to actions to maintain an LCR of 100%;
- The availability of other sources of contingent funding such as central bank funding,5or other actions by prudential authorities.
- Supervisors should have a range of tools at their disposal to address a reported LCR below 100%. Banks may use their stock of HQLA in both idiosyncratic and systemic stress events, although the supervisory response may differ between the two.
- At a minimum, a bank should present an assessment of its liquidity position, including the factors that contributed to its LCR falling below 100%, the measures that have been and will be taken and the expectations on the potential length of the situation. Enhanced reporting to supervisors should be commensurate with the duration of the shortfall.
5 The Sound Principles require that a bank develop a Contingency Funding Plan (CFP) that clearly sets out strategies for addressing liquidity shortfalls, both firm-specific and market-wide situations of stress. A CFP should, among other things, “reflect central bank lending programmes and collateral requirements, including facilities that form part of normal liquidity management operations (eg the availability of seasonal credit).”
- If appropriate, supervisors could also require actions by a bank to reduce its exposure to liquidity risk, strengthen its overall liquidity risk management, or improve its contingency funding plan.
- However, in a situation of sufficiently severe system-wide stress, effects on the entire financial system should be considered. Potential measures to restore liquidity levels should be discussed, and should be executed over a period of time considered appropriate to prevent additional stress on the bank and on the financial system as a whole.
- Supervisors’ responses should be consistent with the overall approach to the prudential framework.
- Definition ofthe LCR
- The scenario for this standard entails a combined idiosyncratic and market-wide shock that would result in:
- the run-off of a proportion of retail deposits;
- a partial loss of unsecured wholesale funding capacity;
- a partial loss of secured, short-term financing with certain collateral and counterparties;
- additional contractual outflows that would arise from a downgrade in the bank’s public credit rating by up to and including three notches, including collateral posting requirements;
- increases in market volatilities that impact the quality of collateral or potential future exposure of derivative positions and thus require larger collateral haircuts or additional collateral, or lead to other liquidity needs;
- unscheduled draws on committed but unused credit and liquidity facilities that the bank has provided to its clients; and
- the potential need for the bank to buy back debt or honour non-contractual obligations in the interest of mitigating reputational risk.
- In summary, the stress scenario specified incorporates many of the shocks experienced during the crisis that started in 2007 into one significant stress scenario for which a bank would need sufficient liquidity on hand to survive for up to 30 calendar days.
- This stress test should be viewed as a minimum supervisory requirement for banks. Banks are expected to conduct their own stress tests to assess the level of liquidity they should hold beyond this minimum, and construct their own scenarios that could cause difficulties for their specific business activities. Such internal stress tests should incorporate longer time horizons than the one mandated by this standard. Banks are expected to share the results of these additional stress tests with supervisors.
- The LCR has two components:
- Value of the stock of HQLA in stressed conditions; and
- Total net cash outflows, calculated according to the scenario parameters outlined below.
- Stock of HQLA
- The numerator of the LCR is the “stock of HQLA”. Under the standard, banks must hold a stock of unencumbered HQLA to cover the total net cash outflows (as defined below) over a 30-day period under the prescribed stress scenario. In order to qualify as “HQLA”, assets should be liquid in markets during a time of stress and, ideally, be central bank eligible. The following sets out the characteristics that such assets should generally possess and the operational requirements that they should satisfy. 6
- Assets are considered to be HQLA if they can be easily and immediately converted into cash at little or no loss of value. The liquidity of an asset depends on the underlying stress scenario, the volume to be monetised and the timeframe considered. Nevertheless, there are certain assets that are more likely to generate funds without incurring large discounts in sale or repurchase agreement (repo) markets due to fire-sales even in times of stress. This section outlines the factors that influence whether or not the market for an asset can be relied upon to raise liquidity when considered in the context of possible stresses. These factors should assist supervisors in determining which assets, despite meeting the criteria from paragraphs 49 to 54, are not sufficiently liquid in private markets to be included in the stock of HQLA.
- Lowrisk: assets that are less risky tend to have higher liquidity. High credit standing of the issuer and a low degree of subordination increase an asset’s liquidity. Low duration, 7 low legal risk, low inflation risk and denomination in a convertible currency with low foreign exchange risk all enhance an asset’s liquidity.
