US OFR requests comments on proposed cleared repo data collection rule

The Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research is requesting comment on a proposed rule to establish a data collection covering centrally cleared funding transactions in the U.S. repurchase agreement (repo) market.

The proposed data collection would enhance the ability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to identify and monitor potential risks to U.S. financial stability by closing the data gap on centrally cleared repo transactions.

In addition, the proposed collection would support the calculation of certain reference rates, particularly alternatives to the U.S. dollar London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which has been used as a benchmark to set interest rates on trillions of dollars of retail mortgages, private student loans, corporate loans, derivatives, and other financial products. In the wake of LIBOR-related misconduct, LIBOR participation has declined, leaving a need by industry and regulators for an alternative reference rate.

In response, the Federal Reserve convened the industry-led Alternative Reference Rates Committee, which selected the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as the preferred LIBOR alternative. Cleared repo data from the proposed collection would be used to enhance the production of the SOFR.

“The proposed rule is important to inform U.S. financial regulators and market participants and will strengthen financial markets with minimal regulatory burden,” said Acting OFR Director Ken Phelan. “A well-functioning repo market is critical to U.S. financial markets and financial stability.”

The proposed rule would require the submission of information by central counterparties with average daily total open repo commitments of at least $50 billion. Although the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation would be the only market participant required to report if the rule went into effect today, other firms could meet the eligibility criteria for reporting in the future.

In drafting the proposed rule published today in the Federal Register, the OFR worked closely with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and others. The Federal Reserve Board is expected to act as the OFR’s data collection agent, with required data to be submitted directly to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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