Strengthening repo clearing and settlement arrangements

September 2010

During the recent financial crisis, some repo markets proved to be a less reliable source of funding liquidity than expected. In June 2009, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) therefore commissioned the Working Group on Repo Market Infrastructure to investigate the extent to which the clearing and settlement infrastructure for repos contributed to the instability evident in some repo markets. The Working Group was also asked to identify potential ways in which the repo clearing and settlement infrastructure could be improved.

This report first presents a comprehensive survey of the clearing and settlement arrangements for repos in selected CPSS member countries. In particular, it sheds light on the experience with these arrangements during the financial crisis. The analysis shows that repo clearing and settlement arrangements vary considerably across countries and markets.

Second, the report identifies several issues related to clearing and settlement arrangements for repos that have the potential to affect the resilience of repo markets (eg the risks related to the extension of significant amounts of intraday credits within some repo settlement arrangements; the lack of transparency of some repo infrastructure roles, responsibilities, practices and procedures; concerns regarding the protection against counterparty credit risk in repo transactions; and inadequate capabilities for liquidating repo collateral in the event of a cash borrower's default). Due to the substantial variety in repo clearing and settlement arrangements, the identified issues are not relevant to the same extent in each market. Finally, the report outlines options and measures through which these issues can be addressed.

The report concludes that it is worthwhile for the stakeholders in each market to review how the clearing and settlement arrangements for repos could be further strengthened. As a first step, the report suggests that the providers of such arrangements in each country should, jointly with market participants, regulators and the central bank, attempt to develop a common view on the relevance of the identified issues for their market. As a second step, each provider could then evaluate which measure or combination of measures would be best suited to address the relevant issues in its specific circumstances.