- Easeandcertaintyofvaluation: an asset’s liquidity increases if market participants are more likely to agree on its valuation. Assets with more standardised, homogenous and simple structures tend to be more fungible, promoting liquidity. The pricing formula of a high-quality liquid asset must be easy to calculate and not depend on strong assumptions. The inputs into the pricing formula must also be publicly available. In practice, this should rule out the inclusion of most structured or exotic products.
- Low correlation with risky assets: the stock of HQLA should not be subject to wrong-way (highly correlated) risk. For example, assets issued by financial institutions are more likely to be illiquid in times of liquidity stress in the banking sector.
- Listedonadevelopedandrecognisedexchange: being listed increases an asset’s transparency.
6 Refer to the sections on “DefinitionofHQLA” and “Operational requirements” for the characteristics that an asset must meet to be part of the stock of HQLA and the definition of “unencumbered” respectively.
- Active and sizable market: the asset should have active outright sale or repo markets at all times. This means that:
- There should be historical evidence of market breadth and market depth. This could be demonstrated by low bid-ask spreads, high trading volumes, and a large and diverse number of market participants. Diversity of market participants reduces market concentration and increases the reliability of the liquidity in the market.
- There should be robust market infrastructure in place. The presence of multiple committed market makers increases liquidity as quotes will most likely be available for buying or selling HQLA.
- Low volatility: Assets whose prices remain relatively stable and are less prone to sharp price declines over time will have a lower probability of triggering forced sales to meet liquidity requirements. Volatility of traded prices and spreads are simple proxy measures of market volatility. There should be historical evidence of relative stability of market terms (eg prices and haircuts) and volumes during stressed periods.
- Flight to quality: historically, the market has shown tendencies to move into these types of assets in a systemic crisis. The correlation between proxies of market liquidity and banking system stress is one simple measure that could be used.
- As outlined by these characteristics, the test of whether liquid assets are of “high quality” is that, by way of sale or repo, their liquidity-generating capacity is assumed to remain intact even in periods of severe idiosyncratic and market stress. Lower quality assets typically fail to meet that test. An attempt by a bank to raise liquidity from lower quality assets under conditions of severe market stress would entail acceptance of a large fire-sale discount or haircut to compensate for high market risk. That may not only erode the market’s confidence in the bank, but would also generate mark-to-market losses for banks holding similar instruments and add to the pressure on their liquidity position, thus encouraging further fire sales and declines in prices and market liquidity. In these circumstances, private market liquidity for such instruments is likely to disappear quickly.
- HQLA (except Level 2B assets as defined below) should ideally be eligible at central banks8 for intraday liquidity needs and overnight liquidity facilities. In the past, central banks have provided a further backstop to the supply of banking system liquidity under conditions of severe stress. Central bank eligibility should thus provide additional confidence that banks are holding assets that could be used in events of severe stress without damaging the broader financial system. That in turn would raise confidence in the safety and soundness of liquidity risk management in the banking system.
- It should be noted however, that central bank eligibility does not by itself constitute the basis for the categorisation of an asset as HQLA.
8 In most jurisdictions, HQLA should be central bank eligible in addition to being liquid in markets during stressed periods. In jurisdictions where central bank eligibility is limited to an extremely narrow list of assets, a supervisor may allow unencumbered, non-central bank eligible assets that meet the qualifying criteria for Level 1 or Level 2 assets to count as part of the stock (see DefinitionofHQLAbeginning from paragraph 45).
- All assets in the stock of HQLA are subject to the following operational requirements. The purpose of the operational requirements is to recognise that not all assets outlined in paragraphs 49-54 that meet the asset class, risk-weighting and credit-rating criteria should be eligible for the stock as there are other operational restrictions on the availability of HQLA that can prevent timely monetisation during a stress period.
- These operational requirements are designed to ensure that the stock of HQLA is managed in such a way that the bank can, and is able to demonstrate that it can, immediately use the stock of assets as a source of contingent funds that is available for the bank to convert into cash through outright sale or repo, to fill funding gaps between cash inflows and outflows at any time during the 30-day stress period, with no restriction on the use of the liquidity generated.
- A bank should periodically monetise a representative proportion of the assets in the stock through repo or outright sale, in order to test its access to the market, the effectiveness of its processes for monetisation, the availability of the assets, and to minimise the risk of negative signalling during a period of actual stress.
