The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has today published a user guide to overnight risk-free rates (RFRs). The guide provides an overview of RFRs, details of how they are calculated, and options on how overnight RFRs can be used in cash products. In doing so the FSB aims to encourage adoption of these rates where they are appropriate.
Interbank offered rates (IBORs), a type of interest rate benchmark, play a key role in global financial markets. The FSB started its work on reforms to IBORs in response both to cases of attempted manipulation and to the decline in liquidity in key interbank unsecured funding markets. In 2014, the FSB set out recommendations to reform major interest rate benchmarks, such as key IBORs, and has been monitoring progress on implementation since then.
As part of this work, the FSB published in July 2018 a statement on reforms to IBORs and the development of RFRs and term rates. That statement noted that, to ensure financial stability, benchmarks which are used extensively must be especially robust. Overnight RFRs have been identified in a number of currency areas because these rates are robust and are anchored in active, liquid underlying markets. This contrasts with the scarcity of underlying transactions in the term interbank and wholesale unsecured funding markets from which some IBORs are constructed, a characteristic which could make them susceptible to manipulation. The FSB continues to encourage the development and adoption of such overnight RFRs where appropriate, for example in business where term properties are not needed, or where exposure to bank credit risk is not necessary or desirable. This will enhance financial stability.