Regulators urge pension funds to use new benchmarks ahead of Libor end

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Dutch supervisors De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and Financial Markets Authority (AFM) have urged pension funds to start seeking alternatives for benchmarks such as Euribor, Libor and Eonia.

The trio of benchmarks – often used in swap contracts – are set to be scrapped in 2022 following a detailed review in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal.

In a letter to the financial sector, the watchdogs said the interbanking trade was decreasing and a decreasing number of banks were providing data.

Therefore, it was important that pension funds and other large financial institutions started exploring alternatives early, DNB and AFM said.

Euribor, Libor and Eonia were not tenable in their current forms, the regulators said, and provided an ever less reliable picture of the interest rates for short-term lending between banks.

The regulators added that current benchmarks didn’t meet the requirements of the new European Benchmarks Regulation (BMR), which is to come into force in 2022. After this date they cannot be used in long-term contracts.

The regulators warned that the transition to alternative standards would be complicated and require investors to set aside enough time to enact.

DNB and AFM sent pension funds, insurers and banks a questionnaire to find out whether they had already started preparations and how much progress they had made.

At least 200 investment funds domiciled in Europe still use Libor, Euribor and related benchmarks, according to data retrieved from FE Analytics.

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  • De Nederlandsche Bank DNB

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