- All assets in the stock should be unencumbered. “Unencumbered” means free of legal, regulatory, contractual or other restrictions on the ability of the bank to liquidate, sell, transfer, or assign the asset. An asset in the stock should not be pledged (either explicitly or implicitly) to secure, collateralise or credit-enhance any transaction, nor be designated to cover operational costs (such as rents and salaries). Assets received in reverse repo and securities financing transactions that are held at the bank, have not been rehypothecated, and are legally and contractually available for the bank’s use can be considered as part of the stock of HQLA. In addition, assets which qualify for the stock of HQLA that have been pre-positioned or deposited with, or pledged to, the central bank or a public sector entity (PSE) but have not been used to generate liquidity may be included in the stock.9
- A bank should exclude from the stock those assets that, although meeting the definition of “unencumbered” specified in paragraph 31, the bank would not have the operational capability to monetise to meet outflows during the stress period. Operational capability to monetise assets requires having procedures and appropriate systems in place, including providing the function identified in paragraph 33 with access to all necessary information to execute monetisation of any asset at any time. Monetisation of the asset must be executable, from an operational perspective, in the standard settlement period for the asset class in the relevant jurisdiction.
- The stock should be under the control of the function charged with managing the liquidity of the bank (eg the treasurer), meaning the function has the continuous authority, and legal and operational capability, to monetise any asset in the stock. Control must be evidenced either by maintaining assets in a separate pool managed by the function with the sole intent for use as a source of contingent funds, or by demonstrating that the function can monetise the asset at any point in the 30-day stress period and that the proceeds of doing so are available to the function throughout the 30-day stress period without directly conflicting
9 If a bank has deposited, pre-positioned or pledged Level 1, Level 2 and other assets in a collateral pool and no specific securities are assigned as collateral for any transactions, it may assume that assets are encumbered in order of increasing liquidity value in the LCR, ie assets ineligible for the stock of HQLA are assigned first, followed by Level 2B assets, then Level 2A and finally Level 1. This determination must be made in compliance with any requirements, such as concentration or diversification, of the central bank or PSE.
with a stated business or risk management strategy. For example, an asset should not be included in the stock if the sale of that asset, without replacement throughout the 30-day period, would remove a hedge that would create an open risk position in excess of internal limits.
- A bank is permitted to hedge the market risk associated with ownership of the stock of HQLA and still include the assets in the stock. If it chooses to hedge the market risk, the bank should take into account (in the market value applied to each asset) the cash outflow that would arise if the hedge were to be closed out early (in the event of the asset being sold).
- In accordance with Principle 9 of the Sound Principles a bank “should monitor the legal entity and physical location where collateral is held and how it may be mobilised in a timely manner”. Specifically, it should have a policy in place that identifies legal entities, geographical locations, currencies and specific custodial or bank accounts where HQLA are held. In addition, the bank should determine whether any such assets should be excluded for operational reasons and therefore, have the ability to determine the composition of its stock on a daily basis.
- As noted in paragraphs 171 and 172, qualifying HQLA that are held to meet statutory liquidity requirements at the legal entity or sub-consolidated level (where applicable) may only be included in the stock at the consolidated level to the extent that the related risks (as measured by the legal entity’s or sub-consolidated group’s net cash outflows in the LCR) are also reflected in the consolidated LCR. Any surplus of HQLA held at the legal entity can only be included in the consolidated stock if those assets would also be freely available to the consolidated (parent) entity in times of stress.
- In assessing whether assets are freely transferable for regulatory purposes, banks should be aware that assets may not be freely available to the consolidated entity due to regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other impediments. Assets held in legal entities without market access should only be included to the extent that they can be freely transferred to other entities that could monetise the assets.
- In certain jurisdictions, large, deep and active repo markets do not exist for eligible asset classes, and therefore such assets are likely to be monetised through outright sale. In these circumstances, a bank should exclude from the stock of HQLA those assets where there are impediments to sale, such as large fire-sale discounts which would cause it to breach minimum solvency requirements, or requirements to hold such assets, including, but not limited to, statutory minimum inventory requirements for market making.
- Banks should not include in the stock of HQLA any assets, or liquidity generated from assets, they have received under right of rehypothecation, if the beneficial owner has the contractual right to withdraw those assets during the 30-day stress period.10
- Assets received as collateral for derivatives transactions that are not segregated and are legally able to be rehypothecated may be included in the stock of HQLA provided that the bank records an appropriate outflow for the associated risks as set out in paragraph 116.
