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11 January 2013

IOSCO consults on financial benchmarks

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The Consultation Report on Financial Benchmarks seeks comments from the public on policy issues arising from the work of its Board Level Task Force on Financial Market Benchmarks. Comments on the Consultation Paper are sought by 11 February, 2013.

The Consultation  Report discusses concerns regarding the potential inaccuracy or manipulation of  Benchmarks and identifies Benchmark-related policy issues across securities and derivatives and other  financial sectors including:

  • the appropriate level of regulatory oversight of the process of Benchmarking;
  • standards that should apply to methodologies for Benchmark calculation;
  • credible governance structures to address conflict of interests in the Benchmark setting process  within the reporting financial institutions as well as in the oversight bodies; and
  • the appropriate level of transparency and openness in the Benchmarking process.

The Consultation also considers issues that market participants might confront when seeking to make  the transition  to a new or different Benchmark. There should be sufficient data used to construct a  credible benchmark. In cases where there is insufficient data, regulatory authorities should consider the  possibility of transitioning away from a Benchmark.

Following this Consultation Report, the  Task Force  will  articulate  a framework of  robust, globally  consistent policy guidance and principles for financial Benchmarks and related activities. The Task Force regularly coordinated and cooperated with related regional and international  initiatives carried out by other regulatory authorities and organisations such as ESMA, BIS and the European Commission.

Masamichi Kono, Chairman of the IOSCO Board, stated: “Restoring confidence in the benchmarks widely used in the world’s financial markets is a matter of urgency in maintaining the integrity, efficiency and stability of the global financial system, and in protecting the interests of borrowers and investors. IOSCO is determined to contribute to this endeavor through the development of  policy guidance and principles for a wide range of stakeholders including  benchmark administrators, submitters, users of benchmarks and regulatory authorities. This report is the first step in our work to achieve this goal, and we look forward to receiving feedback from the broadest range of stakeholders  around the world.”

Martin Wheatley, Co-chair of the IOSCO Board Level Task Force and Managing Director of the UK Financial Services Authority, said: “This IOSCO Consultation Report represents the first global effort to  strengthen the credibility and integrity of benchmarks used across the financial markets. The UK is at the forefront of this work, which is consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Wheatley  Review. This consultation is an important step for IOSCO in developing robust, internationally-applicable principles to drive up the standards of governance, transparency and the production of  benchmarks.”

Comments on the Consultation Paper are sought by 11 February, 2013.

Full report

Full press release


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