10 Refer to paragraph 146 for the appropriate treatment if the contractual withdrawal of such assets would lead to a short position (eg because the bank had used the assets in longer-term securities financing transactions).
- As stated in Principle 8 of the Sound Principles, a bank should actively manage its intraday liquidity positions and risks to meet payment and settlement obligations on a timely basis under both normal and stressed conditions and thus contribute to the smooth functioning of payment and settlement systems. Banks and regulators should be aware that the LCR stress scenario does not cover expected or unexpected intraday liquidity needs.
- While the LCR is expected to be met and reported in a single currency, banks are expected to be able to meet their liquidity needs in each currency and maintain HQLA consistent with the distribution of their liquidity needs by currency. The bank should be able to use the stock to generate liquidity in the currency and jurisdiction in which the net cash outflows arise. As such, the LCR by currency is expected to be monitored and reported to allow the bank and its supervisor to track any potential currency mismatch issues that could arise, as outlined in Part 2. In managing foreign exchange liquidity risk, the bank should take into account the risk that its ability to swap currencies and access the relevant foreign exchange markets may erode rapidly under stressed conditions. It should be aware that sudden, adverse exchange rate movements could sharply widen existing mismatched positions and alter the effectiveness of any foreign exchange hedges in place.
- In order to mitigate cliff effects that could arise, if an eligible liquid asset became ineligible (eg due to rating downgrade), a bank is permitted to keep such assets in its stock of liquid assets for an additional 30 calendar days. This would allow the bank additional time to adjust its stock as needed or replace the asset.
44. The stock of HQLA should be well diversified within the asset classes themselves (except for sovereign debt of the bank’s home jurisdiction or from the jurisdiction in which the bank operates; central bank reserves; central bank debt securities; and cash). Although some asset classes are more likely to remain liquid irrespective of circumstances, ex-ante it is not possible to know with certainty which specific assets within each asset class might be subject to shocks ex-post. Banks should therefore have policies and limits in place in order to avoid concentration with respect to asset types, issue and issuer types, and currency (consistent with the distribution of net cash outflows by currency) within asset classes.
- The stock of HQLA should comprise assets with the characteristics outlined in paragraphs 24-27. This section describes the type of assets that meet these characteristics and can therefore be included in the stock.
- There are two categories of assets that can be included in the stock. Assets to be included in each category are those that the bank is holding on the first day of the stress period, irrespective of their residual maturity. “Level 1” assets can be included without limit, while “Level 2” assets can only comprise up to 40% of the stock.
- Supervisors may also choose to include within Level 2 an additional class of assets (Level 2B assets – see paragraph 53 below). If included, these assets should comprise no more than 15% of the total stock of HQLA. They must also be included within the overall 40% cap on Level 2 assets.
- The 40% cap on Level 2 assets and the 15% cap on Level 2B assets should be determined after the application of required haircuts, and after taking into account the unwind of short-term securities financing transactions and collateral swap transactions maturing within 30 calendar days that involve the exchange of HQLA. In this context, short term transactions are transactions with a maturity date up to and including 30 calendar days. The details of the calculation methodology are provided in Annex 1.
- Level 1 assets can comprise an unlimited share of the pool and are not subject to a haircut under the LCR.11 However, national supervisors may wish to require haircuts for Level 1 securities based on, among other things, their duration, credit and liquidity risk, and typical repo haircuts.
- Level 1 assets are limited to:
- coins and banknotes;
- central bank reserves (including required reserves),12 to the extent that the central bank policies allow them to be drawn down in times of stress;13
- marketable securities representing claims on or guaranteed by sovereigns, central banks, PSEs, the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and European Community, or multilateral development banks,14 and satisfying all of the following conditions:
- assigned a 0% risk-weight under the Basel II Standardised Approach for credit risk;15
- traded in large, deep and active repo or cash markets characterised by a low level of concentration;
- have a proven record as a reliable source of liquidity in the markets (repo or sale) even during stressed market conditions; and
- not an obligation of a financial institution or any of its affiliated entities.16
- where the sovereign has a non-0% risk weight, sovereign or central bank debt securities issued in domestic currencies by the sovereign or central bank in the country in which the liquidity risk is being taken or in the bank’s home country; and……………………………………………………………
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